Charles Dickens Great Expectations

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Charles Dickens has been labeled both a master of characterization and a writer who creates caricatures meant to embody certain generic assumptions rather a writer capable of creating fully fleshed-out human beings. Regardless of which side of that fence a reader may find themselves standing, few would argue that Dickens' novels have been a primary contributor to the way that most people view Victorian England.


Considering that the period was one of massive turmoil created as a result of the industrial revolution, no doubt that this image is hardly far off the mark. Great Expectations is a novel that sets to create a social critique of the Victorian era and now the patented unfairness of the social order created a system that served merely to reproduce itself.
Charles Dickens' may be guilty of creating caricatures more so than the three-dimensional characters of contemporaries such as Dostoyevsky or Flaubert, but that isn't to suggest that his characterizations don't serve as valuable of purpose. Whereas the great Russian writer was far more interested in the introspection of his characters as they related to his own philosophical struggles, and whereas Flaubert was more concerned with digging into the psychology of his characters, Dickens used characterisation as means to advance certain social ideas. What Dickens is interested in by the story he tells in Great Expectations isn't the psychological drive behind Pip's life, but rather the grand panorama which envelops not only Pip, but indeed all the characters (Johnson).
Characterisation becomes, then, the key to understanding what kind of social critique Dickens was forming. ...
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