The Concept «GENTLEMAN» in the Novel of Charles Dickens «Great Expectations»
Литература и библиотековедение
The aim of the diploma work is to establish Dickens’ understanding of the notion of GENTLEMAN within, by the discourse analysis, point out especial meaning and interpretation of the concept in the novel “Great Expectation”.
red0;;Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine
Lviv Ivan Franko National University
The English Philology Department
The Concept "GENTLEMAN" in the Novel of
Charles Dickens "Great Expectations"
a master degree student
of the English philology department
T. S. Mykhasiv
of the English philology department
Chapter I. The notion of the concept
1.1 Etymology of the notion concept….………………………………………..….5
1.2 Literary concept as an interpretation of the authors picture of the world…...10
Chapter II. The concept GENTLEMAN
2.1 The Definition of the notion Gentleman in the English literature…………....14
2.2 Victorian Gentleman and the peculiar features……...…………………….…18
Chapter III. Charles Dickensconceptual picture of the world
3.1 Peculiarities of Charles Dickens“GENTLEMAN” in the novel “Great Expectations”………...……………………………………………………………....21
3.2 Textual realization of the concept “GENTLEMAN”…………….……….….29
List of References………………………………………………………….…...……45
Concept is a piece of knowledge, personal experience, which includes both linguistic and nonlinguistic information. The concept has uniform relationship between different semantic structural elements which are updated in mind depending on empathy speaker.
Symbols cover considerable space of conceptual system, but do not overlap it, they are "the repository of certain concepts of conceptual system"
The subject of this research is to reveal the cognitive and communicative dynamics in the unfolding textual concepts viewed through textual implication and explication. Such approach allows creating a hierarchy of textual concepts and defining their functions in novels. It is proved that the identification of textual concepts is realized through textual strong positions, and rests on structuring the textual concepts entailed by composition and thematic structure of literary texts.
The topicality of the research work consists in:
• figuring out ways of defining concept in the semantics of the English language;
• investigating of the function of textual concepts in context;
• discovering Charles Dickens conceptual picture of the world;
• distinguishing the concept GENTLEMAN and its textual interpretation.
The aim of the diploma work is to establish Dickens understanding of the notion of GENTLEMAN within, by the discourse analysis, point out especial meaning and interpretation of the concept in the novel “Great Expectation”.
The object of the research is the literary concept GENTLEMAN presented in the novel “Great Expectations”.
The given research is done in the frameworks of the cognitive and anthropocentric approaches.
The target implies the need to solve the following tasks:
Practical value of research includes ways of transferring the concept from the author to the reader preserving the same idea, considering senders viewpoint.
The structure of the research is the following: introduction, three chapters, conclusion, summary, the list of references.
The Introduction states the topicality of the issue, the purpose and objectives of the research, defines the object and the subject of the diploma paper, enumerates methods applied in the process of research, expounds its practical value and lays out the structure of the work.
Chapter I outlines etymological and diachronic aspects of notion “concept” and explains the important role of literary concept in creation Charles Dickensconceptual world.
Chapter II points out the notion “GENTLEMAN” and its interpretation by writers of Victorian era as well as compares traditional vision of GENTLEMAN with Charles Dickens viewpoint.
Chapter III analyzes examples of textual concept in the context of Charles Dickensvision of the world.
Conclusion generalizes the results of the research and summarizes all the information provided in the diploma paper.
Chapter I. The notion of the concept
Concepts are the constituents of thoughts. Consequently, they are crucial to such psychological processes as categorization, inference, memory, learning, and decision-making. This much is relatively uncontroversial. But the nature of concepts, the kinds of things concepts are, and the constraints that govern a theory of concepts have been the subject of much debate.
This is due, at least in part, to the fact that disputes about concepts often reflect deeply opposing approaches to the study of the mind, to language, and even to philosophy itself. In this entry, we provide an overview of theories of concepts, and outline some of the disputes that have shaped debates surrounding the nature of concepts.
The entry is organized around five significant issues that are focal points for many theories of concepts. Not every theory of concepts takes a stand on each of the five, but viewed collectively these issues show why the theory of concepts has been such a rich and lively topic in recent years. The five issues are: the ontology of concepts, the structure of concepts, empiricism and nativism about concepts, concepts and natural language, and concepts and conceptual analysis.
The term "concept" fixed by English dictionaries as: “concept, an idea, notion." But there are also derivatives. “Conceptive” is «insightful, able to grasp, able to understand” .
It can be found in the work of Thomas Hobbes: "And the faculty, or power, by which we are capable of such knowledge, is that I here call power cognitive or conceptive, the power of knowing or conceiving [24, p.127].
T.Hobbes also underlines the adjective conceptible:
"And spirits we supposed to be those substances which work not upon the sense, and therefore not conceptible"[24, p.131].
The term "concept" is traced back to 1554(Latin conceptum - "something conceived"), but what is today termed "the classical theory of concepts" is the theory of Aristotle on the definition of terms.
The meaning of "concept" is explored in mainstream information science, cognitive science, metaphysics, and philosophy of mind .
In computer and information science contexts, especially, the term 'concept' is often used in unclear or inconsistent ways.
However, the term “concept” practically was not mentioned in the classical artistic and philosophical literature of the second half of the XIXth century.
In Shakespearean works (1564-1616) base concept appears only: “Ensear thy fertile and conceptious womb, Let it no more bring out ingrateful man!” A couple of centuries later, the picture is slightly different. Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951), Upton Sinclair (1878-1968) and Henry Miller (1891-1980) occasionally used the word concept, a bit more it was used by Jack London (1876-1916).
The dominant role of concept is "an idea". Later, Jack London combines this notion with a certain type: "metaphysical, ludicrous, wider and deeper concept, new, intellectual, clear, modern, concept of right conduct, the slightest concept of Hasheesh Land» [26, p.67] .
In philosophical studies of D.Hume or J.Lokk, we can observe a word "conception", but not "concept". We can find the concept only once, within the meaning of the material: "And for the matter, or substance, of the invisible agents, so fancied, they could not by natural cogitation fall upon any other concept but that it was the same with that of the soul of man “[16, p.265].
Few centuries later G.Spenser in one of his major works, uses the term concept ten times in the same sense as "notion": "Thus every positive notion (the concept of a thing by what it is) suggests a negative notion (the concept of a thing by what it is not); and the highest positive notion, the notion of the conceivable, is not without its corresponding negative in the notion of the inconceivable” [2, p.41].
According to the use of the "concept" by W. James it means the notion of material: "The function by which we thus identify a numerically distinct and permanent subject of discourse is called conception; and the thoughts which are its vehicles are called concepts. But the word 'concept' is often used as if it stood for the object of discourse itself "[26, p.67].
Edward Sapir was the first who proposed a classification of concepts. For this scientist concept is a capsule of thought in condensed form containing all the possible scenes of life: "a convenient capsule of thought that embraces thousands of distinct experiences and that is ready to take in thousands more" [34,p.187].
In the XXth century we can find one more example of understanding concepts suggested by O.M. Kaganovska: " Concept is a coded, mental-speech, educational plan, which is predetermined by the tension of multiple meaning in literary text and implies a set of attribute features of the work of art.” [26, p.6]
In the scientific literature of the XXth century, the term "concept" is used especially among cognitive scientists, developers of artificial intelligence, the psychologists, semiotics (such as G.Bingham , L.Doležel, P. Werth, O.M. Kaganovska). Using this term, they want to emphasize a new and non-standard way of solving problem.
