Charles Dickens’s Writing Techniques in “Great Expectations” Essay Sample
- Word count: 6849
- Category: dickens
Get Full Essay
Get access to this section to get all help you need with your essay and educational issues.Get Access
Charles Dickens’s Writing Techniques in “Great Expectations” Essay Sample
There are several techniques of writing that Charles Dickens constantly demonstrates in his novel Great Expectations. These techniques include his theme of money and social power, his eccentric characters, and his use of repetition. With out these qualities Charles Dickens’s novel Great Expectations would not be nearly as enjoyable.
No other author in history quite compares to Dickens when it comes to his eccentric characters. Most, if not all, of Dickens characters in this novel have such peculiar way about them. The most eccentric of all the characters in this novel would undoubtedly be Miss Havisham. She is dressed in a tattered wedding dress, even though she has enough money to acquire more cloths than anyone else in that area. She refuses to keep her house up to date, and has the most bizarre ways about her. She is just one of many of Dickens uncanny characters.
One of the last qualities that Dickens presents in this novel is his use of repetition. He constantly repeats words and phrases to try to get his point across. One of these phrases is used by Pip’s relatives. The phrase is “brought you up by hand”, which is referring to how Mrs. Joe raised Pip. The point that Dickens is trying to make is that she raised him all by her self. However, there is a little bit of humor behind this matter in the way that it can be meant another way. This way being that she beats Pip, with her hand. Another time Dickens uses this quality of writing in his novel is when Mr. Jagger’s is telling Pip of all the money he just inherited. He constantly uses the phase “Your Great Expectations”.
In conclusion, Charles Dickens uses lots of different techniques to fulfill his novel. These techniques are his use of repetition, his eccentric characters, and his theme of money and social power. Without these qualities, Charles Dickens’s Great Expectation would not be nearly the same.
There are many common, familiar clichï¿½s about illusion versus truth. “All that glitters is not gold” and “Things are seldom what they seem” are the most universal hackneyed phrases, but they do not cover entirely every aspect of appearance versus reality. In Charles Dickens’ novel, Great Expectations, there are several differences between the illusion and the truth. The appearance of certain things is often detrimental to the outcomes of characters when the reality of a situation is revealed. These illusions are revealed through Pip, a lower class boy caught in the struggle of the social classes of 19th century England. Throughout the book, Charles Dickens emphasizes the difference between appearance and reality through Pip’s expectations of something better, social status, and settings in the book.
“I was painting brilliant pictures of her plans for me. She had adopted Estella, and had as good as adopted me, and it could not fail to be her intention to bring us together. She reserved it for me to restore the desolate house, admit the sunshine into the dark rooms, set the clocks a-going and the cold hearths a-blazing, tear down the cobwebs, destroy the vermin, — in short, do all the shining deeds of the young knight of romance, and marry the princess…. I had made up a rich attractive mystery, of which I was the hero.” (252) This is a very obvious illusion of what Pip anticipates for the future. When the reality of this illusion was revealed, Pip realizes the truth behind the appearance of his false dreams.
“Miss Havisham’s intentions towards me, all a mere dream; Estella not designed for me.” (348) Pip realizes that he is not meant to be with Estella, and that the false appearance of his expectations that he put out for himself were completely untrue. Before he left for London, he thought that it was going to be grand, wonderful, and illustrious. However, when he got there he was very under-impressed by the city. “While I was scared by the immensity of London, I think I might have had some faint doubts whether it was not rather ugly, crooked, narrow, and dirty”. (178) He had expected it to be the world, the beginning of a new future, and the start of a new life. However, it did not meet up with his anticipated expectations. The reality of London was dreary and dismal, unlike the appearance of it from afar.
