Transformation of ‘Great Expectations’ by Charles Dickens into a Poem
For my transformation I choose the novel ‘Great Expectations’ by Charles Dickens and transformed it into a poem that targets the attitude and pain of the main character Miss Havisham. One of my main attempts was to focus on her loneliness and bitter personality. I wanted to grasp these points in particular to show the links between her attitude and hatred towards men and the world around her. She has a vengeful side which is portrayed in her violent language ‘stab’ and ‘death’. Her attitude towards men and how it has changed over time is a key and central theme of the novel and something I have taken and embraced within my transformation.
Dickens as one of the first and greatest urban novelists of the Victorian era aimed to reform and improves society through his writing. He was most famous for being able to capture and express a vivid image, especially of his characters through his thorough descriptions and attention to fine detail. Dickens was said to have an encyclopaedic knowledge and described his own mind as a ‘highly sensitive photographic plate’. It’s context like this that allowed me to interpret the depiction of Miss Havisham as a ‘lonely, ‘bitter’ women with ‘pebbles for eyes’.
Metaphors like these allowed me to roject Dickens original thoughts and style of writing into a poem which showed her attitude and idea of self pity. To make a poem successful you must adhere to the conventions associated with the genre. Therefore, I used stereotypical features throughout. This poem is spoken by Miss Havisham, a lonely, spinster character from Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations. Because the poem is being spoken by a character, I wrote it in the style of a dramatic monologue which gave me the opportunity to delve into this character’s mind and speak in her voice.
Familiarity with the book helped me understand that Miss Havisham is referring to her former ianc?© in these lines. He dumped her on the morning of their wedding day and swindled her out of all her money. My poem, however, doesn’t give us these details. First, I wanted the women to grab and engage the reader’s attention with a violent sentence fragment, which sets up a choppy, stilted feel in the poem. In this, she calls her former fianc?© her “beloved sweetheart bastard. ” This phrase is an oxymoron; Oxymoron’s are often used to express ambivalent, contradictory, and conflicting ideas and feelings.
In my opinion I thought it was clear that Miss Havisham has these kinds f feelings about this man, who is both a sweetheart and a bastard thus explaining my choice to use this persuasive writing technique. Miss Havisham then continues to say that she’s wished for her fianc?©’s death every day since he dumped her; this once again shows her cruel and bitter personality with constant reference to her hatred towards men. She has not only wished for her fianc?©’s death; she’s prayed for it. And she’s prayed for it hard. This again reinforces Just how much this event has had an effect on her life.
She says her eyes are green pebbles, which is a metaphor, because her eyes arent actually green pebbles. Green connotes the color of Jealousy and greed, and sometimes even the color of sickness. And pebbles are hard and small. I chose this comparison because her fianc?©’s betrayal has left her Jealous and hardened. My next idea imagines that she has ropes on the back of her hands. I wanted to embrace Dickens style of vivid imagery so used the ideas of when people believed that this is what Miss Havisham is talking about.
But she doesn’t Just notice that her veins look like ropes; she says she could use them to strangle someone. These metaphorical ropes are very, very real to her. Focusing on tone, by this point I anted my transformation to adopt a more distinctly sinister tone. Miss Havisham is not a happy individual, and her imagery and metaphors are tools she can use to express this discontent. This shows not only a more in depth description of character but embraces Dickens style and creates thorough and continual links between his prose and my poem.
I used the sounds, “Hard” and “dark. ” As a repetition of similar vowel sounds, assonance is repeated constantly in this poem. I used the term “spinster” here, which is a mean-spirited word for an unmarried older woman, as I think it’s how she sees herself and how others see her. But I wanted to propose the question ‘Is this how she expects others to see her? By including these hidden rhetorical questions it allows the reader to get involved and process their knowledge by questioning the text. II then wrote that she has spent days “cawing” the word “no” at the wall.
A “caw” is a harsh cry that a bird might make, like a crow. So it’s metaphorically comparing her to a lowly animal. By writing “no”, it not only varied sentence length and created a dramatic effect (something that fits her character perfectly), it reveals the moment when she discovered her fianc?©’s betrayal. I repeated the “er” sounds of “Spinster’, ‘l stink and remember,” and the repeated “aw” sounds of ‘caw’ and Wall’ because these sounds are a kind of rhyme that appears in the middle of the line – internal rhyme.
Combined with her short sentences and sinister tone, they make the poem feel a bit claustrophobic. I wanted to create an atmosphere as if we’re trapped in Miss Havisham terrifying mind, where the same sounds and thoughts are repeated over and over again. When I got to the fourth stanza, I wanted things in the poem to change a bit. Before I depicted Miss Havisham s incredibly bitter and angry, but now things change; she tells us that some of her nights are better. With the line, “There are some nights that are better. I wrote it in a way to show she couldVe expanded and given us more positives to her relationship however she doesn’t, she says something much shorter, as if she can’t quite find the energy to form a complete thought. I referred to her former fianc?© as a “body,” not a person. for example, sticking her tongue in “its mouth” and “its ear,” as opposed to “his mouth” and “his ear. ” I did this to show she is depersonalizing him; in this moment, he’s Just a body to her. And then, after the ear and mouth, she heads downward.
I then decided to change the mood once again, the fantasy ends quickly, and Miss Havisham bites herself awake. But, does she bite the imaginary body? Does she bite her own tongue as she awakens? Or has something bitten her? It’s ambiguous, and though it’s a sensual gesture, it’s not exactly a happy follow up to the kissing. It’s changes like this that keep my poem interesting as you never know what’s coming next, there’s a sense of foreboding which I think has came off very effective. The tone of the poem is very dark and negative, and in the final stanza I decided to ake things get even more bleak and morbid.
I wrote that Miss Havisham Wants a male corpse to chill with for a long and slow honeymoon’. Her fantasies from the third stanza question Just what is she planning to do with this corpse? I wrote hyperbolic here with a sense of irony, it says one thing but could mean another. The difficult to pin down. In the final lines of my poem, I wanted the reader to be able to ask themselves a question, do they pity Miss Havisham? There’s consistently of horror in the whole poem, but there is a strong sense of pity in her last line.
She’s old, alone, little demented, and falling apart – not Just emotionally, but physically. Her broken heart has led to a broken and decrepit body, life, and mind. The final word of the poem, the “b-b-b-breaks” is breaking down itself. I wanted it to seem as if Miss Havisham is sputtering and sobbing out this final pathos-inspiring word of the poem. She’s utterly devastated, and despite the fact that explored her character and created a rather bitter human being, even our hearts break a little at this final line. I used assonance and internal rhyme in this last line as well as through my whole poem.