Compare And contrast the way in which Charles Dickens and Laurie Lee present chid hood, showing how far you consider the main characters typical children of their era. The two books we have studied are Cider with Rosie and Great Expectations. Laurie Lee wrote cider with Rosie and Charles Dickens wrote Great Expectations. Both these books were written in different periods Cider with Rosie is written in the 20th century (1959), Great Expectations written in the Victorian era 1860-1861. They are both based on the life of a boy and how he lived and grew in these times; both books also look at their upbringing and environments. Childhood is portrayed in many ways in both Great Expectations and Cider with Rosie. The ways in which the authors, Charles Dickens and Laurie Lee portray this are different and similar in many ways.
By reading the Book Great Expectations we can see that Pip (the main character) is a small boy with a typical life for a child who lived in the Victorian era. We know that these times, children would have had a hard life, as families would have been somewhat larger than they are today. This would mean that a lot more domestic work needed to be done around the house. In a lot of the cases it was very likely for the mother to have been killed whilst giving birth or soon after birth due to lack of medication and little money to pay a doctor.
Because Pip is narrating his story many years after the events of the novel take place, there are really two Pips in Great Expectations: Pip the narrator and Pip the character-the voice telling the story and the person acting it out. Dickens takes great care to distinguish the two Pips, the voice of Pip the narrator with perspective and maturity while also imparting how Pip the character feels about what is happening to him as it actually happens. This skilfully performed difference is perhaps best observed early in the book, when Pip the character is a child; here, Pip the narrator gently pokes fun at his younger self, but also enables us to see and feel the story through his eyes giving the reader a better understanding of the storyline.
As a character, Pip’s two most important traits are his immature, romantic idealism and his innately good conscience. On the one hand, Pip has a deep desire to improve himself and attain any possible advancement, whether educational, moral, or social. His longing to marry Estella and join the upper classes stems from the same idealistic desire as his longing to learn to read and his fear of being punished for bad behaviour: once he understands ideas like poverty, ignorance, and immorality, Pip does not want to be poor, ignorant, or immoral.
Although both Pips’ parents have died Joe, and Pips sister, known only as “Mrs. Joe” throughout the novel, bring up Pip. Mrs. Joe is a stern and overbearing figure to both Pip and Joe. She keeps a spotless household and frequently menaces her husband and her brother with her cane, which she calls “Tickler.” She also forces them to drink a foul-tasting concoction called tar-water. This was thought to be a remedy that would cure all sorts. Mrs. Joe is pretty and ambitious; her fondest wish is to be something more than what she is (a social climber), the wife of the village blacksmith. She uses this to look down on them both and blame them for her inadequacies.
We can see how Pip thinks, as at the beginning of the novel, for instance, Pip is looking at his parents’ gravestones, a solemn scene that Dickens renders comical by having Pip ponder the exact inscriptions on the tombstones. When the convict questions him about his parents’ names, Pip recites them exactly as they appear on the tombstones, indicating his youthful innocence while also allowing Dickens to show the dramatic tension of the novel’s opening. Pip’s surroundings in these chapters, quoting the “shrouded” marshes of Kent and the oppressive bustle of Mrs. Joe’s house, are also important to the novel. Throughout Great Expectations, Dickens uses settings to create dramatic atmosphere. The various descriptive settings in the book invariably set the tone for the action and reinforce Pip’s perception of the situation.
When the weather is dark and stormy, trouble is usually brewing, and when Pip goes alone into the mist-shrouded marsh, danger and ambiguity awaits. In the beginning, Pip’s story shifts rapidly between dramatic scenes with the convict on the marshes and comical scenes under Mrs. Joe’s supervisory attitude at home. Despite Mrs. Joe’s rough treatment of Pip, which she calls bringing him up “by hand,” the comedy that pervades her household in Chapter 2 shows that it is a safe haven for Pip, steeped in Joe’s quiet goodness despite Mrs. Joe’s posturing. When Pip ventures out alone onto the marshes, he leaves the sanctuary of home for vague, murky churchyards and the danger of a different world. This sense of embarking alone into the unknown will become a recurrent motif throughout the novel, as Pip grows up and leaves his childhood home behind.
Laurie Lee was born in Stroud, Gloucestershire, where life had followed its traditional course for centuries. The families were large, they lived in overcrowded cottages, there were no modern conveniences and it was accepted as a normal pattern of life and death that many children died young. Lee’s father lived in London and worked there as a civil servant his first wife had died and he had married Lee’s mother who took care of his two families and believed that one day he would return to her. Laurie Lee basis his book Cider with Rosie on the experiences he had as a child.
The first two chapters of the book Cider with Rosie show us that Laurie Lee had a fun filled life growing up in the countryside but like many other children with only one parent. This would have made it hard on the mother, as families did tend to be large in those days. This was partly due to the fact that it was just the end of the war and many fathers were lost of killed during battle. We see in the first chapters that every day tasks took longer and eating a meal would have been less rushed than now. In the first chapter the Lees’ are moving house to the countryside. The house they move into is large and is quite an adventure for the four children. Around their new house are berry bushes, fields and lots of large area to play in. the children as soon as they get their want to explore. Laurie Lee being three is a bit cautious of his new surroundings new smells, new sights and new experiences that he will or is facing.
Laurie Lee being so young is nieve about the world around him and doesn’t quite no how to deal with everyday situations, ‘I had never seen a man like this, in such a wild good humour’. Laurie lee is also nieve to the fact that he cannot sleep in his mother’s bed for the whole of his life. The bed symbolises his security and close bond between him and his mother. Laurie Lee although had a large imagination, we see this when he compares the ‘upturned chair-legs’ to a ‘forest’. Pip being so small everything felt enormous to him, ‘the buzzing jungle of the summer bank’ he is reefing to the reeds but as he looks up whilst being sat in the grass they would seem like large trees or vines.