Another meaning arose with the arrival in the early 1970s and the idea of semantic networks: concept is called as nodes in the network, corresponding to the elements, the relationship between that model to describe the semantics of linguistic expression, such as: "A semantic network purports to represent concepts expressed by natural-language words and phrases as nodes connected to other such concepts by a particular set of arcs called semantic relations. Primitive concepts in this system of semantic net” [14, p.45].
Many scholars (such as D.S.Likhachev, V.H.Nikonova, O.M.Kaganovska, O.O.Selivanova) argue that the wide network of mezoconcepts, macroconcepts, and cataconcepts (with their conceptual constituents) is subordinated to literary texts megaconcepts. Frame models of textual concepts are presented.
To trace the unfolding of textual concepts in the novels under analysis, the interrelations of textual megaconcepts with auxiliary focus concepts is established.
The tendency towards negativity of textual concepts at all levels of their hierarchy, and the functions of their integration, differentiation, and individualisation in the novels under consideration are determined. works are word-sense meanings .
Internal form - the first element of the structure of verbal expression of the concept. If we compare the concept of verbal expression as microsystem to macrosystem "literature", the inner form appears as a positional and semantic similarity "author", the creator of a work of art. For inner form of the word is a collective and anonymous author - the creator of the language.
Under the internal form, due to Wilhelm von Humboldt, is the ability of sound to evoke "at once contacted him feeling".
The sound "sets the soul on the peculiar way, partly of yourself, partly of the memories of others, similar object ..."[1, p.30].
O.O. Potebnya associated the word with the work of art. According to him, "Author's word is a work of art. He can't transfer his thoughts through the word, but he can evoke readersthoughts using the word. Poetry, as well as prose, is first and foremost a special way of thinking and knowing "[2, p.36].
That sometimes is more productive to reconstruct the traditional sense, or concepts, and on the basis of perceptions of old concepts, not destroying them, try to construct new concepts.
Thus we may conclude that concept - is unique phenomenon for each ethno cultural communities, because they absorb the meanings that are produced only within a certain ethnic group, society, civilization.
In this sense, the concept - the notion of the mental sphere of each community that is filled with only those meanings that are issued in this civilizational dimension.
The picture of the world as it appears in Charles Dickensnovels can be viewed from two major perspectives: poetic and cognitive.
The former proceeds from some general assumptions, while the latter focuses first on linguistic units that give access to respective mental structures typical of Dickens' worldview, thus making the aesthetic value of his works more transparent.
As a result, the Charles Dickens' picture of the world acquires a multilevel structure that encompasses four layers, those of genre properties, textual features, linguistic manifestations and conceptual patterns.
The basic units of such patterns are literary concepts pertaining to Ch. Dickensvision of the world, which are brought together within wider domains, frames and conceptual fields, due to some cognitive mechanisms at work.
Thus, the central category of the world picture in novel is a literary concept.
A literary concept, as compared to a conventional concept, conforms neither to the laws of reality nor to the laws of logic.
In the literary concept, the author, and Charles Dickens in particular, crystallizes his or her individual senses as distinct from accepted, customary views, thus making his personal standpoint salient.
One of the best ways to understand this invisible bound between text itself and semantic meaning given it by the author is to compare different concepts of writers and try to understand all ideas created by the author and his vision of the concept.
In the literary work the real world is represented as a system of poetic image that creates art world model (fictitious world, word world). Theory of textual worlds it means interpretation of literary texts. Studies of cognitive poetics contain detailed textual worlds.
There are a lot of scholars (such as I.A. Bekhta, V.H.Nikonova, Z.D. Popova, O.M.Kaganovska, V.K. Demyankov and others), who investigate this field.
They state that the literary concept can be viewed as a “gestalt” that tends to be replenished or changed with the evolution of human experience and culture. This does not exclude a possible evolution of its conceptual content from one literary work of the same author to another and from one period of his creative activity to another.
In theory, textual worlds are divided into three levels: discourse world, the text world, sub-worlds. The highest level - discursive world - suggests the existence of discourse participants, for example, two speakers in conversation, the recipient and sender of the correspondence, the author and the reader.
“The language situation in the discursive world - immediate situation, which consists of the text, context and participants in discourse.” [3, p.19].
Among the factors that contribute to interpretation of a literary text include: direct perception of the situation and knowledge, hope, memories, intentions and so on., participants in discourse.
To prevent interference with the interpretation of the content due to excessive over-information, text worlds theory emphasizes that we should not consider all possible information, and the only one that generates the necessary context.
Concept is simultaneously, a personal notion, and communal one. This understanding of the concept brings it to the artistic way, contains generalizations and specific sensory aspects.
Semantic oscillation between conceptual and sensual, imaginative concept poles makes flexible, universal structure that can be implemented in different types of discourse.
Appeal to the concept of a literary text involves the study of text concepts, the relevance of the study due to a combination of factors in the text of several layers.
In the polyphonic nature of works text concepts inherent ability to reflect a certain level of knowledge that defines, particularly, their properties vary depending on the prevalence of text implicit or explicit information.
W. von Humboldt suggests a new comprehensive semantic and cognitive approach to textual concepts of English literary prose at semantic, metasemiotic and megametasemiotic levels.
All this allows us to introduce the concept of the text as a dual entity that integrates speech and mental plans. Speech text plan concept is a manifestation of its verbal character, and in this case, the concept appears as a reality that is mirrored in the mind, not directly but through language.
In terms of mental text concept is seen as a way in which embodied certain cultural understanding due to speaking about the world.
Speech-mental duality concepts text indicates that the hierarchical relationship between words, sentences and more cohesive statement and text form parallel integration level, in which the form and content of the interaction, leads to "integration of senses.
Concepts also differ within particular stylistic levels of language.
"The best way to complete semantic description of the concept emphasizes S.H.Vorkachev - would be allotment of three components in it:
Conceptual, feature and determining structure, imagery that captures cognitive metaphors that support the concept of linguistic awareness, and semantic, according to place, location of the concept of lexical and grammatical system in a particular language, which will include the etymological and associative properties of the name"[7, p.29].
As a cultural phenomenon, concepts form the original "bundles" (in English terminology - "frames") that carry semantic, stylistic, emotional, evaluative and other content.
However, on closer inspection the picture loses sharpness and uniformity. In the "Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English" "concept" as "someones idea of how something is, or should be done" [52, p.279].
Despite the abstraction and generalization of this "one "(someone) with him in the" concept "is a potential subjectivity.
A peculiar interest in terms of concepts in science and fiction at the end of the XXth - beginning of XXIst century shows interest in the reconstruction of the entities in a person's life that we face in everyday life, without thinking of their "true" (a priori) sense.
A conceptual system is simply a conceptual model. There are no limitations on this kind of model whatsoever except those of human imagination. It is set of values, ideas, and beliefs that make up every persons view of the world.
Thus we may conclude that literary concept is a mental image born to life by a writer's creative mind, further represented in a work of art to convey the author's individual vision of world.
Every literary concept is unique. It is created by writer and realized in the work representing authors personal vision. Literary concept complements personal picture of the writers world. It is individual and can be find only in particular author or even in separate work.
Chapter II. The concept GENTLEMAN
2.1 The Definition of the notion Gentleman in the English literature
Sentences, speech acts, and thoughts are alike in that they have propositional content. Thus, “La neige est blanche” means that snow is white; in uttering “Over my dead body”, Person was letting you know that the probability of her going out with you wasn't very high; and one of your mental states is a belief that Palermo is south of Rome.