High social status seems to have a beautiful appearance, but the veracity of the class system is not as good as it would seem. When Pip realizes that his true benefactor is an escaped convict named Abel Magwich, he instantly does not want the money. (372-3) Compeyson’s appearance helped him in a case against him and Magwich. Compeyson said a very divulging quote to Magwich: “To judge from appearances, you’re out of luck” (373) In the trial, this was very evident. (276) Magwich was sentenced to twice Compeyson’s jail time. When Magwich spoke of Compeyson in front of soldiers deciding their fate, he even stated that the appearance of a gentleman is often confused with the truth. “He’s a gentleman, if you please, this villain.” (44) When told this, a soldier said, “You’re not much to look at.” He of course was judging by mien.
In this illusion of the social classes of society, When Estella found out that Pip had come into a vast fortune, she recommended that “‘Since your change of fortune and prospects, you have changed your companions…. And necessarily,’ she added in a haughty tone;’ what was fit company for you once would be quite unfit company for you now.'” (257) Estella’s true father is Magwich and true mother is a servant, but she is raised by a rich woman and is therefore upper-middle-class. By birth, however, she is in the bottom of lower class. In contrast, Biddy, an orphan maid, and Joe, Pip’s brother in law, both maintain the appearance of lowly on the social classes of 19th century England. However, they both have such wonderful personalities and great views on life that in reality, they are better people than the upper class.
Setting in Great Expectations was also an important contrast of illusion and the truth. Pip grew up the beginning of his life in two places: the forge and Satis House. The forge would normally have the appearance of being a dreary place, with fires blazing and the shadow of it lingering everywhere. However, it was actually a place where love was taught from all corners, and good morals were instructed. Satis house, the home of the Havishams, seemed like it should have the appearance of an upper-class home: much more comfortable and wonderful than a lower class home because of the money that the Havishams possessed. Satis means “enough” and that “whoever had this house could want nothing else.” (66) The appearance that this house would be “enough” for the Havishams shows what kind of people that they really are in reality. Satis house was “of old brick, and dismal, and had a great many iron bars to it. Some of the windows had been walled up; of those that remained, all the lower were rustily barred.” (64) Satis house was not welcoming at all, and in actuality it was very uncomfortable. Another contrast between truth and illusion is of Walworth, Mr. Wemmick’s home. Mr. Wemmick, Pip’s coworker, has a slight case of multiple personality disorder. In the office, he is like a machine.
This appearance he puts forth as an illusion of a hard working man while the truth is that he is very vivacious and sprightly. At his comfortable, castle-like home, Wemmick is very pleasant and cheerful. Pip made the mistake of mentioning Mr. Wemmick’s dual personality in the work place, in front of Mr. Jaggers, the boss. Pip “turned to Wemmick, and said, ‘ Wemmick, I know you to be a man with a gentle heart. I have seen your pleasant home, and your old father, and all the innocent cheerful playful ways with which you refresh your business life. ‘” (443) Mr. Jaggers, utterly surprised, said, “‘What’s all this? You with an old father, and you with pleasant and playful ways? This man must be the most cunning impostor in all London.'” (443)
Wemmick’s appearance to the public and his work place concealed the truth behind his true personality. He was very embarrassed at this glimpse into the truth of his illusion, and retorted, “‘Not a bit of it,’ returned Wemmick, growing bolder and bolder. ‘I think you’re another.'” (443) By this quote, Wemmick reveals that Jaggers too can conceal the truth. In one of Jaggers cases as a lawyer, he had to try a woman named Molly for a murder case. He dressed her up in smaller, womanly clothes to make her appearance seem smaller and more petite. She was acquitted due to this illusion, although the reality behind this appearance was that she really had committed this crime. In more than one instant in this novel, the outcomes of situations are often decided on the appearance of illusions versus the truth of reality.
The mendacity of the characters and the settings in this book enforce that if one can pursue reality, the truth can be found behind an illusion. Pips expectations were thwarted because his actual dreams were shattered when the truth was revealed. The social status of 19th century England was just a forefront to rate people by their financial and economical advantages and disadvantages.
