Throughout the novel, Dickens has made it quite clear that Estella is above Pip, socially and financially. "She called me 'boy' so often, and with a carelessness that was far from complimentary" (70; ch. 8). By having Estella act snobbishly towards Pip, Dickens creates a huge gap ... ... middle of paper ... ...tence lead readers to believe that although Dickens, under the influence of Bulwer-Lytton, wanted them to be together, he could not decide on a definite way, so he left the last sentence vague. By doing so, Dickens left Pip and Estella's future in the hands of the readers, not his own, and took the responsibility of a definite ending off of his shoulders.
Fiction performs a number of functions, and among these are helping us to understand the world, and helping us to understand the human condition. What is taken from a work of fiction is, however, dependant on who is reading it at the time. In the case of Great Expectations there are a number of themes running through the text including betterment through education, what it is to be a gentleman, respectability and crime, parental /family ties, and industry and idleness. Many of the original readers of the work were not concerned with analysing these various themes, and how Dickens put the work together. Rather, it was enjoyed as a populist piece of fiction which simply told the story of a young orphan from humble beginnings who rises to become a wealthy gentleman.
Dickens Studies Annual 2 (1972): 267-276. Rosenberg, Edgar. "Last Words on Great Expectations." Dickens Studies Annual 9 (1981): 87- 107. Sucksmith, Harvey Peter.