“Because sentences, speech acts, and thoughts all have propositional content, one can't sensibly limit one's semantic interests to the philosophy of language, and my focus will be on issues that cut across both the philosophy of language and the philosophy of mind” .
When we are talking about the concept GENTLEMAN we should understand who the real GENTLEMAN is.
John Henry Newman, in his series of lectures given in Ireland, 1852, “The Idea of a University” provides us with "The Definition of a Gentleman":
“Hence it is that it is almost a definition of a gentleman to say that he is one who never inflicts pain. This description is both refined and, as far as it goes, accurate.
He is mainly occupied in merely removing the obstacles which hinder the free and unembarrassed action of those about him; and he concurs with their movements rather than takes the initiative himself.
His benefits may be considered as parallel to what are called comforts or conveniences in arrangements of a personal nature; like an easy chair or a good fire, which do their part in dispelling cold and fatigue, though nature provides both means of rest and animal heat without them” .
The true gentleman in like manner carefully avoids whatever may cause a jar or a jolt in the minds of those with whom he is cast - all clashing of opinion, or collision of feeling, all restraint, or suspicion, or gloom, or resentment; his great concern being to make everyone at his ease and at home.
“He has his eyes on all his company; he is tender towards the bashful, gentle towards the distant, and merciful towards the absurd; he can recollect to whom he is speaking; he guards against unseasonable allusions, or topics which may irritate; he is seldom prominent in conversation, and never wearisome.
He makes light of favors while he does them, and seems to be receiving when he is conferring. He never speaks of himself except when compelled, never defends himself by a mere retort; he has no ears for slander or gossip, is scrupulous in imputing motives to those who interfere with him, and interprets everything for the best.
He is never mean or little in his disputes, never takes unfair advantage, never mistakes personalities or sharp saying for arguments, or insinuates evil which he dare not say out. From a long-sighted prudence, he observes the maxim of the ancient sage, that we should ever conduct ourselves towards our enemy as if he were one day to be our friend.
He has too much good sense to be affronted at insults, he is too well employed to remember injuries, and too indolent to bear malice.
He is patient, forbearing, and resigned, on philosophical principles; he submits to pain, because it is inevitable, to bereavement, because it is irreparable, and to death, because it is his destiny” .
If he engages in controversy of any kind, his disciplined intellect preserves him from the blundering discourtesy of better, perhaps, but less educated minds; who, like blunt weapons, tear and hack instead of cutting clean, who mistake the point in argument, waste their strength on trifles, misconceive their adversary, and leave the question more involved than they find it.
“He may be right or wrong in his opinion, but he is too clear-headed to be unjust; he is as simple as he is forcible, and as brief as he is decisive. Nowhere shall we find greater candor, consideration, indulgence: he throws himself into the minds of his opponents, he accounts for their mistakes.
He knows the weakness of human reason as well as its strength, its province and its limits.
If he be an unbeliever, he will be too profound and large-minded to ridicule religion or to act against it; he is too wise to be a dogmatist or fanatic in his infidelity.
He respects piety and devotion; he even supports institutions as venerable, beautiful, or useful, to which he does not assent; he honors the ministers of religion, and it contents him to decline its mysteries without assailing or denouncing them.
He is a friend of religious toleration, and that, not only because his philosophy has taught him to look on all forms of faith with an impartial eye, but also from the gentleness and effeminacy of feeling, which is the attendant on civilization” .
2.2 Victorian Gentleman and the peculiar features
When most people think of the Victorian era, they visualize women in constrictive dresses that prevented any sort of freedom or comfort and well dressed and well-mannered men. Gentleman is a word simultaneously conjuring up diverse images, yet one so difficult to define. When we hear the term, we might think of Englishness, of class, of masculinity, of elegant fashions, of manners and morals. Proper Victorian gentlemen were always dressed and groomed well.
The Encyclopaedia Britannica in 1929 concluded that: “the word “gentleman,” used in the wide sense with which birth and circumstances have nothing to do, is necessarily incapable of strict definition. For “to behave like a gentleman” may mean little or much, according to the person by whom the phrase is used; “to spend money like a gentleman” may even be no great praise; but “to conduct a business like a gentleman” implies a standard at least as high as that involved in the phrase noblesse oblige. In this sense of a person of culture, a character and good manner the word “gentleman” has supplied a gap in more than one foreign language” [51, p.123].
According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica: “the word is formed of the French gentil homme; or rather of gentile, “fine, fashionable, or becoming;” and the Saxon man, q.d. honestus, or honesto loco natus - The same signification has the Italian gentil huomo, and the Spanish hidalgo, or hijo dalgo, that is, the son of somebody, or a person of note. - If we go farther back, we shall find gentleman originally derived from the Latin gentiles homo; which was used among the Romans fora race of noble persons” [51, p.123].
But the well-known Confucius had already its own notion of a gentleman in the remote past: A gentleman is honest and loyal, a lover or learning, a protector of the Way till the day he dies. He doesn't enter a dangerous country, or remain in one that is heading into chaos. When the Way prevails below heaven, he gains eminence; when the Way is hidden, he is too. In a country that possesses the Way, poverty and lack of status are disgraceful; in a country that has lost the Way, wealth and rank are marks of shame.
According to John Bridges,” For a nice guy, the noblest virtues are camaraderie, dependability and unswerving loyalty. Simply acting like a gentleman is not enough. It is being a gentleman that is important, and that means thinking of others being there when you are needed, and knowing when you are needed. It truly is possible for a man to learn to be a gentleman if he has the direction he needs” .
A gentleman is someone who does not take an undue advantage of his power or the weaknesses of those around him. He is a man who does not compel others to do anything against their wish. A gentleman never offends others physically or mentally. He never inflicts pain. In a broader sense of the term, a gentleman is the one who cares for the people around him, helps them with their problems and strives to remove every obstacle that impedes their lives. Easing and comforting everyone around remains the major concern of a gentleman. He is a thoughtful and has foresight. His wisdom helps him stay away from blunders.
“Gentleman had to be fearless and brave; he could never show his weakness or haughtiness, according to the Internet source, A gentleman acts kindly from the impulse of his kind heart. He is brave, because, with a conscience void of offence, he has nothing to fear. He is never embarrassed, for he respects himself and is profoundly conscious of right intentions. He keeps his honor unstained, and to retain the good opinion of others he neglects no civility. He respects even the prejudices of men whom he believes are honest. He opposes without bitterness and yields without admitting defeat. He is never arrogant, never weak. He bears himself with dignity, but never A gentleman had to be morally and aesthetically high, he could not be evil, mean, he was not allowed to do harm to anyone, he had to comfort and support people around him” .
A gentleman is someone who does not take an undue advantage of his power or the weaknesses of those around him. He is a man who does not compel others to do anything against their wish. A gentleman never offends others physically or mentally. He never inflicts pain. In a broader sense of the term, a gentleman is the one who cares for the people around him, helps them with their problems and strives to remove every obstacle that impedes their lives. Easing and comforting everyone around remains the major concern of a gentleman.
Other characteristics of a gentleman include his humbleness, his prudence, his calm, his patience and his principles. A gentleman never boasts of himself. He is merciful and tender. He can keep his cool in all types of situations. He never looks at people with prejudiced eyes. He refrains from getting into conflicts or debates. He keeps himself away from badmouthing people and making unreasonable allegations.
