Why is Great Expectations considered a Victorian era book?What elements must books have to be considered Victorian and which of these does Great Expectations have?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Victorian stories illustrated the preoccupations of the era which, unfortunately, were quite mundane such as: social ranking (titles such as Lord, Lady, Sir, et al), escalating the financial ladder, hypocritical religiousness, marriage as a dowager tool, the fictitious ideals of ladies and gentlemen,exaggerated morality, and over-the-top- mannerisms.

In Great Expectations, we see lots of these elements especially those dealing with the expectations of the character of "the gentleman" and its effect on Pip. There were indeed loads of "great expectations" placed upon men who were to be dubbed as "gentlemen" in the story, and this was a preoccupation of the Victoria era. In fact during this period, when a man got married and had no title, he would sign "gentleman" on his marriage record to assure him respectability.

The Victorian era, mostly due to Queen Victoria's own propaganda on family unit and male honor, exerted a magnificent influence on society. It was huge enough to give her name to an era, a fashion, a style, and a way of thinking. This is why Great Expectations exemplifies the time at hand.

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Great Expectations

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