Theme Of Ambition In Great Expectations

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Marcus Aurelius once said, "A man 's worth is no greater than the worth of his ambitions." It is human nature to desire the approval from the outside world. However, like Aurelius said, ambitions don 't define a person. Throughout Charles Dickens ' novel Great Expectations, Pip 's character integrates ambition to become someone he is not and results in disappointment and sadness. When Pip does not receive a satisfactory outcome, he is quick to blame others rather than his own physiological desires. First, Pip is ambitious to become a gentleman in order to be worthy of Estella 's love. Pip is a young boy and is being raised by his sister. When his sister, Mrs. Joe, forces him to go to a stranger’s house he does not ask questions. Pip 's first…show more content…
While living in the Satis Mansion, Pip begins to realize how different he is from the people living inside of it. Pip reflects, "I took the opportunity of being alone in the court-yard to look at my coarse hands and my common boots. My opinion of those accessories was not favourable. They had never troubled me before, but they troubled me now, as vulgar appendages" (102). This quote specifically proves that Pip is ashamed of appearance. He had not once thought about himself as common but looking at himself and seeing his "common boots" impacted him. Pip seems almost angry at himself for the way he dresses. He compares his boots to "vulgar appendages" that he is embarrassed of. Pip 's image does not meet the standards of the higher class. When Pip receives news that Joe, his former best friend, is coming into town he is not excited. As he is becoming accustomed to the high society he is living, Pip only thinks of himself. Pip thinks, “Not with pleasure, though I was bound to him by so many ties; no; with considerable disturbance, some mortification, and a keen sense of incongruity. If I could have kept him away by paying money, I certainly would have paid money” (285). Pip 's thoughts depict how his great expectations made him superficial. Rather than spending time with someone who raised him, Pip worries about Joe 's commonality staining his upperclass image. Pip 's "mortification" of Joe was so strong he "would have paid money" to keep him from coming to London. This verfies that Pip 's social class is more important than family, whom he once loved and cared so deeply for. Towards the end of the novel, Pip 's ambition to be an upperclassmen becomes less important to him when he it is revealed that Magwitch, the convict, is his benefactor. Pip

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