“ The narrative voice is an of import component in the usage of realist and non-realist techniques and conventions. ” Discuss this statement with mention to one of the undermentioned novels: Frankenstein, Fathers and Sons, Great Expectations.
One of Dickens ‘ finest novels, Great Expectations, was written in the age of Realism – the genre, which the writer used extensively in his plant. The 19th century realist novel tried to convey the semblance of world and describe modern-day life and attitudes in a manner instantly accessible to the reader. The consequence is normally achieved by showing a wide set of conventions and stereotyped character development techniques. Typical realistic conventions include recognizable scenes located within a specific clip and topographic point, a clearly delineated societal and economic universe with attendant limitations, and elaborate descriptions in simple, mostly referential linguistic communication ( Watt, The Realist Novel, p.222 ) .
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However, Great Expectations can non be categorised as realist so simplistically. From the first pages it becomes evident that apart from realistic techniques the writer tries to integrate a batch of sub literary elements in the narrative, the most important of which are Gothic, romantic and fairy-tale.
It is besides deserving observing the pick of narrative adopted in Great Expectations, in other words, from whose point of position the narrative is told. Charles Dickens uses the first individual narrative, the method which was going instead popular amongst novelists at that clip.
Let us seek and set up the adoptive “ point of position ” and position of the novel, and find what realist and non-realist elements and conventions the writer exploits in the book. Finally, we will believe about what the connexion is between the narrative voice of the novel and the writer ‘s pick of these techniques.
Great Expectations is set in Victorian England at the clip of some of import and dramatic alterations in the society. The Industrial Revolution made it possible for work forces from low backgrounds to accomplish great wealth and societal position. However, the rigorous division between the hapless and the upper category still remained.
In the novel Dickens applies the first individual yesteryear and present spoken method of narrative. The basic construction of the novel is the chronological development of Pip ‘s life, get downing from his early childhood, to the chase of his “ great outlooks ” , his tattered semblances and accordingly rejection of the high life. The narrative is told by the center aged Pip, who is non merely the voice stating the narrative, but besides the supporter – the character around whom the chief secret plan revolves. Because Pip is narrating the narrative many old ages after the events in the novel took topographic point, the readers are more likely to place with him, than if the narrative was told by a kid who is non yet able to go through on a mature and critical opinion on life due to miss of experience.
What makes the pick of narrative in Great outlooks so alone is the usage of the double position – a full-blown Pip looking back particularly to his childhood old ages and seeking to reevaluate the people and fortunes that played an of import function in his lifet. The double position is clearly established in the gap paragraph of Chapter 1:
“ My male parent ‘s household name being Pirrip, and my Christian name Philip,
my infant lingua could do of both names nil longer or more
explicit than Pip. So I called myself Pip, and came to be called Pip. ” ( Dickens, 1859, p285 )
Or in Chapter 8, for illustration, during Pip ‘s first visit to Satis House, Estella humiliates Pip and he recollects: “ As I cried I kicked the wall, and took a difficult turn at my hair ; so acrimonious were my feelings ” ( Dickens, 1859, p321 ) . At the clip, Pip the kid, can non incorporate his torment in a bosom riping mode which profoundly affects the readers. In the following paragraph, nevertheless, Pip the grownup presents us with more mature contemplations on the unfairness: “ My sister ‘s conveying up had made me sensitive… I was morally timid and really sensitive. ” Reflected by the full-blown Pip in the position of the omniscient storyteller, “ Great Expectations ‘ first individual narrative employs the wisdom of hindsight to specify the events and characters of the narrative. ” ( www.writework.com ) The convention of retrospect in the illustration above produces a deep psychological consequence and compassion, given entree to Pip ‘s motives and feelings.
Now that we have established the position of the narrative and noted Pip ‘s candid and converting first individual narrative, allow us travel on to some of import realist techniques that Dickens utilizations in Great Expectations.
