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Expectations Great Expectations

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Great Expectations shows how it is sometimes necessary for a person to experience a string of humiliations to grow up, with each humiliation forcing the humiliated to redefine himself in order to become whole. At the beginning of the novel, Pip has innocence, with no thoughts of “great expectations” because he has never had anyone suggest that he was somehow uncommon. After Pip goes to the Satis House, he expects to become a gentlemen, and begins to value this opportunity more than anything else in his life, including Joe. Pip abandons his old life in pursuit of the gentlemen status. Throughout Pip’s pursuit of becoming a gentleman, he is humiliated, and with each humiliation, he grows up. This growth causes him to value those that love him more than social standing and wealth, just as he did before he ever got the idea of “great expectations”.
Pip values those that love him at the beginning of the novel not because he is grown up, but because that is all he has experienced. When he visits to the Satis House, he is exposed to those that value money and social standing instead of family. This exposure causes Pip to desire money and social standing. Pip becomes dissatisfied with the life he was living. Pip’s love for Joe before the Satis House is shown by Pip’s thoughts when looking back to when Joe told Pip of why he had not learned to read, “Young as I was, I believe that I dated a new admiration of Joe from that night. We were equals afterwards, as we had 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” (48). Pip’s first visit to the Satis House corrupts his character by causing him to be disgusted by t...

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...just like Joe was from the beginning of the novel. Through a series of humiliations, Pip grows up and overcomes the corruption set upon him by his childhood visits to the Satis house. He learns to appreciate those around him more than wealth or social status. At the beginning of the novel, he did not wish to be seen talking with Joe and Biddy, but by the end of the novel, Pip was able to hold hands with a man sentenced to death. He comes to terms that even though he may not be elevated to be a “gentleman”, he has Herbert, Joe and Biddy. He realizes that even though he may not be special in the grand scheme of things, his small action of stealing a file and some food for a desperate convict, meant the world to Magwitch. He learns that even if he is not a grand gentleman of London, he is the most important thing in Magwitch’s life, and is therefore important and loved.
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