Great Expectations: Pip’s Transition

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In the novel, Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens the principal character, Pip, undergoes a tremendous change in character. I would like to explore with you the major incidents in Pip’s childhood that contribute to his change from an innocent child to someone consumed by false values and snobbery. Pip’s transition into snobbery is, I believe, a steady one from the moment that he first meets Miss Havisham and Estella. Even before that Pip started to his fall from innocence when he steals from his sister to feed and free “his” convict. But that was not easy for young Pip as his conscience played on him as he heard the floor boards screaming in vain attempts to alert Mrs. Joe. It is obvious that Pip was not comfortable doing this deed for “his” convict as he thought for a while before taking the pork pie, which was so appreciated by Magwitch. At Satis House it is almost straight away made clear to him from Estella’s language, that she considers him to be inferior. It is here that, he is for the first time introduced to a girl whom he is later to fall madly in love with. It is here that he is referred to only as boy. It is here that he forms his “Great Expectations”. From these experiences Pip finds out about what he considers polite society, but Satis House is a place where society is anything but polite. This is exemplified by Estella’s blatant lack of regard for Pip’s feelings; she points out to him for the first time his faults such as his “coarse hands…. thick boots” and the fact that he is nothing but “a common labouring boy”. This not only points out Pip’s own faults but also leads to his awareness of Joe’s. Estella is the main incident in Pip’s life that ultimately leads to his obnoxious and contemptible behavior in the future. This is because of his love for her, even after their first encounter he describes Estella as “very pretty” yet “very insulting”. Unperturbed by this description, Estella continues her disgraceful treatment of the young and impressionable boy when she feeds, and treats him as if he were an animal, continuing to address him like an animal, she does not bother to learn his name, still referring to as boy. She also confuses him; when he fights with the young Herbert Pocket he is permitted to kiss the beautiful young girl, but then she slaps him, knocking him back and shocking him.
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