At one point in the novel, Dickens tells the reader that Miss. Havisham was a wonderful, beautiful woman and is considered to be a great match. In contrast, when the reader first meets her she is a frightful old woman who cares about nothing but herself. She is determined to live her life in self-pity and seek revenge on all men. In the novel, Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, Miss Havisham is established as a cruel and bitter old woman trapped in the past, nearly a century ago, when she was abandoned on her wedding day, and is now raising an adopted daughter to seek revenge on all men by breaking their hearts however, near the end of the novel when she converses with Pip about his love for her daughter over the years, it is evident to her after that she has made a dreadful mistake and changes most drastically before she dies.
“I had heard of Miss Havisham up town-everybody for miles round had heard of Miss Havisham up town as an immensely rich and grim lady who lived in a large and dismal house barricaded against robbers and led a life of seclusion.” Even before meeting Miss. Havisham the reader is introduced to her and has an idea of what she is all about. Anyone who lives secluded from society for years is going to be considered eccentric. The town perceptibly gossips about her since everyone has heard of her. The first time Dickens has the reader meet Miss. Havisham is through Pip.
The young boy is told to go visit her and play and as he sees the house he describes it in bleak detail. As he is led to Miss. Havisham through the dark halls by her daughter, Estella, the tone of the house is set. There are cobwebs, antique furniture, and clocks all stopped at twenty minutes to nine. Finally Miss. Havisham is introduced. She is seen in her once white, now yellow, wedding dress. All of this description, the old house, the clocks, the wedding dress, explains how Miss. Havisham was left on her wedding day many years ago and that was when her life stopped. She even says as Pip is leaving, “There, there! I know nothing of days of the week; I know nothing of weeks of the year. Come again after six days. You hear?” Dickens creates the house and Miss. Havisham as a unity. The condition and aspect of the house shows the gloom in her mind. The way the house is dark is just fuel for her desire to seek revenge on men.
When Pip finds out that she is not his benefactor he feels she owes him something, “…as that I could hide from you, even if I desired, that I do want something. Miss. Havisham, if you could spare the money to do my friend Herbert a lasting service in life, but which from the nature of the case must be done without his knowledge, I could show you how.” At first she doesn’t think she owes him anything. Then, later pip comes back to Miss. Havisham and expresses his love for Estella, but can’t have her because her heart is ice.
This is when Miss. Havisham changes. Dickens describes her plea, “…[she] dropped on her knees at my feet; with her folded hands raised to me in the matter in which, when her poor heart was young and fresh and whole, they must often have been raised to Heaven from her mother’s side… ‘What have I done! What have I done!'” This vulnerability is something Dickens never shows in Miss. Havisham until at this point of the novel. She asks him to some day write that he has forgiven her, and he says he already has. She finally realizes all the torment she has put so many through and asks for forgiveness. Miss. Havisham has changed, only it is too late to patch things up with all those she hurt because she soon dies. In her will however, she tries to make things right. She leaves the property to Estella, four thousand pounds to Mathew Pocket, because of what Pip had told her, and a mere twenty five pounds as jokes to her dreadful family.
Throughout the Novel Dickens portrays the character of Miss. Havisham as a bitter old woman who refuses to live her life due to the heartbreak she felt so many years ago. Instead of making the best of things, she devotes her life to seeking retribution on all men using her adopted daughter. She hurts nearly everyone she meets, but in the end there is a change. She realizes after hearing the same heartbreak she felt so long ago in Pip that she has done something terrible. She does her best to be a different person and fix the wrongs she has caused, but time in not on her side and she dies shortly after she is forgiven.
