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Great Expectations: Changes in the Character of Pip

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Changes in the Character of Pip


Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens is a fascinating tale of love and fortune. The main character, Pip, is a dynamic character who undergoes many changes through the course of the book. Throughout this analysis the character, Pip will be identified and his gradual change through the story will be surveyed.

The main character, Pip, is a gentle character. His traits include humbleness, kindness, and lovingness. These traits are most likely the cause of his childhood poverty. In the beginning of the story, Pip is a mild mannered little boy who goes on with his own humble life. That, though, will change as he meets Magwich, a thief and future benefactor. Pip’s kindness goes out to help the convict, Magwich when he gives food and clothing to him. Magwich tells Pip that he’ll never forget his kindness and will remember Pip always and forever. This is the beginning of Pip’s dynamic change. Throughout the novel, Great Expectations, the character, Pip gradually changes from a kind and humble character to a character that is bitter, then snobbish and finally evolves into the kind and loving character which he was at the beginning of the story.

In order to make more money Pip’s uncle sends Pip to a psychotic old lady’s house named Mrs. Havisham. Mrs. Havisham is a mean and nasty character who constantly bickers at Pip and tells him of his unimportance. Pip continues to be mild mannered and respectful to Mrs. Havisham yet he begins to see that he will never get ahead in life just being nice. Mrs. Havisham uses Pip as sort of a guinea pig to take out her passion of revenge against men. She does this by using her daughter, Estella to torment Pip.

 Pip’s first and only love is Estella. Estella is very mean and nasty to Pip.  Although he receives verbal abuse from Estella, he continues to like her and will not stop liking her, he sees the good inside of her and will not stop until the good comes out. In contrast to her treatment of Pip as a child when she had called him a common laboratory boy with coarse hands and thick boots, she tries to explain to him that emotion is something that she is incapable of feeling. The fact of that is evidence of his illusion, not her cruelty. He sees that he cannot control Estella and that life is not fair, and he develops bitterness towards it.

Pip’s dream of becoming a gentleman comes true when his old friend Magwich comes back to become his benefactor. As his benefactor he funds Pip in his academic studies and makes Pip a gentleman. Through this Pip’s dream becomes true and he starts to act like a snob even though he truly isn’t. His attitude changes and he becomes “stuck up” and the exact opposite that he was in his childhood. This is evidence of a dynamic change in the story.

            After many years, Pip who is a changed man sees his old love Estella. There he falls in love with her again even though she explains that she cannot feel any feelings for him. To make a long story short, they fall in love, and that causes him to revert back to his old self; a gentle, kind, mild mannered person who sees only the good in people.

            In conclusion the character, Pip is a great example of a very dynamic character.  This story was pretty typical of Charles Dickens because as everyone knows he despises rich folk.


1.      Underline titles of novels.

2.      You have a clear attempt at thesis statement.  It could be more specific, telling us exactly how Pip’s character will change throughout the novel.  In your paper you state that Pip, at the beginning of the novel, is a gentle and humble character who becomes bitter because of love, then a rich snob and finally love brings Pip back to the gentle and kind character.  All of this should be incorporated into your thesis statement. Throughout the novel, Great Expectations, the character, Pip gradually changes from a kind and humble character to a character that is bitter, then snobbish and finally evolves into the kind and loving character which he was at the beginning of the story.  By stating all of these traits within your thesis statement, you are letting the reader know exactly what to expect when reading your paper.

3.      I can see the flow of your thoughts within the paper, but there is a lot of plot summary.  Try not to re-tell the story.  Instead focus on the how and why Pip changed.  What resulted in Pip’s change from loving to bitter?  What resulted in Pip’s change to the rich snob?  How did his changing affect others in the story?  How does Pip’s return to the loving character create a resolution at the conclusion of the novel? 

4.      In your conclusion you should try to re-cap on what you have written.  Re-state each of your points in a sentence, a sentence about his kindness at the beginning, another sentence about his bitterness, a sentence about his snobbery and a sentence about his return to love.  That way, the reader is reminded of what you have discussed and is able to pull all of your thoughts together in a united theme.

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