“The concept of the nineteenth-century GENTLEMAN is a complex one, though it is one which is, as one recent critic has noted, "the necessary link in any analysis of mid-Victorian ways of thinking and behaving." The Victorians themselves were not certain what a gentleman was, of what his essential characteristics were, or of how long it took to become one” .
The concept of the GENTLEMAN was not merely a social or class designation. There was also a moral component inherent in the concept which made it a difficult and an ambiguous thing for the Victorians themselves to attempt to define, though there were innumerable attempts, many of them predicated upon the revival in the nineteenth century of a chivalric moral code derived from the feudal past.
Sir Walter Scott defined this concept of the gentleman repeatedly in his enormously influential Waverley Novels, and the code of the gentleman and abuses of it appear repeatedly in Victorian fiction.
"The essense of a gentleman," John Ruskin would write, "is what the word says, that he comes from a pure gens, or is perfectly bred. After that, gentleness and sympathy, or kind disposition and fine imagination" [31, p.71].
Ruskin also maintained that "Gentlemen have to learn that it is no part of their duty of privilege to live on other people's toil," but many "gentlemen" did precisely that. Most of our authors have been gentlemen.
How could someone like William Morris be both a gentleman and a Marxist?
In what ways is the notion of the gentleman implicit in much of the literature that we have read, and when, historically, does the term begin to lose its meaning?
“Charles Dickens, like Kipling, was an author of relatively humble origins who desired passionately to be recognized as a gentleman, and insisted, in consequence, upon the essential dignity of his occupation.
“Great Expectations”, which contains a great deal of disguised self-analysis, is at once a portrait or a definition of Ch. Dickens's concept of the Gentleman and a justification of his own claim to that title.
W. Thackeray , on the other hand, insisted (and the two old friends quarreled over this matter) that a writer of novels could not be a gentleman.
The debate over just what constituted a gentleman raged on in many contexts, but nowhere was it contested so fiercely as within Victorian literature itself, appearing in works as different as A. Tennyson's In Memoriam and the novels of Ch. Dickens and W. Thackeray” [33, p.15].
Chapter III. Charles Dickensconceptual picture of the world
3.1 Peculiarities of Ch. DickensGENTLEMAN in the novel “Great Expectations”
Charles Dickens“Great Expectations”, as the author Graham Law writes, is his “masterpiece” that is at the same time “unrepresentative”.
Ch. Dickens originally intended “Great Expectations” to be twice as long, but constraints imposed by the management of All the Year Round limited the novel's length. Collected and dense, with a conciseness unusual for Ch. Dickens, the novel represents his peak and maturity as an author.
According to G. K. Chesterton, Ch. Dickens penned “Great Expectations” in "the afternoon of [his] life and fame." It was the penultimate novel Dickens completed, preceding Our Mutual Friend[17, p.16].
Certainly “Great Expectations” moves away from the uplifting conclusions of novels such as David Copperfield and A Christmas Carol, and the cutting, at times radical societal critique of works such as Oliver Twist is replaced by a more subtle and pessimistic look on Victorian England. Undeniably, as has been remarked upon by many scholars , “Great Expectations” is an exploration of the Victorian concept of the gentleman, a title that Dickens felt himself rejected from, and one that is the subject of much of Charles Dickensprosaic venom in the novel. Indeed, Pips journey from working class boy to a gentleman of great expectations can be said to mirror Ch. Dickensown life journey to prosperity, yet his autobiographical past is not as critical to “Great Expectations” as the authorial present moment; one noted by profound disillusionment with the concept of a Victorian GENTLEMAN and the ability of a “poor man with a rich soul” to self-create an identity as one.
“The theme of homecoming reflects events in Ch. Dickens' life, several years prior to the publication of “Great Expectations”. In 1856, he bought Gad's Hill Place in Higham, Kent, which he had dreamed of living in as a child, and moved there from far-away London two years later. In 1858, in a painful divorce, he separated from Catherine Dickens, his wife of twenty-three years. The divorce alienated him from some of his closest friends, such as Mark Lemon. He quarreled with Bradbury and Evans, who had published his novels for fifteen years. In early September 1860, in a field behind Gad's Hill, Charles Dickens made a great bonfire of almost his entire correspondenceonly those letters on business matters were spared” .
“The period of the novel was a time of change. England was expanding worldwide and becoming a wealthy world power. The economy was changing from a mainly agricultural one to an industrial and trade-based one. With increasing technological changes came clashes with religion, and increasing social problems. Machines were making factories more productive, yet raw sewage spilled into London streets people lived in terrible conditions as slums lined the banks of the Thames. Children as young as five were being forced to work twelve and thirteen hours a day at a poverty wage” [21, p.28].
While the world became more democratic, so, too, did literature. Unlike the romantic literature that preceded it literature that focused on the glories of the upper classes Victorian literature focused on the masses. The people wanted characters, relationships, and social concerns that mattered to them, and they had the economic power to demand it.
Following comments by Edward Bulwer-Lytton that the ending was too sad,Charles Dickens rewrote the ending.
The original ending has Pip, who remains single, briefly see Estella in London; after becoming Bentley Drummle's widow, she has remarried .
It appealed to Ch.Dickens due to its originality: " the winding up will be away from all such things as they conventionally go" . Dickens revised the ending so that Pip now meets Estella in the ruins of Satis House. Dickens also changed the last sentence from "I could see the shadow of no parting from her." to "I saw no shadow of another parting from her" for the 1863 edition of the novel .
In a letter to Forster, Dickens explained his decision: "You will be surprised to hear that I have changed the end of Great Expectations from and after Pip's return to Joe's...Bulwer, who has been, as I think you know, extraordinarily taken with the book, strongly urged it upon me, after reading the proofs, and supported his views with such good reasons that I have resolved to make the change. I have put in as pretty a little piece of writing as I could, and I have no doubt the story will be more acceptable through the alteration".
As Pip uses litotes, "no shadow of another parting," it is ambiguous whether Pip and Estella marry or if Pip remains single. However, Earle Davis points out that "it would be an inadequate moral point to deny Pip any reward after he had shown a growth of character," and that "Eleven years might change Estella too"[12, p.46].
The story is written as a first-person story, and most consider it a retrospective one Pip, as an older man, telling his life's story and commenting on it along the way. However, the narrator's voice sometimes gets confusing, almost as if the younger Pip is talking. John Lucas, in his book, The Melancholy Man: A Study of Ch. Dickens' Novels, says: "There are essentially two points of view in “Great Expectations”. One is that of Pip who lives through the novel, the other belongs to the Pip who narrates it. And the second point of view is the authoritative one, commenting on, correcting, and judging the earlier self (or selves)." Whether one or two Pips, the choice of first person is an effective one. It has a confidential, confessional quality, as if Pip is talking from his heart while sitting and drinking coffee with the reader” [32, p.81].
Although Ch. Dickens' character descriptions are wordy, there are no wasted words. His wordiness is often used to create humor as are his characters' names - Wopsle, Pumblechook, Startop, for example.
An additional feature of “Great Expectations” is its autobiographical nature. H.M.Daleski, in his book on Charles Dickens, notes that “Great Expectations” is "one of Ch. Dickens' most personal novels . . . it bears the marks of his own cravings to an unusual degree" [9, p.29].