The typical property of the 19th century realist novel is seting a platitude character, normally of working or in-between category, in the Centre of the narrative – the technique besides known as “ jubilation of the ordinary ” . In Dickens ‘ fresh Pip is a typical lower category male child, being raised in the household of a blacksmith. Another character Biddy “ was non beautiful – she was common, and could non be like Estella. ” The actions of the book take topographic point in a figure of archaeologically realistic scenes. His parents lived “ long before the yearss of exposure ” ( Dickens, 1859, p285 ) which gives us a unsmooth thought of the clip at which the events will be taking topographic point. London is described as “ a most blue topographic point ; the fanlight eccentrically patched like a broken caput, and the deformed adjoining houses looking as if they had twisted themselves to peep down at me through it. “ ( Dickens, 1859, p382 ) The usage of realistic clip and scenes help to make a strong thought of world, or instead, the semblance of world, something the wider audience can associate to in order to link with the book.
However, in Great Expectations Dickens does non ever remain faithful to the conventions of a realistic novel. Deviating from pragmatism, he tends to integrate alternate popular genres within the narrative. Gothic, for case, plays an of import function in making the temper and puting throughout the narrative. The brumous fens near Pip ‘s childhood place in Kent, the God’s acre “ overgrown with nettles ” and “ the dark level wilderness beyond it ” ( Dickens, 1859, p285 ) set the novel ‘s black temper from the really get downing. The scene makes the readers sympathise with this small male child rolling about though the headstones of his household. The “ charming ” universe of Miss Havisham, “ the bride within the espousal frock ” that “ had withered like the frock, and like the flowers, and had no brightness left but the brightness of her deep-set eyes ” ( Dickens, 1859, p318 ) is paralleled with the monstrous word picture of the Satis House, which was “ of old brick and dismal, and had a great many Fe bars to it. ” ( Dickens, 1859, p316 ) The Gothic component in this instance causes the audience to perchance expect some unusual turns, connected with this morbid topographic point or the people busying it, further in the narrative.
Through the eyes of immature Pip, nevertheless, the Satis House and its inhabitants symbolise a romantic semblance of the upper category life. It is because of his predomination of cold-hearted Estella, who was raised by Miss Havisham to torment work forces and “ interrupt their Black Marias, ” Pip embarks on his journey of “ great outlooks. ”
The novel besides includes some fairy-tale elements, which Dickens largely employs to convey the uncommon duologue or rush up parts of the narrative that seem to drag. In Chapter 1, when immature Pip meets the “ fearful ” inmate, “ with a great Fe on his leg ” – the inmate is depicted as a fairy narrative monster, the merchandise of a immature imaginativeness. The chief plot line of the novel, which is Pip ‘s unbelievable makeover into a gentleman, besides employs the fairy-tale technique. “ I am instructed to pass on with him… that he will come into a fine-looking belongings, that he be instantly removed from his present domain of life and from his topographic point, and be brought up as a gentleman. ” ( Dickens, 1859, p367 ) In order to acquire this unrealistic plot line across, Dickens uses the fairy-tale construction to state Pip ‘s narrative. With the absence of these fairy-tale elements, the readers could happen it difficult to believe in Pip ‘s exceeding character development and astonishing series of happenstances.
We have already established the basic schemes of a realist novel which Dickens utilizations in the book – the chronological additive construction, the omniscient storyteller, accurate descriptions of the scenes, ordinary characters and the secret plan, which deals with moral and societal issues of that clip. The pick of the narrative method in Great Expectations is of import in presenting these realistic techniques, adding credibleness and truthfulness to the secret plan. Integrating alternate genres in an otherwise realist narrative makes the readers step back from this world ; moreover it is a instead sophisticated manner of adding a whole batch of subtext to the narrative for the readers to bask. Be that big than life characters of Miss Havisham and Mr Pumblechoock or the monstrous scenes of the fens and the Satis House. These elements add a touch of sarcasm, temper and illusion to the supporter ‘s honest first individual narrative and contribute to the amusement value of Great Expectations.