Great Expectations

Literature: The Hidden and Obscure in Great Expectations and Jane Eyre College

Bennett and Royle, in their book `An Introduction to Literature, Criticism and Theory’, state that `the relationship between literature, secrecy and secrets is fundamental1’. In the novels I have chosen, this `fundamental’ dynamic is seen in their representation of secrets as being both hidden and obscure, and yet holding a pervasive power; this power is seen in their influence over the narrative structure and diegetic worlds of the text. This total command over both plot and discourse can be seen in the sheer multiplicity of mysteries within Great Expectations, where both open and unanswerable secrets mingle and obscure one another, creating moments of explosive revelation and defining the murky, secretive interiority of the novels protagonist, Pip. This dual supremacy and prevalence of secrecy is seen again in Jane Eyre and Frankenstein, now under the guise of `secret spaces’ within their narratives; these domestic crypts, occluded from the everyday, act as a locus for both entrapment and empowerment in their respective figurations as repressive tombs and potent wombs. Through exploring these diverse depictions of enigma and mystery, I hope to prove the enduring narrative power and thematic dominance of secrecy within the...

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