Charles Dickens' Great Expectations

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Pip's False Expectations In Charles Dickens' Great Expectations, the reader is taken through the journey of a little boy as he pursuits his dream and great expectations beyond his common self. Pip's, the protagonist, dream of becoming a gentleman is realized upon his meeting of Estella, the love of his life. Pip changes from an innocent, sensitive and common young boy to a selfish, rejecting adolescent. He is led into making grave mistakes based on his false expectations of marrying Estella and being a gentleman. In the end, he learns that all his aspirations have been based on false presumptions and expectation of his ability to rise above his past and become something better. Joe Gargery is married to Pip's sister, Mrs. Joe. Although Mrs. Joe treats Pip with resentment and constantly reminds him that he is a burden, Joe is a loyal friend and ally to Pip. Joe loves and supports Pip even when Pip is ashamed and abandons him. In Pip's childhood, Joe is the only one who shows him love. Their relationship is based more in equality than of father/son which allows Pip to ask questions and experience some sort of communication with another person. Mrs. Joe treats Pip harshly and never shows him any love. Pip eventually becomes embarrassed of Joe and his home. The first visit to Miss Havisham's house is also the first encounter with Estella for Pip. He believes that she is much older than he is and is intimidated by her upon meeting. He observes her to be haughty, contemptuous and cold-hearted, yet beautiful. She constantly refers to him as "boy" which emphasizes Pip's inferiority to Estella. Estella instills in Pip a shame of himself and his commonness. During Pip's first meeting with Estella, they play cards and she states, "He calls the knaves, Jacks, this boy! And what coarse hands he has. And what thick boots (Dickens, 59)" to point out her observation of his common hands and boots. Pip reflects upon this insult with "I had never thought of being ashamed of my hands before; but I began to consider them a very different pair (Dickens, 59)", which accentuates the beginning of Pip's embarrassment of his home, Joe and his commonness and his greater expectations of himself. Pip starts to believe his life and his home to be coarse and common, as... ... middle of paper ... ...meant to be equal to Estella's. He was raised to be coarse and common and not a wealthy gentleman. Estella instilled the great expectations into Pip, which created his disloyalty and selfishness. Since Pip's distance from Estella and consciousness of his false expectations, he is able to part as friends without any sense of regret. Pip is able to mend his ways of life and return to his good-natured self, more mature as result of his experience. His discovery that his wealth came from convict and not Miss Havisham dissolve in the realization that things are not as he had thought. He learns that all his aspirations have been based on false assumptions and expectations that he could rise above his past. His great expectations were derived from a criminal who wanted Pip to have a better life than himself. He was not becoming a gentleman for Estella, but rather a gentleman for his own sake. He discovers that true wealth and worth come from inside a man and turns away from his once great expectations.

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