Author Archives: Emma Sens

Group 4: Refelction

Group 4: Places That Show The Development Of Pip

By: Kathryn Capone, Emma Sens, Clare Corbett, Cameron Luquer, Kristopher Bangsil, and Isa Higgins

Our goal with this project was to delve deeper into the places that Pip visits in Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, and learn about how they affect who he is and who he becomes. All of these locations influence Pip in some way; they all impact his behavior, thoughts, and/or growth throughout the novel. Some of the same places even have a different meaning to him as the novel progresses. Our map that we made can be helpful to anyone who has read Great Expectations and wants to understand more about how certain places connect with Pip. They can click through the locations on our map to use as a study tool, or simply use the map to learn more about Pip’s connections to different locations and how they influence him. Overall, we wanted to use this map to explore Pip’s journey in a more tangible way to examine how he develops.

The process to complete this project required each of us taking 10 chapters from Great Expectations, and making a list of the different places that Pip visits. Then, we had to narrow down our list to only the most significant places; our lists in the beginning were long, so we had to decide which ones we wanted to write about. We chose the ones that we thought seemed to impact Pip the most. Next, we created our map and we each marked the places that we chose. Notably, some research was involved in finding these places because the novel itself wasn’t fully clear as to where some of these places are in real life. For instance, the Halfway House and Marshes involved some research to approximate where they were. After that, we all had to make our connections between what happens to Pip at our chosen locations and describe how they influence his characterization. Then, we put these connections in the descriptions of each of the places marked on the map. Additionally, we found pictures online of most places to give a visual of what they look like, and we made sure that they are all labeled for reuse to avoid copyright. Using Google Maps offered an interesting and innovative way of documenting Pip’s character growth in a more tangible medium. When looking at the map and reading the descriptions, you can see how each space mold Pip and how with every lesson learned, his expectations change. One thing that is not shown by the map is how some marked places are important to multiple chapters since they are commonly visited places by Pip. However, this obstacle was tackled in giving descriptions of the overarching meaning of a place in tandem with specific recountings of events that occurred at that location. 

One example of a connection we made between a place and Pip’s characterization is in chapter 54. This is when Pip is on the Thames River with Magwitch and he has a huge revelation about him. After they’re caught by the customs officers Pip states, “For now, my repugnance to him had all melted away; and in the hunted, wounded, shackled creature who held my hands in his, I only saw a man who was meant to be my benefactor” (75). Thus, he realizes that Magwitch was meant to be his benefactor and he no longer feels any judgement towards him. Interestingly, his revelation happens on a river, which could be symbolic because the water could represent a “baptism” for Pip; this is because he is able to wash away his previous mistakes in judging someone based on the label of a “convict,” and gets rid of believing in the assumptions that society makes about him. Essentially, Pip now sees Magwitch as a kind and sympathetic man; he uses the language of “hunted,” “wounded,” and “shackled” when describing Magwitch. All in all, Magwitch is no longer the scary and intimidating creature he previously thought that he was. Here, our connection that we made is that the water of the Thames allowed for Pip to fully cleanse himself and represents how he is a fully changed person from before because he no longer cares about labels or his status. 

These connections, and the project itself gave us a deeper understanding of who Dickens was and what his beliefs were, taught us how to create our own Google Maps, and we were able to develop deep connections with the novel about Pip as a character. In creating this map, we were able to see how various characters relate to different places and how illuminating it can be to see a character outside of the place they were initially introduced in. For example, when Joe goes to visit Pip in London, a time when he’s becoming a “proper gentleman”, he makes a conscious effort to refer to Pip as “sir” because of his newly elevated status. Joe rarely slips in his polite dialogue, and when confronted about it he explains how he must treat Pip properly now that their roles have changed. In seeing Joe out of his house and out of the forge, we are able to see other aspects of his character that we may not have previously seen, which is also true to Pip and how different locations and people bring out different parts of his identity.

This is the link to our map with all of the places we selected to demonstrate Pip’s character development along with explanations.

powerful women

At the beginning of the year, I wondered about the roles women had women in Victorian literature, over the course I have learned a lot about this topic, and I think the most interesting thing I learned was how to view things through multiple perspectives and how to form unique connections. Throughout the material there have been many interesting pieces that introduced me to strong female writers and characters, many I could relate to. Pieces such as Reuben Sachs and Wuthering Heights defy the normal gender roles during the time period. Victorian literature connects the past with the future in the name of exposing the way in which all, even that which seemingly contrasts, is connected. What surprised me was how much women writers used their writing to speak out against the oppression they were facing and worked towards social change. I loved studying women’s stories and the way each writer found a way to insert a strong compelling female character into their work. I was surprised when I learned about the female authors and how they projected themselves. I learned a lot and was pleasantly surprised with the powerful female authors and characters in Victorian literature.

Death by love

A connection I made was between “The Ballad of Reading Gaol”, by Oscar Wilde and Wuthering Heights. The lines “Some kill their love when they are young,

And some when they are old;

Some strangle with the hands of Lust,

Some with the hands of Gold:

The kindest use a knife, because

The dead so soon grow cold.

Some love too little, some too long,

Some sell, and others buy;

Some do the deed with many tears,

And some without a sigh:

For each man kills the thing he loves,

Yet each man does not die.”

remind me of the love battle between Catherine, Heathcliff and Linton. In the end, everybody kills the things they love in different ways. The poem could be used as a representation of how Catherine killed her love for all of the men in her life and in turn ended up killing herself and Heathcliff too. There is a repetition of love killing the people involved.