. When Joe visits Pip in London, he stays with him at Mr. Jaggers’ house. Pip says that “he had little objection to his being seen by Herbert or his father, but he had the sharpest sensitiveness to his being seen by Drummle” (218). This shows that after time had past without Joe, Pip has become self conscious of him and does not want his friends to meet him, afraid that they might think less of him. Since Pip has made such good friends with everyone in his quest to becoming a gentleman, he is afraid of what they might think of him after meeting Joe. After Herbert leaves for the city, Pip gives Joe lessons on good manners and how to act properly around gentlemen so Joe would not embarrass him so much. When Joe left, he mentioned to Pip that he was going to change and that he will never be seen in the clothes that he is wearing: “It isn’t that I am proud but I want to be right as you will never see me no more in these clothes” (223). Because of Joe’s sudden change in attitude, Pip perceives Joe’s solid honesty and moral depth so he regrets his attitude toward him. After Pip realizes that he was wrong about Joe, he goes back to his original views of Joe which stay right through to the end of the novel.
Mrs. Joe has a distinctly different impact on Pip which mostly led to Pip’s shyness and cowardliness throughout his childhood. Since, Pip’s parents and five brothers died, Mrs. Joe felt the need to raise Pip in a strict household. Because of these strict rules implied by his sister, Pip was always afraid when he was late or did something wrong since his sister would yell at him or punish him when he got home: “Consequently, I said as little as I could and I had my face shoved against the wall” (64). Besides getting yelled at for being late, Pip also got in trouble from Mrs. Joe by asking questions about the world around him: ” People are put in the Hulks because they murder, and because they rob and forge and do all sorts of bad: and they always begin by asking questions” (12).
Since Pip was not allowed to do numerous things, he became a secluded person for most of his childhood and early teens. The first time that Pip actually got to have any kind of a social life was when he went to London to become a gentleman. Even though Mrs. Joe did not like the idea, Pip still went in order to follow his dreams. In addition to getting in trouble for activities that his sister did not approve of, Pip was also forced into going to Miss Havisham’s to play whether he wanted to or not: “She wants the boy to go and play there. And of course he is going. And he had better play there or I’ll work him” (50). In the end Mrs. Joe’s temper proves her own undoing. Since she treated Orlick so mean, he one day attacks her, paralyzing her limbs and affecting her speech. Thereafter “her temper was greatly improved, and she was patient” (122) until the time of her death.
In the second stage of the novel, Pip develops a close relationship with Herbert Pocket, Pip’s partner at his new job in London. Pip and Herbert first met at Miss Havisham’s house, where Herbert launches into a fist fight with the unwilling but stronger Pip. When Pip arrives in London, he is surprised to discover that the person with whom he is staying is actually Herbert, “the pale young gentleman.” Herbert is someone that Pip patronizes and becomes good friends with throughout his time in London. Because Pip feels that Herbert will never be rich or successful Pip decides, if possible, to help him financially. After Pip helps him, he begins to realize that by making others happy he was bringing joy into his own life. This change in Pip is a step toward discovering that one is supposed to help others instead of always worrying about oneself. Pip’s relationship with Herbert remains strong throughout the third stage, when Pip becomes partners with him. This partnership allows Pip to become a self-reliant and honest individual who does well enough to achieve contentment.
Pip, over time, becomes attracted to Estella, Miss Havisham’s adopted daughter, romantically and throughout the second and third stages of the novel, Pip sets out to become a gentleman for her. From the time when Pip meets her when both are children he is both disturbed and fascinated by her. Neither of them seems to like each other and Estella is always rude to Pip: “Sometimes, she would coldly tolerate me; sometimes, she would condescend me; sometimes, she would be quite familiar with me; sometimes, she would tell me energetically that she hated me” (94). Even though she makes him feel awful, Pip simply feels that he cannot live without her. After Pip discovers his love for her he feels that “she is someone more beautiful that anybody ever was and he admires her dreadfully and wants to become a gentleman on her account” (129). The only problem that Pip sees is that she does not seem interested in him. Miss Havisham deliberately “throws Estella in Pip’s way” and expresses her intention that he should escort her through London, although she knows that Estella does not want to go.
