In Charles Dickens’ magnum opus Great Expectations, there are many dynamic characters and plot devices, which flow the story. One of them is the main character, Pip, who ultimately goes through the most character development with the help of outside forces and developed, minor characters. Most of Pip’s character development, however, is from his motivation to become part of the aristocratic upper class of England. Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations shows the character motivation of Pip, whose desire of wealth and belonging to aristocratic society in Victorian England causes drastic self-improvement throughout the novel.
One of the reasons self-improvement is so prominent in Great Expectations is that the theme is extremely relatable to most people. Alexandra Lozano, author of the article A Great Expectation for La Verne Magazine clearly agrees, stating “There isn’t one person in the world who isn’t focused on self-improvement, trying to prove they are common and unique” (Lozano 1). Pip, the main character of the novel, has specific goals for self-improvement that mirror people’s goals in life at the time, like becoming wealthy and rising in society. Eldred J. Wilden, one of the many authors who wrote essays about Great Expectations in Lawrence Kappel’s Readings on Great Expectations, states,
“The theme of Great Expectations draws attention to what constitutes true happiness and true gentlemanliness in the story of a poor boy, Pip, and his expectations of wealth and happiness. This theme is of universal interest because nearly everyone seeks happiness and wealth” (Wilden 30).
What Wilden is saying is that Great Expectations and its main theme of self-improvement have become...
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... two parts of his “expectations”, Pip is at first following his own personal orders and living life with Mrs. Joe and Joe Gargery while training to become a blacksmith under Joe’s apprenticeship. Pip soon realizes that life with a poor family is not in his best interests and future, so he makes a goal to become wealthy and move to London, which occurs in the second stage of Pip’s expectations.
1.Bloom, Harold. Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations. Bloom’s Notes series. New York, NY: Chelsea House Publishers, 1996. Print.
2.Hornback, Bert G. Great Expectations: a Novel of Friendship. Twayne’s masterwork studies (no.6) series. Boston MA: Twayne, 1987. Print
3.Kappel, Lawrence. Readings on Great Expectations. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, 1999. Print.
4. Lozano, Alexandra. “A Great Expectation”. La Verne Magazine (2007). Web. 17 Feb. 2014.
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