The purpose of dialect in Charles Dickens’s novel Great Expectations
1University of Oulu, Faculty of Humanities, English Philology
|Online Access:||PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.4 MB)|
|Persistent link:|| http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:oulu-201602031111
|Publish Date:|| 2016-02-03
|Thesis type:||Bachelor's thesis
In this study, I was interested in finding out what purpose dialects serve in Charles Dickens’s novel Great Expectations. I used Susan Ferguson’s notions on ficto-linguistics and Peter Stockwell’s ideas on invented language to create the theoretical background for my study. The analysis focused on three characters of the novel, namely Joe Gargery, Abel Magwitch, and Pip. I examined what role dialect — in the case of Pip, the lack of one — plays in the character construction of these three characters. Additionally I analysed the dialects in relation to the major themes of the novel.
The findings of this study suggest, that Dicken’s used dialect to both individualise characters and to bind them to a certain groups, which can mostly be defined by social status. The dialects also help make the themes of social mobility, gentility, social injustice, and expectations in relation to reality more tangible.
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