Throughout the second stage of the novel, Pip’s curiosity and affection for Estella grow, even though he is eventually heartbroken. Miss Havisham requested to see Pip, so he went to see her. Pip was really excited that she said that Estella was ready to go to London, and that if Pip fell in love with her, he would not be out of place. The only problem that arose was the fact that “although Pip saw her frequently and she treated him with friendship, she did not return his love.” Pip later confesses his love to her but discovers that Estella was to marry Bentley Drummle, a person that Pip disliked: “I am glad you like him sir, but I don’t” (216). After Pip found this out, he was heartbroken and depressed, because after all, Estella was his first and only love. Although Pip is at this time depressed, he is happy for her and only wants to see her be happy. Eleven years later, Pip’s love for Estella was resurfaced when he met her on the site of Miss Havisham’s mansion. He found out at this time that Estella’s husband, Drummle, had died in a horse-riding accident and this had allowed Estella to see the good in Pip and the wrongness of her treatment of in the past. Finally, the two lovers, Pip and Estella, make plans to marry.
Magwitch is a person who Pip is intimidated by in the early chapters of the novel even though he eventually becomes friends with him. Although at first Pip is afraid of his grotesque appearance, he later decides to bring him food and a file out of sympathy. Magwitch is rude to Pip and threatens him to bring him food: “You fail or go from my words in any particular, no matter how small it is, and your heart and liver shall be ripped out and ate” (4). He also intimidates him into doing things for him: “A boy may lock his door, may be warm in bed, and may think himself comfortable and safe, but that young man will softly creep up and creep his way into to him and tear him open” (4). Although Pip is already afraid and lonely at this point because his family just died, Magwitch frightens him even more just to get Pip to bring him things. At this time, Magwitch does not realize that Pip only brought these things out of fear. Since Magwitch thinks that Pip is an exceptionally good person, he thought that Pip brought these things to him out of generosity. Pip’s actions are just like those of Charlie in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Charlie won everything because he displayed an honesty that most people do not, and the same goes for Pip. Pip could have turned Mag into the authorities, but instead he gave him food and a little company even though he was terrified of him.
When Pip meets up with Magwitch again in the third stage, Pip considers him “uncouth and horrible yet feels chained to him.” Mag comes to visit Pip in London even though he knows that if he is caught he will go directly to jail. Pip encourages Mag to leave with him to acquire safety outside of London. By now, Pip has matured from his morals, for he is no longer worried only for himself but for others as well. Pip’s concern and love for Mag were of more importance to him than his own image, which was not the case in the second stage with the other characters. Pip learns that helping others; such as Magwitch, he not only brought happiness to their lives but brought happiness into his own life as well.
There is also an ever-changing attitude from society toward Pip himself. In the beginning of the novel, Pip comes across as an afraid, troubled young boy but as time goes on, the reader sees that Pip slowly grows out of these qualities into a young gentleman. Throughout all of his childhood, Pip is intimidated by just about anything and tries to avoid trouble whenever possible: Although this made Pip’s childhood miserable, in time, Pip learned to face his fears.
Besides being afraid of himself, Pip found that he lost his self esteem because people would say things to make him feel bad. Contributing to his loss of an entity were remarks such as: “I have pretty large experience of boys and you are a bad set of fellows” (81) or “He’s a young’un too but he look bad don’t he” (103). The worst part about the comments that Pip received is the fact that most of them come from people who do not know Pip personally. They are in a sense “judging a book by its cover” by making fun of Pip’s appearance. As a result of these remarks, Pip becomes a self-conscious person who is always worried about what other people think instead of being whoever he wants to be. He hated being looked at because he felt insecure and afraid that there was something wrong with him: “Whenever I caught one of them looking at me though never so pleasantly, I felt offended: as if they were expressing some mistrust of me” (144). Although Pip has these problems to deal with, in the first stage of the novel, these do not matter once he arrives in London.