One connection I made is how Pip and the child factory workers in “The Cry of the Children” can be viewed as similar. Throughout the poem, images of a factory Hell are contrasted with the Heaven of the English countryside, the inferno of industrialism with the bliss of a land-based society. This is much like how Pip feels after he is introduced to Miss. Havisham and Estella’s lifestyle. Forced to learn the trade of a blacksmith he is miserable similar to how the children in the factories feel. They are both abused and work under poor conditions as well. Both of these works are told from the point of view of a child which also seems to be a reoccurring theme in Victorian literature. In “Great Expectations”, because the story is being told from Pip’s perspective, we have a more sympathetic view from young Pip and really feel and connect to his emotions much like the factory children in the poem. Although the works share some similarities, such as the abused child and emotional perspectives,  Pip is able to escape his fate unlike the children of the factory.


A common theme I see in both Wuthering Heights and Great Expectations is identity. In Wuthering Heights Heathcliff is an orphan with no identity and seeks it out in Catherine, and in Great Expectations Pip is being raised by his sister and seeks out his identity after being introduced to Estella. Pip is confused about his own life he does not understand his expectations or who he is. He is uncertain where he came from and where he is going much like Heathcliff and his self-discovery journey. Estella made Pip want to become a different man. He realized that his social status made him fall far below Estella, which is something he went out to change, much like Heathcliff did for Catherine. Both boys are abused by the people who raise them and feel betrayed by the world, they seek out the greater things in life like money, love, and identity but both are met with people who require them to change completely. They have very elite women in their lives that shape their identities.


In the beginning chapters of Great Expectations, Dickens explores the class system of Victorian England. He discusses the criminals, peasants, the middle class, rich, and more. When Estella lays Pip’s food on the floor as if he were a dog, she is showing that she views herself as high above him on the status pedestal and that he deserves to be treated as less than her.  Pip interprets Estella’s cruel insults as facts accepting that those of the higher class know better and are worth more and begins to reevaluate himself.  This reminds me of Heathcliff, because he was ready to change his whole life to win over high class Catherine because he viewed himself as less than he was due to his status in society. Both characters come from a lower class and grapple with society’s views beginning at young ages. Once they see the higher-class lifestyle, they are left feeling confused, but also in a way enlightened about how the world works.

Survival of the fit

In The Origins of Species by Natural Selection, Darwin argues that the growing population is kept in check by features such as geography and natural resources. Together, the two will never allow for an infinite number of people, animals, or other species to survive. In turn, there is a struggle of the fittest competition that requires species to fight and adapt to survive. This reminds me of Wuthering Heights, because Heathcliff starts out as a weak orphan in the cycle of survival of the fittest. Orphaned and alone, he is then adopted by the Earnshaw’s. He goes from orphan to rich and defies the odds with his revengeful power struggle to reach the top. In order to survive in the power hungry and materialistic world, Heathcliff was required to adapt and fight. Darwin also suggests that “all organisms start from a common origin”, but is this true in the case of racism? In Wuthering Heights we see that class and race create a major divide giving some power to some and creating a “kingdom” which Hindley was not warmly welcomed into.

Heathcliff and the chimney sweeper

One connection I made was between Wuthering Heights and The Chimney Sweeper was the parallel between Heathcliff and the chimney boy. Heathcliff and the young boy have many similarities. The boy in The Chimney Sweeper is described as a “black thing among the snow” who is crying and being asked where his parents are. We also see Heathcliff facing a similar situation, Heathcliff is an orphaned child defined by his skin color and seen as devilish. Both are rejected by their families and society. The line from The Chimney Sweeper “They clothed me in the clothes of death” describes how both characters are destined to a miserable life ultimately resulting in death. Neither character ever knows love and they are both forced to face life’s hardships alone starting at a young age. The line “Who make up a heaven of our misery” is similar to how Heathcliff tries to make his miserableness disappear by trying to force Catherine to love him to take away from his pain, even being buried next to her after his death. Both characters are seeking happiness and acceptance, unable to find either.  

outspoken women

A connection I made was the powerful stance that both Emily Bronte and Harriet Martineau take on. Both women are writing during times when society was male dominated, yet don’t hesitate to voice their opinions and take issues head on. Both of their writings depict strong, passionate women. Catherine a motherless child trying to make the best in a world filled with hate, defying the norms by being free spirited and socially ambitious. Catherine seeks to love whoever she pleases much like Martineau wanted to empower women to do. Martineau writes “I declare that whatever obedience I yield to the laws of the society in which I live is a matter between, not the community and myself, but my judgment and my will.” I think that both women want to represent themselves as individuals and rise above people trying to hold them down, the only difference is that Bronte’s views are depicted through a character, and Martineau’s first hand feelings.


With all the pieces we have read so far, I consistently see a theme of mistreatment of the lower class. In Wuthering Heights, it is demonstrated by the poor child who is referred to as “it” and banished to the stairs by the family he is staying with, and eventually they deem him unworthy of their house and he is forced back out to the streets. My heart breaks for the poor child lost and alone in the world and seen as nothing because he comes from poverty. This is also seen in The Chimney Sweeper, yet again another child is neglected and forced to fend for themselves. Without parents the chimney sweeping child is forced to live in the streets due to his social class. There is also mistreatment in Wuthering Heights when Hindley uses the rules of class (male inheritance) on Heatcliff to deny him social status as well as an education. In turn, this forced Heathcliff into another, lower, class. Throughout the readings we can see the power higher classes hold always leads to mistreatment and neglect of lower classes forcing them to stay in poverty with no remorse. The less fortunate lower classes are never treated with respect or taken seriously, and left to live life struggling.