“Before writing the novel Ch. Dickens reread his autobiographical story, “David Copperfield”. While one object of this rereading was to avoid duplication in his new novel, Ch. Dickens was also reviewing his life at age forty-eight. In “David Copperfield”, Ch. Dickens focused on his own self-pity for his humble beginnings and his pride in rising above the shoe-polish factory to fame and wealth.
“Great Expectations”, however, has a more mature analysis of life. Pip and Dickens undergo a humbling self-analysis that results in the wisdom that fortune does not equal personal happiness” [13, p.352].
“There are some differences between Dickens and Pip, though. While Pip never earns his fortune, Dickens did. Dickens worked intensely throughout his life while Pip rather has an aversion to working too hard. Also, Dickens loved his work, working passionately in his writing and theatrical pursuits. Pip seems fairly unemotional when describing his work with Herbert's firm to him, it is a means to survive and he lacks passion for anything in the novel except Estella,and even with her, his emotions are repressed, rather the antithesis of Ch. Dickens' and his fire for life”[17, p.16].
“Great Expectations” is a novel in which Dickens utterly rejects the idea that a gentleman is defined by high birth and class, an argument perhaps best personified by the works of William Sewell”.
Yet “Great Expectations” is also a novel that rejects the notion presented by Alexis de Tocqueville and Samuel Smiles that anyone, with enough morale character and elbow grease, could become a gentleman.
Then what is a gentleman in “Great Expectations”, if it is neither men of high birth nor men of “rich heart?” In “Great Expectations” the GENTLEMAN is a useless title that is destructive and unachievable, demonstrated by the fact that the gentleman of high birth is one that plays the part of the main catalyst in Pips dissolution of character from childhood to manhood, and the gentleman of labor and moral character is ultimately unachievable for Pip; denied him by his actions as a gentleman of high birth illustrating the thread Ch. Dickens is tying between the two concepts and ultimately leaving him unwilling to reappropriate the title for characters like Joe.
This is demonstrated by Pips inability to reconcile completely with characters such as Joe, a relationship strained during Pips idealization of the gentleman in Sewellian terms.
The nub of Pips problem is that hes a country boy, brought up in a blacksmiths forge, who wrongly imagines that by becoming an urbane and sophisticated gentleman he will win the love of the beautiful but haughty Estella, who belongs to a higher social sphere. This is spelt out in the very short Chapter 14, when Pip reflects gloomily on being doomed to a life at the forge, and then in Chapter 17, when he makes his lunatic confessionto Biddy as to his particular reasons for wanting to be a gentleman, namely, “The beautiful young lady at Miss Havishams, and shes more beautiful than anybody ever was, and I admire her dreadfully, and I want to be a gentleman on her account” [13, p.137].
The word “GENTLEMAN” continues to sound throughout the novel like a knell: what precisely does Pip mean by it, and how did he envisage this phenomenon?
Today, its a concept without form or focus, suggesting little more than a male who stands up for a lady in a quaintly old-fashioned way. We find the idea of bettering oneself by refining ones manners and culture embarrassing and even snobbish: those we admire, like Jamie Oliver, make a virtue of not concealing their class origins beneath any sort of veneer.
Pip aspires to the wrong sort of gentlemanliness: when he says he wants to be a gentleman, he doesnt mean he wants to be someone distinguished by his integrity, his chivalry, his modesty and selfless consideration of the needs of others.
Pips idea of a gentleman has nothing to do with high morals. His is the idle dream of the poor boy for the sort of easy riches which we now associate with the cult of celebrity. He wants in the lingo of the 1820s and 1830s - to be a dandiacal swell, blade or buck, dressed in gaudy finery, quaffing the best champagne and running up gambling debts in fashionable clubs.
“Nature made me a gentlemanclaims the charming but phoney Dazzle in London Assurance, Boucicaults comedy of 1841: I live on the best that can be procured for credit, I never spend my own money when I can oblige a friend, Im always thick on the winning horse. Im an epidemic on the trade of a tailor. For further particulars, inquire of any sitting magistrate” [25, p.47].
This is very much the philosophy of “The Finches of the Grove”, the group of rich, rowdy and irresponsible young twits with whom Pip and Herbert consort in Chapter 34.
Charles Dickens seems amused as well as appalled by their antics, indulgent perhaps in the light of his own remembered proclivities as a gadabout young man, when he was a struggling lawyers clerk and shorthand reporter on a low salary, sensitive about his lower-middle class origins and his fathers disgraceful descent into bankruptcy and imprisonment.
“At Pips age, Ch. Dickens was himself a Finch of the Grove. He wore cheap readyto wear imitations of the exquisitely cut clothes worn by upper-class dandies such as his friend the Count dOrsay, went to the theatre every night, sent his friends into hysterics with his mimicry and doubtless indulged in heroic quantities of drinking and flirting with pretty girls too. The difference was that Dickens was also fiercely ambitious and a demonically hard worker, who earned every penny he spent and soon learned what his partly autobiographical creation David Copperfield described as the habit of thoroughgoing, ardent and sincere earnestness” [29, p.101].
Pip has to learn this too, once Magwitch is dead and Biddy has rejected him. His illusions lost - and in Chapter 34, he admits that being a Finch wasnt much fun anyway (There was a gay fiction among us that we were constantly enjoying ourselves, and a skeleton truth that we never did) - he has to sober up and start working for his living, rising by his own unremitting efforts rather than the magic wand of an inheritance. After Joe (ironically) has paid off his debts and he has drudged for a decade in the offices of Clarrikers, Pip ends up becoming another sort of gentleman, as defined by Samuel Smiles in his best-selling and deeply influential manual of 1859 Self- Help.
Smiles asserts that “happiness and well-being” depend upon “diligent self-culture, self-discipline and self-control and above all, on that honest and upright performance of individual duty which is the glory of manly character … Riches and rank have no necessary connexion with genuine gentlemanly qualities. The poor man may be a true gentleman in spirit and in daily life, he may be honest, truthful, upright, polite, temperate, courageous, self-respecting and self-supporting that is, be a true gentleman. The poor man with a rich spirit is altogether superior to the rich man with a poor spirit” .
Charles Dickens wasnt altogether convinced by Smiles: he knew that there was a danger that his preachiness could lead to the sort of sanctimonious humbuggery he so despised and satirised in Chumblechook. Yet there is a homespun wisdom in Smiles view that resonates around the true hero of “Great Expectations” : Joe Gargery, the blacksmith kind, loyal, sincere and hardworking, a faithful dog of a man, simple in heart and mind. In Chapter 57, in gratitude for his tender sickbed ministrations, Pip whispers O God bless this gentle Christian man!Gentlemanliness, in his case, is as much about Gods grace as it is about any act of personal will .
As Graham Law points out in his introduction, “it is perhaps the ambiguity itself that is driving force of the novel; an ambiguity concerning what a gentlemen is and ones ability to rehabilitate relationships long strained” .
“By studying Pips loss of justice from his acceptance of a Sewellian vision of a gentleman and Pips ultimate prevention from Smilesian reconciliation and self-elevation by the specter of Sewells gentleman, a greater understanding of the GENTLEMAN in “Great Expectations” emerges” [37, p.92].
The GENTLEMAN, in short, is destructive and unreachable for Pip; demonstrative of Charles Dickens own disillusionment with the license the title supposedly represented.
“Great Expectations” is a sometimes uncomfortable reminder of the permanency of “miserable errors” and the inescapable social barriers that surrounded 19th century England.
