Essay about Flaws in the Upper Class: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Essay about Flaws in the Upper Class: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

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Great Expectations by Charles Dickens is much more than a story about a boy who falls in love with the idea of a part of the being upper class, it is about the faults Dickens sees in upper class society. During the time this novel took place, (the 1800s), the behaviors of the upper class were much more strict and conservative than they are now. Men and women were expected to have thorough educations and behave appropriately in social situations. Throughout the novel, Dickens uses satire and his knowledge of social classes to emphasize his feelings of the upper, middle, and lower class. By portraying Pip as a young boy in the lower class who works with upper class people every day, the novel conveys the marxist lens of social classes that we see in our everyday life. With the elements of the class system and Pip’s development, Charles Dickens expresses how the ignorance of the upper class affects how people portray themselves and all that matters is the character of the person.
In the start of the novel, Pip is just a young boy in the lower class who does not know much about social classes. He lives with his sister, who is called Mrs. Joe, and her husband, Joe, in the town of Kent in London. This book is actually one of Dickens’s more autobiographical ones; he is essentially Pip in this case (Bloom). Dickens considered himself too good for his surroundings, worked at a job he hated, and lived in a marsh country just like Pip does in this novel (Bloom). With all the adventures and life lessons Pip goes through, his climb from a poor country boy to a gentleman helps him make the change from one social class to another while still following the “rules” of society in England. All he wants in life is to become a gentleman, mostly so ...


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...d have never become a real gentleman with the proper education and may never have become such a well-rounded individual; “It is not possible to know how far the influence of any amiable, honest-hearted duty-doing man flies out into the world, but it is very possible to know how it has touched one's self in going by”(514). Pip’s transformation is a really good one because he now understands how everything really works in society and that not everyone can get by with anything just because they are higher up in society.


Works Cited
Dickens, Charles. Great Expectations. Novel.

Bloom, Harold. "Google Books". N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2013.


Friedman, Stanely.. "Estella's Parentage and Pip's Persistence." Studies In the Novel. Vol.19, No. 4, winter 1987.
               Web. 18 Nov. 2013.


Shrimpton, Nicholas. "Dickens's Muscular Novel." Ebsco. N.p., June 2012. Web.

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