Throughout the second and third stages, when Pip becomes a gentleman, the opinions and outlooks of Pip change. Once in London, Pip is given the chance to forget his past and start over again. During his first day in London, Pip becomes friends with Herbert, his roommate, rather quickly. Through this friendship Pip is introduced to many new people who all think that Pip is wonderful. They are always flattering him and commenting on his job. Pip quickly becomes popular so he is always wanted for a number of things; such as dinners or sleep overs. All the attention that Pip gets from his new found friends helps to boost his self esteem to a level that he has never experienced before. From the time he arrives in London to the time the novel is finished, Pip is a changed person and his family and peers are proud of him.
Throughout Great Expectations, the growth of Pip in a society becomes more significant in each of the three stages. As Pip matures into a gentleman he learns many things about himself as well as how strong he is as a person. Instead of his critics leading the wrong direction, they helped Pip to discover his morals and led him to a successful future.
In the work Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens, two characters live their lives through someone else. Miss Havisham and Abel Magwitch are both elderly and though someone else are able to obtain their goals that they are not able to complete themselves. Abel Magwitch lives his life through the protagonist Pip while Miss Havisham lives her life through the character Estella. Miss Havisham is an aged, mysterious lady who has much anger. This anger derives from her fiance leaving the day of the wedding. This is the moment when she “stopped living” and decides to turn to a life of making other men miserable, just as her ex-fiancï¿½e had made her unhappy. However, Miss Havisham is too old to be able to hurt other men, so she decides to raise a child. Miss Havisham put Estella in such an environment where all Estella’s compassionate feelings were erased and made very dull.
Miss Havisham’s influence also made Estella feel no remorse for those she hurt. Estella tells Miss Havisham, “If you had brought up your adopted daughter wholly in the dark confinement of these rooms, and had never let her know that there was such a thing as the daylight… and then, for a purpose, had wanted her to understand the daylight and know all about it, you would have been disappointed and angry?” (307). When Estella refers to the light and the dark she is referring to the light as love and compassion and the dark as the cruelty and the sense of a “stone heart.” Estella, even as a young woman, cannot see or feel love because Miss Havisham has manipulated her to be just as she wanted, relentless and cold. Moreover, this personality allows Estella to seek revenge on the male sex, just as Miss Havisham wanted. Herbert tries to explain to Pip that Estella is “haughty and capricious to the last degree, and has been brought up by Miss Havisham to wreak revenge on the male sex” (175).
Pip is unable to comprehend that Miss Havisham is desperate to destroy men’s lives and Estella cannot change the way she is. It is also apparent that Miss Havisham uses Estella to break men’s hearts when Miss Havisham asks Estella about how many hearts she has broken. Many times Estella tries to explain to Pip that she is incapable of loving him. One time she says, “We have no choice, you and I, but to obey our instructions. We are not free to follow our own devices, you and I.” (266). Estella comprehends that she is a puppet in what is considered a “greater plan.” She is not free to do what she pleases because she is under Miss Havisham’s influence and her instructions to break hearts and not to care about the feelings and pain she brings. Hence, Miss Havisham lived through Estella in order to hurt as many men as possible.
In Great Expectations, the male character, by the name of Abel Magwitch, also lives his life through someone else. The character he lives his life through is Pip. When Pip first receives word that he has great expectations to be a gentleman, his guardian is completely unknown until Pip is twenty-three and Abel Magwitch tells his protg that he, the convict Pip met at the marshes, is the man who gave Pip the opportunity to become a gentleman.
When Magwitch first tells Pip he is his benefactor he states, “I spec’lated and got rich, you should get rich. I lived rough, that you should live smooth; I worked hard that you should be above work.” (320). Magwitch knows that he can never be a gentleman but believes that Pip should have the opportunity to live “smoothly.” Magwitch is a convict, who met Pip twenty years ago, and Magwitch uses none of his money on himself; he only uses it on Pip. Seeing Pip grow to be such a gentleman is the happiness Abel Magwitch longs for. Abel Magwitch does not want anything back because Pip is the reason he remained alive. All Magwitch cared about was making sure Pip’s life was better then the life Magwitch had to live. “If I ain’t a gentleman, nor yet ain’t got no learning… All on you owns stock and land; which on you owns a brought-up London gentleman? This way I kep myself a-going.” (322). Magwitch is living a life he was unable to live through Pip and that is what kept Magwitch alive during his time at prison.