“The readers duty is that of Estella; to not be incompatible with the admission of the ambiguity of love and identity in emerging modernity, and give the sad story of Pips quest for uncommonness a place in their hearts, and in doing so, witness the folly of chasing license over authentic virtue” .
3.2 Textual realization of the concept “GENTLEMAN”
Throughout “Great Expectations”, Charles Dickens explores the class system of Victorian England, ranging from the most wretched criminals (Magwitch) to the poor peasants of the marsh country (Joe and Biddy) to the middle class (Pumblechook) to the very rich (Miss Havisham).
“The theme of social class is central to the novels plot and to the ultimate moral theme of the bookPips realization that wealth and class are less important than affection, loyalty, and inner worth. Pip achieves this realization when he is finally able to understand that, despite the esteem in which he holds Estella, ones social status is in no way connected to ones real character. Drummle, for instance, is an upper-class lout, while Magwitch, a persecuted convict, has a deep inner worth.”
Beyond its biographical and literary aspects, Great Expectations appears, according to Robin Gilmour, as "a representative fable of the age" [22, p.137].
Charles Dickens is aware that the novel "speaks" to a generation applying, at most, the principle of "self-help" and believed to have increased the order of daily life. That the hero Pip aspires to improve, not through snobbery, but through the Victorian conviction of education, social refinement, and materialism, was seen as a noble and worthy goal.
However, by tracing the origins of Pip's "great expectations" to crime, deceit, and even banishment to the colonies, Ch. Dickens unfavourably compares the new generation to the previous one of Joe Gargery, which author portrays as less sophisticated but more especially rooted in sound values, presenting an oblique criticism of his time [28 p. 61].
Perhaps the most important thing to remember about the novels treatment of social class is that the class system it portrays is based on the post-Industrial Revolution model of Victorian England. Ch. Dickens generally ignores the nobility and the hereditary aristocracy in favor of characters whose fortunes have been earned through commerce.
Even Miss Havishams family fortune was made through the brewery that is still connected to her manor. In this way, by connecting the theme of social class to the idea of work and self-advancement, Charles Dickens subtly reinforces the novels overarching theme of ambition and self-improvement [36, p.79].
Pip as a gentleman is developing during the novel.
Ambition and self-improvement take three forms in “Great Expectations”moral, social, and educational; these motivate Pips best and his worst behavior throughout the novel.
First, Pip desires moral self-improvement. He is extremely hard on himself when he acts immorally and feels powerful guilt that spurs him to act better in the future. When he leaves for London, for instance, he torments himself about having behaved so wretchedly toward Joe and Biddy.
Second, Pip desires social self-improvement. In love with Estella, he longs to become a member of her social class, and, encouraged by Mrs. Joe and Pumblechook, he entertains fantasies of becoming a gentleman.
The working out of this fantasy forms the basic plot of the novel; it provides Dickens the opportunity to gently satirize the class system of his era and to make a point about its capricious nature.
Significantly, Pips life as a gentleman is no more satisfyingand certainly no more moralthan his previous life as a blacksmiths apprentice.
Third, Pip desires educational improvement. This desire is deeply connected to his social ambition and longing to marry Estella: a full education is a requirement of being a gentleman.
As long as he is an ignorant country boy, he has no hope of social advancement. Pip understands this fact as a child, when he learns to read at Mr. Wopsles aunts school, and as a young man, when he takes lessons from Matthew Pocket.
Ultimately, through the examples of Joe, Biddy, and Magwitch, Pip learns that social and educational improvement are irrelevant to ones real worth and that conscience and affection are to be valued above erudition and social standing.
“The beautiful young lady at Miss Havisham's, and she's more beautiful
than anybody ever was and I admire her dreadfully and I want to be a
gentleman on her account'” [13, p.126].
This is the turning point where Charles Dickens advances the not so clear plot of the story. This is where Pip admits to Biddy he is in love with Estella and wants to become a gentleman. He is, at this point, doing it for the wrong reasons. He is doing it to impress Estella. When Pip is at Miss Havisham's he realizes how much social classes actually matter.
People who were orphans or had other jobs such as blacksmiths were regarded as people who could never become gentlemen. Estella makes it clear to Pip that he is in a lower social class than she is.
Charles Dickens entry into the Victorian debate over what a gentleman was one of dynamic character; it is one where he rejects the concept of the gentleman completely, and endeavors to portray the destructive and ultimately unachievable nature of the title; and in this portrayal is a message that quality and not license is at the heart of being a “gentle Christian man” [15, p.37].
In order to explore Ch. Dickens refutation of the title in general, one must first demonstrate the fraudulency of Sewells definition in the way it diminishes Pips strong sense of justice and then move to elucidating just why the writer is ultimately unwilling to reappropriate the title for Joe .
The understanding of the conservative concepts of what the Victorian GENTLEMAN was that Charles Dickens was interacting with is critical in discerning where “Great Expectations” lies in the debate.
William Sewell is famous for his very conservative view of what the Gentleman was in Victorian society.
In a lecture to privileged school boys, Sewell states, “We have, I think, in England, owing to the freedom of our constitution, and the happy providential blessings which god has heaped upon us, followed the division of mankind which god himself has made, and struck the line between those who are gentlemen, that is, of a higher and superior class, and those who are not, to be ruled and governed” .
In a reply to Sewell who had sent him a volume of these speeches, Ch. Dickensremarked upon how far apart their views were (Broadview) on the subject, illustrating what is perhaps most obviously elucidated in Great Expectations; the rejection of a class and birth caste system deciding whether or not a man is a true gentleman.
To W. Sewell, and undoubtedly to his ambitious and privileged pupils, to be a gentleman was to be in a position of power in society in which one could govern and rule over others, namely, the working classes.
Further, not only was this position over others justified by practical necessity, but by God himself. This conception of a GENTLEMAN, one based in class and family background, is one that is directly counteracted in the prosaic structure of Volume I in “Great Expectations” in the way that Pips sense of justice and his relationship with Joe and Biddy degrade significantly to a point of no return once he is made to feel his class by Estella, and when his quest to become “uncommon” begins; and this is a direct consequence of Pips definition of the GENTLEMAN in Sewellian terms.
Pips relationship with Biddy is at first one of student and teacher, but it quickly becomes more personal and ultimately demonstrative of Pips loss of justice subsequent to his ambitions to becoming a Sewellian gentleman. Indeed, the just Pip admits aptly that “Whatever I knew, Biddy knew” and marvels at her for being an “Extraordinary woman” [13, p.159].
Yet Volume I highlights Pips growing unrest with his situation, and ultimately, Biddy and the life she represented. Biddy is the victim of Pips bridge burning attack before leaving for his great expectations, as Pip levies accusations of jealousy at the true-hearted Biddy.
Pip says, “I am very sorry to see this in you. I did not expect to see this in you. You are envious, Biddy, and grudging. You are dissatisfied on account of my rise in fortune, and you cant help showing it” [13, p.181].
It was not 50 pages prior that Pip was wishing an old, haggered convict hidding in a swamp happy eating; and it seems that Pips own anxieties over his class and family background, catalyzed by Estella,have dissolved his so dearly held virtue of justice in favor of a dishonest “superior tone” which narrator Pip regretfully admits[13, p.181].
Its worth stopping upon that narrator Pip, the flawed character that he is at the time of scribing the novel, still recognizes his actions to Biddy as unjust. It is not coincidental then that Biddy calls upon the specter of a gentleman and of justice, replying simply, “Yet a gentleman should not be unjust neither” [13, p.182].
