"Great Expectations" was written by Charles Dickens in 1861. "Great Expectations" is a coming of age story that revolves around the life of one man Pip. From the time he was seven years old until he was in the mid thirties, Pip shows us the important events in his life that shaped who he became. Along the way, he enquires many different acquaintances and friends that influence him in his decisions and goals in his life. "Great Expectations" is a story that the public can relate to because at some point, everyone goes through the struggles that Pip must battle. It shows that possessions and wealth do not change who people are inside, and that finding one's self can be a long process until finally everything becomes clear.
"Great Expectations" discusses various themes on crime, law and the criminal justice system. Through the novel Dicken's displays his point of view of criminality and punishment. This is shown in his portraits of all pieces of system: the lawyer, the clerk, the judge, the prison authorities and the convicts. He uses characters such as Mrs Joe Gargery and Magwitch to define people's common views about crime and punishment and how it is explored through the character Magwitch.
The prison system in England may have had a significant effect on the life and writing of Charles Dickens due to his father's imprisonment John Dickens worked as a clerk at the Navy Pay Office. Having seven children, John Dicken's found it difficult to provide for his growing family on his meagre income. In 1822 the family moved to Camden Town in London. John Dicken's debts had become so severe that all the household goods were sold. Still unable to satisfy his creditors, he was arrested and sent to Marshalsea Prison. These kind of prisons came to be workhouses for people who had lost all their belongings. This painful experience would have stayed in Charles's mind for the rest of his life. "Great Expectations" is a harsh criticism on the British Legal and Penal system as well as on the Victorian Society.