Thus, both characters Miss Havisham and Abel Magwitch live their lives, hopes, and dreams through younger people. Interestingly, both characters that are lived through are miserable in their day-to-day actions even though they have been given money and the material things that should make them happy. Estella is beautiful and has anything she would like but she is still unhappy because she cannot ever love and return feelings of compassion due to the rigid and cruel way she was raised. Pip is forlorn because he cannot have Estella and he does not like the environment the gentlemen have to live in. The author of Great Expectations, Charles Dickens, put these characters and ideas in the book to show that material things are not enough to make people happy. “I lived in a state of chronic uneasiness respecting my behavior towards Joe” (page 273).
Pip understands that his expectations and his dramatic change in lifestyle affected the people that really loved him in a negative way. This made him unhappy and uneasy. When fighting with Miss Havisham, Estella says, “Only a little tired of myself.” (305). It is later obvious that Estella is tired of not being happy and not being able to have any true feelings. Even though Estella and Pip were given everything they ever wanted, neither of them got fulfillment and true love from their guardians and both ended up being very melancholy. Dickens’ point is to show the reader that people need more then just materialistic things to live and be happy; they need love and need to be able to feel compassion and love. This book can be considered a commentary on how the social system is misjudged because the people of the higher lifestyles are not necessarily happy even though they have most material things. This idea is important because it shows what is really needed to be happy and that is love and being able to be compassionate.
In an article written by Christopher D. Morris, the actions and moral bad faith that the central character, Pip, exhibits are examined. In the profound novel, Great Expectations, written by Charles Dickens, the main character “Pip” is put through many tests that examine the type of man Pip strives to be and the type of man Pip really is. Pip’s relationships with two central characters, Tom and Magwitch, are examined closely in this essay, and through these relationships, Pip’s character is visible. Great Expectations is, in a sense, a Cinderella story in which Pip’s fairy godmother turns out to be a convict running from the law. This “amulet” gives Pip a gift that changes Pip and his life.
In the beginning of the novel, Pip is a young boy that lives in an inhospitable home with his older sister and her husband. Although Pip’s relationship with his sister is unkind, the relationship Pip develops with her husband is affable. Pip’s brother-in-law, Joe, has taken Pip under his wing, and wants to take care of Pip. Critic Christopher Morris writes, “Pip claims to have developed a solicitude for Joe” in the opening of the novel, but later “that claim is everywhere contradicted by his actions.” One example that Morris writes of to prove his point is, after Pip learns of the “selfless rational for Joe’s acquiescence in Mrs. Joe’s government”, Pip writes:
Young as I was, I believe that I dated a new admiration of Joe from that night. We were equals afterwards, as we has been before: but afterwards, at quiet times when I sat looking at Joe and thinking about him, I had a new sensation of feeling conscious that I was looking up to Joe in my heart.
Morris points out the fact, that throughout the novel, this is the only time Pip will regard Joe as his equal.
In chapter VIII, Pip is offered an invitation to a plantation where he meets two influential people in his life, Miss Havisham and her adopted daughter Estella. Over the course of many visits with these two ladies, his idea of the standard of living feels inadequate to Pip, and he longs to become a “gentleman”. A new insight of Pip is shown to the reader due to a glimpse the reader is given into Pip’s new perception of Joe’s and his “thick boots and course hands” which is revealed through Pip’s internal dialogue:
I took the opportunity of being alone in the court-yard, to look at my coarse hands and my common boots. My opinion of those accessories was not favorable. They had never troubled me before, but they troubled me now, as vulgar appendages… I whished Joe had been rather more genteelly brought up, and then I should have been so too.