In this statement, Biddy essentially summarizes what Pip will only learn when it is far too late in Volume III and highlights the dissolution of Pips sense of justice which is catalyzed by his conception of the gentleman as one based in class and family.
Pip has become a gentleman, but as he the narrator and Biddy point out, he had become unjust.
Indeed, Pip laments that he “cannot get (himself) to fall in love with (Biddy),” and only after his revelations of Volume III will he realize how the specter of the Sewellian gentleman made it impossible for him to love those who would “put him right” , a fact further illustrated by Pips growing mistreatment of Joe [13, p.163].
Joe, like Herbert, is a character that is true of heart and indeed harmed by Pips conception of the gentleman as one of opulence and like Biddy is a character treated in a progressively unjust way by “Sir” Pip.
At the start of Volume I, Joe is the flawed gravy-disher that is unable to truly help Pip but is the only one to show Pip warmness; and Pips interactions with Joe comprise some of the only heartwarming sections of Pips young life.
Joe however represents something more than a country simpleton with a good heart, he renders Pip valuable advice subsequent to his crises of identity and Satis House, as the narrator reflects, “This was a case of metaphysics, at least as difficult for Joe to deal with, as for me” [13, p.146].
But Joe took the case altogether out of the region of metaphysics , and by that means vanquished it” [13, p.105].
Indeed, Joe serves as the materialist to Pips metaphysical ambition to become uncommon, offering a few lines later than even the king of England had to begin with the alphabet.
Pips quest of becoming a gentleman is deeply metaphysical, from his conception of Estella as a princess waiting to be ridding off on horseback to the “gay fiction” of the finches.
Pips imaginative, or metaphysical, class affectation is driven home in several scenes in which Pip is ashamed of Joe in the presence of his class superiors, namely the visit to Ms. Havishams and Joes visit to London, only to realize later that the entire fault was his.
Narrator Pip reflects in the remarkable Chapter XIV, “It is not possible to know how far the influence of any amiable honest-hearted duty-doing man flies out into the world; but it is very possible to know how it has touched ones self in going by, and I know right well that any good that intermixed itself with my apprenticeship came of plain contented Joe, and not of restlessly aspiring discontented me” [13, p.141].
In a candid moment afforded to Pip through hindsight, Pip can realize how unjust he had been to Joe when he ” was ashamed of him” when his abstract notion of the gentleman in Sewellian terms, and his need to create a gentlemanly identity suitable for Estellas “mischievous eyes,” [13, p.134] turned him against those closest to him so he could pursue something he admits “I never knew” [13, p.141].
In short, the GENTLEMAN, the idea put into Pips head by Estella, and the one he will fruitlessly chase to a bitter end is the same gentleman that removed justice from Pips relationship with Joe and Biddy.
The more Pip desires to be a gentleman of wealth and taste, the less just he is to his peers and the blinder he is to the injustice he does to others something he had as a boy been so sensitive to.
Thus, the GENTLEMAN plays an integral part in the devolution of Pips sense of justice in Volumes I and II, physically made real by his geographical removal from Biddy and Joe and emotionally manifested in Pips utter emotional desolation at the beginning of Volume III.
Pip is a character of dynamic and fluid nature, however, and indeed much personal progress is made from the beginning of Volume III.
In short, the GENTLEMAN of class and blood has left Pip spiritually ruined, and it is from this total destruction that Pip begins to make personal progress.
Here at the foundation of this progress, after nearly everything has been taken from Pip, he admits, “I thought how miserable I was, but hardly knew why, or how long I had been so, or on what day of the week I made the reflection, or even who I was that made it” [13, p.353].
Here we see a Pip who is utterly devoid of a sense-of-self or any purpose whatsoever. From this point of utter spiritual desolation, Pip does make significant gains as the prose advances.
Interestingly, these revelations are coaxed out of him by an assumed death at the hands of a figure from his childhood.
Pips abduction by Orlick catalyzes a great deal of emergent feelings of justice and empathy within Pip, and the rise in his moral character seems to lead the reader to believe that a happy ending is imminent; all catalyzed by Pips belief that he is soon to die.
As Pip ponders his imminent doom, he laments, “Joe and Biddy would never know how sorry I had been that night; none would ever know what I had suffered, how true
I had meant to be, what an agony I had passed through.. by the thought that I had taken no farewell, and never never now could take farewell, of those who were dear to me, or could explain myself to them, or ask for their compassion on my miserable errors” [13, p.450].
In this near-death moment, Pip almost miraculously is broken from his Volume II stupor and sees the true “great hearts” of Joe and Biddy, and laments deeply that he cannot explain himself to them.
Indeed, Pip now reflects that his intentions were “true” but had left him in great “agony” and ponderous with “miserable errors.”
In this moment near death, Pip is softened and returns to his sense of justice highlighted above, in this case, to do himself justice; to plead his case to those who cared for him truly and ask for their clemency.
Like W. Thackeray, Ch. Dickens contrasts the traditional concept of a gentleman as a man of wealth, status, and leisure with the gentleman as a man of moral integrity.
Herbert Pocket describes Compeyson, the pseudo-gentleman, by quoting his father: "no man who was not a true gentleman at heart ever was, since the world began, a true gentleman in manner. He says, no varnish can hide the grain of the wood, and that the more varnish you put on, the more the grain will express itself" .
By this criterion, is Joe a gentleman? And was Pip more of a gentleman as a child, before he encountered Miss Havisham and became discontented with his life? As child, he felt compassion for the convict; he saw the humanity in the convict; as a gentleman with expectations, he is a snob and continually judges by the external criteria of status and wealth.
In London, where Pip lives out societiesand his ownconcept of a GENTLEMAN, he leads a directionless, futile life; he has no intellectual, cultural, or spiritual values and no meaningful purpose.
Pip's being a GENTLEMAN seems to consist of having good table manners, acquiring an upper class accent, wearing the right clothes, and going into debt. He joins the Finches of the Grove, a group of empty GENTLEMAN whose only activity and purpose seems to be to spend money foolishly.
Drummle, who is a gentleman because of his family and wealth, is not only a member of the Finches but is accepted in fashionable society, despite his stupidity, ignorance, and brutality.
Perhaps the ultimate example of the meaninglessness of Pip's life as a man of expectations is his hiring The Avenging Phantom, shortened to the Avenger. What or who is being avenged?
Charles Dickens uses the portrayal of the gentleman to show one more of society's faulty and destructive values. The destructive potential of wealth in Pip's society is shown by his emotional and moral deterioration in becoming a gentleman.
In a novel with very little repetition, the repetition of never is also noteworthy in the way it focuses on Pips desire to do himself justice in a farewell to Joe and Biddy and deal with them honestly for the first time in many pages.
Is this, then, evidence of Charles Dickens support for the progressive notion of a gentleman as one of true intentions and heart? A more finite understanding of what that notion is, is first necessary.
“The True Gentleman” is paradigmatic of a progressive urge in Victorian society to claim that any man with sufficient intuition, inclination and good moral character was a “true gentleman..” Smiles elaborates, “Riches and rank have no necessary connexion with genuine gentlemanly qualities .
The poor man may be a true gentleman”. Indeed, the “man with the great heart” is identical to Joes own dubbing of his abusive father as a man with a good heart [13, p.83] and Biddys own terming of Pip as “ever a man with a good heart” [13, p.248].
These two examples seem to lend a keen sense of ambiguity to Ch. Dickens acceptance of the idea that any man with a good heart is a true gentleman.
