Life and works
- Born in 1812 near Pourtsmouth
- At the age of 12 he worked in a blacking
factory, he was very influenced by that
- He went back to school, he became a
parliamentary report and then a journalist
- His most famous work are: Pickwick
Papers, Oliver Twist, David Copperfiel 717i88h d, Hard Times and Great
- Thomas Gradgrind is a teacher, he believes in facts and
- He lives in Coketown (a fantastic
town in the north of England_coke is a type of coal)
- Their children have been educated in a
rational way, he has stopped all their imaginative impulses, as he does at
- In his class there is Sissy Jupe,
his father is a circus worker (the circus is in contrast with Thomas
- Louisa, his daughter, marries Bounderby, a factory owner, for whom
her brother works, but she is unhappy and when Harthouse, a politician,
tries to seduce her, she goes to Thomas to ask him protection
- Gradgrind has a crise of values
- Tom robs his employer and he's forced to
leave the country.
- Critique of indusrtial society and its effects
- Its sense of humor is a very modern
- Pathos and sentimentality are representative of the feeling which
was common in the Victorian age
- Many descriptions become a symbol
of the type of life they represent
Probably the character
of Gradgrind is based on Utilitarian leadr Mill, transformed through comic
exaggeration. Dickens thought that Utilitarism left no space for human
qualities and so he didn't agree with its conception of human nature.
- The protagonist and the narrator is Pip,
who lives with his sister and her husband Gargery.
- He meets a strange lady, Miss Havisham
who was abandoned by her man in their bridal night
- She has educated her ward Estella
to consider beauty a way for torturing men. This is such as Miss
Havisham's revenge. Pip is in love with Estella.
receives money from an anonymous benefactor, and he thinks about Miss
Havisham, but later he finds out that his benefactor is Magwitch.
- Magwitch is a criminal that Pip had heleped when he was just a kid. Pip is
now in London, where he losts all his money
- He comes back home and he's finally
reunited with Estella who has left her husband.
As in other Dickens'
works, also in Great Expectations there are many symbolic characters:
can be seen as humanity uncontaminated by wealth
Havisham is a victim and an agent of heartlessness of a society based on money
is a typical criminal of the victorian age, nothing is told about his life, but
he wins the pip's and the reader's sympathy.
is a typical Bildungsroman, in which the protagonist (often orphan) has to
reinvent himself, and he speaks about his indipendent growth to self- succiency
and self- knowledge
"expectations" has both financial and economical connotations.
The passage we've read
is about the Victorian idea about respectability of wealth: Magwitch going in
Australia becomes a rich benefactor and this symbolises the origins of Britain.