Through all of Tom’s devotion to Pip, Pip time and time again shows his ungratefulness towards Tom through his many actions. Tom’s relationship is important in Pip’s life because Tom was Pip’s strength, although Pip never sees this.
Magwitch, a convict that becomes Pip’s benefactor, is the second vital person in Pip’s life. Magwitch devotes his life to support Pip, and becomes Pip’s benefactor in the novel. When Pip learns of Magwitch’s benevolence, he cannot forgive Magwitch for the life Magwitch has led and the mistakes he has made. Pip cannot let go of this, and through Magwitch’s many attempts to get close to Pip, Pip never yields to him. A point given by critic Christopher Morris is Pip’s visit to Magwitch’s death bed when Pip calmly recites a prayer. In this prayer he asks God to “be merciful to him (Magwitch), a sinner”.
Reviewer Christopher Morris points out the irony he finds in this prayer because “Pip’s twist of the parable into a prayer for Magwitch rather than a confession of his own unworthiness disingenuously allow him the preserve an altruistic sense of his own selfhood”. Morris feels that Pip was never capable of letting go of his anxieties concerning Magwitch, Pip’s concentration laid only in his own egotism. Morris writes, “And even in after Magwitch’s imprisonment Pip’s actions remain self-serving, especially his withholding from Magwitch until the moment before he dies the news that Estella lives”. What if Pip had revealed this information to Magwitch before he is laying on his deathbed? Could this news have saved Magwitch? Madwitch worked for many years to give Pip the lifestyle of a “gentleman”, and in the end, I feel Pip failed him by not seeing Magwitch for who he really was, a devoted companion.
Pip was given two central people in his life that cared a great deal for him. Both men gave up a part of their lives to support a boy they grew to love. Pip was overly concerned with becoming a gentleman and winning the heart of Estella, that he never learned the true meaning of happiness until he lost everything in the end.
“Love is blind, but friendship closes it’s eyes.”
This quote describes the vast differences between love and friendship. Love is blind refers to how love is determined by fate, and you are unable to see any faults your love interest may have. Friendship closes it’s eyes means that you may be able to see the things wrong with someone and still be their friend by closing your eyes to the faults. I agree with this saying because it correctly portrays the importance and strength that friendship has, and how it can often mean more than love.
In Great Expectations, Charles Dickens provides a perfect example of blind love. Pip’s affection for Estella is completely built on the fact that Pip has no way of seeing the gaping holes in Estella’s personality, most prominently her inability to love or feel. Since love is blind and is decided by fate, Pip vision has been clouded.
Herbert Pocket is the model friend in Great Expectations. Herbert is friends with Pip in spite of the fact that he knows Pip is conceited, money grubbing, and completely infatuated with living the high life. This even drives Herbert into debt, but Herbert says nothing. This is an example of where a person can see another’s faults, but that they close their eyes to them by choice and is friends with them any ways.
Magwhich and Pip’s relationship is very different from the normal. They met in the past and when Pip helped Magwhich, the old man started to love him. After years and years, his secret almost fatherly love for Pip grew until he was the only thing that was important in his life. This shows that Magwhich closed his eyes to the fact the Pip did not stay humble when he became rich. When they eventually met, Pip was so changed that he was unable to close his eyes to the convict’s commonness. This conveys Pip as a very low person. Later, when Pip began to except Magwhich, he was able to shut the ideas of the man’s past out. Their relationship became that of a very strong friendship because they did see each other’s faults but chose to ignore them.
When a friendship is composed, the two parties have an unspoken agreement to except any flaws the other has. This is much more meaningful than love, because the human will is involved. The outcome of love may seem more important, but there is always the chance a lover will regain their true sight and not be able to accept your faults. In the case of friendship, there is a bond because the other is all ready at ease with your faults, and your bond can only become stronger.