Essay on Coming Of Age By Charles Dickens

Essay on Coming Of Age By Charles Dickens

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The theme of “coming of age” is common in many novels and medias, especially those directed towards youth. A novel with such a theme is generally about a young person’s journey from childhood into adulthood and trying to navigate their way into society. In Fifth Business by Robertson Davies, and Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, the theme of coming of age is ubiquitous throughout both novels. Therefore, the theme of coming of age is demonstrated in the characters Percy (Boy) Staunton and Pip Pirrip in their journey towards self-improvement, their discovery of their personal values and moral, as well as their acceptance into society.
Firstly, the characters’ strive towards self-improvement is a key element in both novels, which in turn, propels much of their story lines of becoming adults. This is demonstrated in Fifth Business when Dunstan describes Boy’s self-improvement in his personality and mannerisms. Dunstable says, “It was so easy for him! He never forgot anything that was of use to him, and him and his own manners and speech became more polished all the time.”(Davies 145). This shows Boy Staunton’s constant struggle with achieving success and what achievement means to him. However, it is clear that he has high hopes for himself and is ceaselessly working towards achievement of these hopes. This is also evident in Great Expectations after Pip visits Miss Havisham for the first time, witnessing her immense wealth, and explains how he wants to become a gentleman. Pip says, “It appeared to me that it would take time to become uncommon, under these circumstances: nevertheless, I resolved to try it, and that very evening Biddy entered on our special agreement.” (Dickens 629). This displays Pip’s determination to becoming a...


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...er his education to advance in society. Moreover, in regards to each individual’s development in their personal morals and values, Pip learns the importance of family and love above any measure of wealth and social standing, whereas Boy does not, and results in him dying unhappy and alone. Boy believes that to be accepted intro a high class society, he must improve his wife by educating her to complement himself perfectly, a rising wealthy businessman. Moreover, Pip is happy with his acceptance into the upper class society that comes with being an educated gentleman. As the two men age, their true identity is revealed ending in two very different conclusions. These two coming of age novels prove to the reader that formal education will not always end in maturity, but it is experience and realization of one’s faults and mistakes that result in a mature, wise adult.

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