Great Expectations

The novel Great Expectations published in1860 by Charles Dickens involves the protagonist Pip and his attempts to climb the social hierarchy and become a gentleman. The story is set in countryside London where Pip is part of the working class. Pips?parents passed away when he was very young and he is to live with his sister Mrs Joe, who is married to a compassionate blacksmith. One day Pip is taken to a very wealthy house owned by Miss Havisham to play with a handsome girl called Estella who Pip falls in love with. The country folks thought Pip may be lucky and gain financial prospects from Miss Havisham as she was a very wealthy elderly woman. But nothing was gained except shame and embarrassment on Pip抯 social status. Miss Havisham used Estella coldly to make Pip feel uneducated and unworthy of himself. But yet Pip falls in love with Estella抯 appearance and wealth and becomes determined to become a gentleman to impress her. But yet Pip was never was accepted into the 19th century society抯 paradigms 揑 never had one hour’s happiness in her society, and yet my mind all round the four-and-twenty hours was harping on the happiness of having her with me unto death.? – Pip Sometime later a lawyer appears claiming Pip has a secret benefactor who has given Pip a large sum of money to become a gentleman. Pip takes this offer and leaves the countryside, his cruel sister and honest Joe behind to become a gentleman. Pip never visits Joe or his sister because of the arrogance which new wealth has brought him. 揑t is a most miserable thing to feel ashamed of home? Finally a convict comes back into the story and tells Pip he is Pip抯 anonymous benefactor. This spoils all of Pip抯 false belief that Miss Havisham is his benefactress who intended him for Estella. Discovering the truth of Pip抯 benefactor changed his mentality and perception, and caused him to challenge society抯 conventions. Estella becomes unhappily married to a self centered rich man and Pip抯 convict was later caught and hung. Pip asked forgiveness from kind Joe for being so pompous, and also learns of his sister抯 death. Pip realized the blindness of the higher society and became a well educated and compassionate man challenging society抯 paradigms after realizing the convict抯 compassion from a working class was greater then a rich wealthy woman抯 nature Miss Havisham. What are the paradigms Pip found himself challenging? The first paradigm which Charles Dickens depicted in the 19th century novel through authorial intrusions was the direct linkage to wealth and status. Pip became aware that material wealth and social standings were determined by wealth in a 19th century society, after being introduced into the loveless environment of the Satis house owned my Miss Havisham. Here he learns the bases of power and money, and wished to become a gentleman of the 19th century in order to be the equal of Estella. He was seduced my Miss Havisham to believe that a gentleman was a man with wealth, education and power only. This was a stereotypical 19th century male. But soon Pip remeasured his society and realized an ideal gentleman will adhere to the Victorian standards of working honestly for his money, of being loyal to his friends, of being generous and kind to those whom societal may view as low or uncommon. In essence, Pip had made the past a part of his life and has more realistic expectations of the future. He can now live more fully in the present, developing and appreciating relationships. Pip抯 complex characterization constructed by Dickens reveals the blinding and mercenary greed for money in all sectors of society. But through humorous critique and criticism Dickens crystallizes the vanity and materialism in 19th century society Pip must overcome to become a true heart felt gentleman and learn the values of love, loyalty, and honesty. 揑 went along on all I had seen, and deeply revolving that I was a common labouring boy, that my hands were coarse, that my boots were thick, that I has fallen into a despicable habit of calling knaves jacks, on the whole I was in a low-lived bad way? -Pip This quote represents the social and economical paradigms of the 19th century. The very quote outlines the need for education, wealth and appearance to be included in the high social rank. Basically to sum up this paradigm would be to say Ones social status could only be determined by their wealth and nothing else. But Dickens抯 character Pip ultimately rejected society抯 ways of thinking and became an individual of 19th century by developing the values of compassion, honesty and loyalty for common individuals and rejecting the class system. This made him an individual who is challenging society抯 social and economic paradigms. Dickens complex development of the character Pip allows audience to acknowledge the hardship and challenging paradigms Pip needed to overcome. The second paradigm illustrated in great expectation is the scientific ways of thinking. We find Pip contrasting 19th century city life to country life on day to day bases. The technique of contrast used by Dickens reveals the beliefs in natural laws, growing interaction between science, government and industry in the inner parts of London while the countryside consists of only small town houses. Taking the scene, where Magwitch the convict was tried for illegal trespassing conveys the law in action. 揟he sun was striking in at the great window of the court through the glittering drops of rain upon the glass, and it made a broad shaft of light between the two and thirty and the judge? The fact he was sentenced to death for only illegal trespassing depicts the conservative ways of thinking in the 19th century. The laws were uncompassionate and strict which actually symbolizes society抯 heartless ways of thinking. Dickens抯 is conveying society抯 unfeeling values, but using Pip as a didactic tool to reject society抯 ways of thinking by Pip抯 values of compassion and kindness towards the convict. George Combe was the most productive British phrenologist of the nineteenth century. He actually rejected Dickens concept of death sentencing and in 1910 became involve in a forum to throw out death sentencing. Also the industries and tall building described by Pip in the inner part of London portrayed the growth of cities. The contrast of country life revealed the inner cities expansion and development which was occurring the early 19th century. This was the beginning of the industrial revolution which was soon about to take place. The industrial revolution and scientific discoveries influenced Dickens ways of thinking which is apparent in his writing. The fact Dickens does not have any reference to religious aspects in the novel 揋reat Expectations?and is more concerned with politics and law of the time in his writing. We can conclude Dickens is using the character Pip to move away from the social/economic paradigms of the time and create a world of science and law from the industrial revolution influence. This is a movement away from the romantic era and into a world of realism and equal treatment of social class. A world of individual liberalism.

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