Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

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Great Expectations by Charles Dickens is the story of Pip, a young orphan who lives with his sister Mrs. Joe and his brother-in-law, Joe. Pip's life changes completely when he meets Miss. Havishman and the girl who lives with her, named Estella. After visiting them, Pip's greatest ambition is transforming himself in a gentleman to gain Estella's love although she acts coldly and contemptuously towards him. Throughout the story violence surrounds the characters and their lives. Violence takes many forms and is understood differently by different cultures. According to Oxford Dictionary violence is "a violent behaviour intended to hurt or kill somebody". This definition is mainly about physical violence, which is the most spread type of violence in western cultures. In Great Expectations, for instance, one night, after an argument with Mrs. Joe, Orlick, Joe's assistant, attacks her so violently that she becomes invalid. Another example of physical violence takes place in Mrs. Havishman's Satis house when Pip first meets Herbert Pocket and they fight without any reason. Estella also treats Pip violently in physical and verbal ways when she slaps him and uses words like ?You little coarse monster? (page 77, Ch. 11) or ?You little wretch? (page 78, Ch. 11) in addressing to him. Other forms of violence are more difficult to identify but they can be as harmful as physical violence. In Great Expectations, characters mainly use psychological and emotional violence to hurt the others. First, Estella hurts Pip?s emotions and feelings when she rejects him and acts coldly. Estella?s violent behaviour can be explained by the way she was raised by Mrs. Havishman. It is known the idea of Mahatman Gandhi about violence as the fear of other people?s ideals. This definition characterizes the way in which some of the characters in Great Expectations behave. For example, the eccentric Mrs. Havishman was left by her fiancé just before their wedding and that is why she wants to take revenge on men. Estella is Mrs. Havishman?s tool for her revenge. The old woman teaches Estella to feel contempt for men and break their heart. This example shows how violence is used psychologically by Mrs. Havishman who prevents Estella to fully demonstrate her feelings for Pip. Another instance of psychological violence is the way in which Mrs. Joe treats Pip. She blames him for having forced her to change her life since she had to take care of Pip when their parents died and she had to marry Joe.

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"Great Expectations by Charles Dickens." 19 Jun 2018
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This is the reason why Mrs. Joe makes Pip?s life miserable by beating him and also constantly complaining about him being a nuisance, a burden. Pip is the destroyer of her dreams of becoming a wealthy woman, so she seeks revenge to destroy his dreams. Mrs. Joe says to Pip: ?I may truly say I?ve never had this apron of mine off, since born you were. It?s bad enough to be a blacksmith?s wife?, without being your mother? (page 11, Ch. 2). Statements like this hurt any child?s mind and emotions very deeply. There are many forms of violence. We are most aware of physical violent behaviour because it is easier to identify. However, as the examples in Great Expectations show, there are other types of violence which are less evident but can mark one person?s destiny and life.

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