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Redemption in Charles Dickens' Great Expectations Essay

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The idea of redemption is an idea that has existed for as long as humanity has. Therefore, it should be no surprise to see the idea of redemption in the literature of many different periods, let alone the Romantic period. Throughout Great Expectations, characters experience redemption in a manner of ways. Characters go through vast changes and lives change unexpectedly. A theme and motif of redemption is clearly developed in Great Expectations. Some ways this theme of redemption is express during the book are, when Pip gets a mysterious note to go to the marches and is ambushed and almost killed, Throughout the story when Pip warms up to Magwitch, When Pip realizes how much he loves Joe and Biddy, How Pip’s redeeming factors stem from his early childhood, Ms. Havisham’s eventual realization of the error of her ways, and in society itself.
The first example that a theme of redemption is emphasized in Great Expectations is when pip gets an anonymous note to go to the marshes and is ambushed and almost killed. Before this ambush and attack from Orlick, Pip does not realize what is truly important. Pip is caught up in being upper class and a gentleman. He gets too worried about appearances. The attack however, made Pip really think about what was important to him. Pip realized he need to stay alive and redeem himself. He did not need to do this for himself, but to fulfill the obligations he now realized he had to Magwitch and Joe. Pip says "Joe and Biddy would never know how sorry I had been that night"(429). Pip realizes how poorly he treated those who he loves and that love him. Pip now knows he must redeem himself and make up for his poor behavior.
A second way a theme of redemption is developed is in Pip and Magwitch’s relationsh...


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Society cannot and does not want to change. The change that must occur is in the individual. One must realize what must be redeemed and change it for themselves.
In the end all the characters achieved their redemption in one way or another. Pip got his by returning to the way he once was. Ms. Havisham tried to get hers by attempting suicide. All of the character’s goals were redemption in one way or another. A theme of redemption is present and emphasized in Great Expectations by, what happens when Pip gets an anonymous letter telling him to go to the marshes, Pip and Magiwitch’s ongoing relationship, Pip’s realization of his love for Joe and Biddy, Pip’s redeeming qualities being with him all along, Ms. Havisham’s eventual realization of the error of her ways, and in society itself.



Works Cited

Dickens, Charles. Great Expectations. Easton Press. 1979. Print.



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