Indeed, the latter half of “Great Expectations” is marked by a significant improvement in Pips character as elucidated above, one where he sees more feelingly the thoughts of others and one where he appreciates what he had not before.
This notion, that Charles Dickens is supporting a depiction of a gentleman as someone of a good heart only is contradicted by the critical scene were Pip emerges from sickness to see Joe at his bedside subsequent to the gains he makes in a peculiar and violent event.
Pips improvements after his abduction by Orlick and then his subsequent almost idyllic period with Joe during his recovery from what can only be considered a broken heart leads the reader to expect an ending similar to that of Oliver Twist or David Copperfield.
Certainly Joe emerges as a man of rich heart, caring for the boy who had so rudely treated him in London.
Yet in what can only be considered intentional by Ch. Dickens in a novel that uses the word “gentleman” ad nauseum, he refuses the title to Joe in the one moment where he can rightly be considered nothing else in Smilesian terms.
Pip implores Joe to dislike him for his “ingratitude” which Joe ignores and remarks that they were “ever the best of friends.” Pip then proclaims, “God bless this gentle Christian man” [13, p.483].
Why would Charles Dickens use this language, if almost to specifically deny Joe the title, after a sequence where Joes good heart has been highlighted so deeply in his self-sacrifice and forgiving heart towards Pip?
This is the first appearance of Charles Dickens disinterest in changing the title of gentleman to his characters that truly resemble one.
Indeed, when Joe is truly a good person to Pip, his class status and his title, are truly unimportant which is reflected in Ch. Dickens deliberate side-stepping of the term.
After Pips moral downfall from chasing the title of gentleman elucidated above, Ch. Dickens is unwilling to call Joe a gentleman, only a “gentle Christian man,” demonstrating that perhaps, being such a man was all that really mattered; regardless of the license of title associated with “THE GENTLEMAN.”
Indeed, when Joe is forced into an environment of gentlemanliness in Mrs. Havishams company, Pip remarks, “that he looked far better in his working-dress… I could hardly have imagined dear old Joe looking so unlike himself” [13, p.132].
“It is no coincidence that Joe, a character who is so very kind to Pip, who is a gentleman in behavior but not in name as per Dickens deliberate use of a similar yet different term, is “unlike himself” in a suit or a mansion” .
Charles Dickens critique is clear, Joe is a gentle Christian blacksmith, and that is all the license he needs to be dubbed good, wholesome and kind.
Pips denial of true reconciliation with Joe is then a further elucidation of Ch. Dickensrejection of the gentleman as a title. “Pips past quest for gentlemanliness denies Pip reconciliation, with Joe, just as the specter of the Sewellian gentleman denies true Smilesian self-determination.”
Ch. Dickensdenial of Pip true reconciliation with Joe is demonstrative of Dickensunwillingness to allow Pips journey to come to a wholesome end due to the aftershocks of Pips quest for uncommonness.
Reflecting upon the good times they had spent together, Pip realizes, “I too had fallen into the old ways, only happy and thankful that he let me.
But, imperceptibly, though I held by them fast, Joes hold on them began to slacken;and whereas I wondered at this, at first, I soon began to understand that the cause of it was in me, and the fault of it was all mine…Had I given Joes innocent heart no cause to feel instinctively that as I got stronger, his hold up me would be weaker?” [13, p.490].
Not only does Ch. Dickens deny the title of gentleman to Joe, he denies true reconciliation between Pip and Joe because of Pips actions as the gentleman.
Pips past denies him self-creation, as the aftershocks of his actions as a gentleman of high class has disallowed him from coming to equal footing with Joe in their relationship.
Thus in Ch. Dickensprosaic construction, the authors GENTLEMAN is unachievable and barred by the specter of the traditional gentleman; just as Pip is disallowed present self-creation by past self-destruction.
This relationship is best summarized by Joe himself, who says to Pip in apology for not being able to save him from the tickler, “my power was not always fully equal to my inclinations” [13, p.489].
This statement summarizes the ending of the novel with precision, as Pips power is not equal to his inclination in reconciling with both Joe and Biddy; and this greater narrative structure, that is, the denial of Pip any sort of happy or reconciled ending, is demonstrative of Dickensrejection of the Smilesian gentleman and the title at large.
“Great Expectations” is a novel that frustrates the efforts of readers who seek an emotional synthesis for its flawed protagonist, as its deeply ambiguous nature leaves the reader wanting a finite conclusion to Pips personal struggle.
This research paper is based on the history of establishing the notion “concept” and its role in the text, ways of transferring the concept from the author to the reader showing the uniqueness of the authors individual picture of the world.
This diploma paper describes the concept “GENTLEMAN” illustrating it in Charles Dickensnovel “Great expectations”.
The aim was to clarify the meaning of the concept “GENTLEMAN” and its peculiarities in the conceptual picture of the world and describe Charles Dickens vision of this concept by means of literary concepts simultaneously defining their functions in text.
Charles Dickenspicture of the world was analyzed and the circumstances that influenced on writers individual viewpoint were investigated.
It was also explained how the concept “GENTLEMAN” was realized in the text and in what way Charles Dickens transferred this notion to the reader.
During the research we figured out the peculiarities of Charles Dickensconcept “GENTLEMAN” and underlined the main differences of this notion in his individual picture of the world.
Most of these interpretations reveal the identity of the material shell of concept.
It was proved that the identification of textual concepts is realized through textual strong positions, and rests on structuring the textual concepts entailed by composition and thematic structure of literary texts.
The theoretical value of this diploma paper lies in the analysis of the key words, their structure and the way they represent the concept “GENTLEMAN”.
The material of the present research paper may be applicable at the general courses on English Literature and Stylistics.
Moreover, it may be highly useful for elaboration of materials on this topic. In addition, it may serve as a basis for further research of the individual authors picture of the world which illustrates the practical value of the diploma paper.
Результати дослідження дають підставу зробити наступні висновки:
Першим завданням роботи було виявити історичні передумови та шляхи розвитку та розуміння терміну “концепт”, його застосування у творах та різні форми інтерпретації. Прослідкувати його розвиток в тексті та систему розуміння яку він створює відповідно до контексту.
Друге завдання полягало в досліджені авторського розуміння концепту “GENTLEMAN”. Зрозуміти систему співвідношення та формування макроконцептів на основі міні та макроконцептів. На основі аналізу виразити цілісну і єдину картину бачення автором даного концепту та його реалізації у тексті на основі роману «Великі Сподівання».
Третім завданням дослідження стало дослідження текстуальної актуалізації даного концепту на основі цілісного та статистичного аналізу структури тексту, методи передачі концепту читачеві, перелік елементів використаних для реалізації концепту “GENTLEMAN” та розгляд цілісної картини бачення світу письменника на основі системи створених ним концептів.
Серед інших завдань які стояли перед дипломною роботою було й виокремлення форми та значення концепту та семантичні поля, які він утворює. Дослідження етимології поняття “GENTLEMAN” та його трактування різними науковцями та словниками. Визначення окремих елементів які формують цілісне враження та розуміння. Побудова розуміння картини світу письменника з використанням його концепту, його застосування та значення.
Дані отримані в ході дослідження можуть бути використані в подальшому вивчені обраної теми.
List of References
G.K.Hall, 1990. P. 24-34.
1925. P. 46-52.
Icon Books, 1998. p. 90-96.
The Internet Resources:
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