Dickens has a great skill of making the surroundings come to life. He does this successfully in a number of ways. One of them is when Magwitch is leaving the graveyard and Dickens creates a fearful environment by bringing the dead people to life and the impression that they are pulling Magwitch into the grave. Chapter 8 is when we are first introduced to Miss Havisham and Satis House when she invites him over to visit her. The main reason that Pip is invited over is so that he will fall in love with Estella.
She knows that this is going to happen so when she invites him over she is prepared to manipulate him to show that she has authority over him. Dickens’ portrayal of Satis House is as dark, dirty and unusual, which is then continued into the description of Miss Havisham. When the life of Miss Havisham is explained to us we can see that her experiences have been very sad. She cannot come to terms with the fact that she was abandoned on her wedding day, so she does the only thing that she thinks will be able to help her, to stop time.
We are first introduced to the images of light and dark when Pip enters the house through the side door and went up the dark passage. “… the first thing I noticed was, that the passages were all dark, and that she had left a candle burning there. She took it up, and we went through more passages and up a staircase, and still it was all dark, and only the candle lighted us. ” This shows that Pip was not used to what he was experiencing as he first went inside the house. It was unlike anything that he had ever seen before. The only light that was allowing him to see was from candles, there were no windows to see the daylight that was outside.
When Estella refuses to enter the room with Pip, he is left on his own to go inside. Pip, hesitantly, knocks on the door and slowly enters. When Pip enters the room we begin to clearly see the images of light and dark more. Pip entered a large room, lit only by the candles that were spread out so that you could see what you were doing. Pip had never had the experience to meet someone who lived like this, spending all of their time in daylight and possibly never going out into the daylight for years, everything looked so pale and deathly.
The house and everything in it was decaying, including Miss Havisham, because nothing had changed for over 40 years and Miss Havisham never leaves the room that she is in. The house seems to have stopped in time the day that her relationship ended and she was left at the altar. The clocks all say the same time, the food on the table and the clothes that she had on. “… It was then that I began to understand that everything in the room had stopped, like the watch and the clock a long time ago… ” Pip had begun to understand that Miss Havisham had tried to stop time as much as she could.
I believe that the reason she has no light in the house is that she doesn’t want to see time going by. If she can tell when days and nights are she will not be stopping the time and will continue living her life on her wedding day. Miss Havisham believes that she must keep everything as it was on the day of her wedding so that she doesn’t lose sight of her former life and the way that she lived. Pip was shocked when he first met Miss Havisham, mainly because of what she was wearing and the way that she looked. Before Pip had entered the room we were told that
“This was very uncomfortable, and I was half afraid” Pip was entering a room of a strange house, on his own, with no reason to explain why he was wanted and with no idea of what to expect when he entered. Pip was uneasy and nervous of what he would find before he had entered the room, so the sight that he was faced with must have been tremendously daunting for him. He entered an unfamiliar room to find an old woman sat alone in a dark room, lit by candles, wearing a wedding dress that was turning yellow because of its age.
“In an arm chair, with an elbow resting on the table and her head leaning on that hand, sat the strangest lady that I have ever seen or ever shall see” Pip hadn’t been prepared for what he found and we can tell that Pip isn’t entirely sure what is happening. It may have been easier for an adult to understand but for a boy of Pips age, very frightening. He imagines that he is never going to find anyone who is as strange as the lady who is sat in front of him. He is unsure of how to approach her and how to react to her.
Miss Havisham’s life has been defined by the one tragic event of her being left on her wedding day. From that moment onwards she is determined that she will never move beyond her heartbreak. She stops all the clocks in Satis House at twenty minutes to nine, the moment when she first learned that husband to be was gone, and she only wears one shoe, because when she learned that he had left her she had not finished getting dressed. In Satis House, Dickens creates a Gothic setting. Miss Havisham’s wedding dress on her decaying body becomes a symbol of death and deterioration.
The wedding dress and the wedding meal, which is left on the table symbolize Miss Havisham’s past, and the stopped clocks throughout the house symbolize her determined attempt to freeze time by refusing to change anything from the way it was when she was abandoned. Pips adult life, shown to us throughout Chapter 54, is set in London. It is during Pip’s time in London when he meets up with Magwitch again and finds out that it is through Magwitch’s money that he first got his life in London.
Pip’s sudden rise from country labourer to city gentleman forces him to move from one social extreme to another while dealing with strict rules and expectations. Social class is an attractive standard for everyone who cannot make their own decisions. High social class is associated with qualities such as luxury and education and is immediately an attractive standard of living for Pip. After he is made a gentleman, Pip begins to see social class for what it is, an unfair standard, which does not agree with his morals.
He doesn’t see why some people should be seen as more important that another just because they have money. The most important lesson Pip learns throughout Great Expectations is that no external standard of value can replace the judgments of that of your own conscience. Within Great Expectations we told that “It was like my own marsh country, flat and monotonous, and with a dim horizon; while the winding river turned and turned, and the great floating buoys upon it turned and turned, everything else seemed stranded and still”
This quote is explaining the change that Industrial revolution brought to the people. There were many things that changed; the lives of different people who were of different social positions and the increase of the number of inventions. People were becoming more ambitions and their expectations greater. The Industrial revolution in Britain introduced a whole new social class system and people began to realise that it was time for a change. Before the Industrial revolution people had believed that whatever social status they were born into was the status that they had continue their lives living in.
Throughout the Industrial Revolution people realised that it was the time for them to make a difference to their lives, the amount of money that they could earn was increased and they realised that money could buy them a higher standard of living. Money, which was now more available for the people who were wiling to work hard, was a way of gaining a higher social position. The expectations of the people were at their height. The economic growth had expanded for the working class and the economy had begun to grow much faster than it had before.
All of the people were now hoping and working towards a higher standard of life for themselves and for their family. Great Expectations is set in early Victorian England, a time when great social changes were sweeping the nation. The Industrial Revolution had transformed the social landscape, allowing capitalists and manufacturers to accumulate huge fortunes. Although social class was no longer entirely dependent on the class that you were born into, the divisions between rich and poor remained as wide as ever. More and more people moved from the country to the city in search of greater financial opportunities.