Essay on Great Expectations By Charles Dickens

Essay on Great Expectations By Charles Dickens

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From the very roots of the novel Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, the main character, Pip, is greatly influenced by the identities that those around him expect him to take on, and by the expectations Pip has for himself. During the course of the novel, this was expressed by various symbols representing the many identities impressed on Pip during his childhood. From his unorthodox role of a “son” by many family, friends and people claiming to guard him, to societies opinion of him as both a boy and a gentleman, Pip takes on the responsibility of the many expectations that his class-oriented society imprints upon him as a young boy with ambitions.
Pip must constantly reconsider the value of his different identities to choose what he wants to live with. There’s an obsession with identity in the novel, and a confusing relationship between the chosen identity of the characters and the identity haunted by a characters past and social status. For example, Pips relationship with Joe and his sister. He identifies his family as his sister and brother-in-law, but for all intents and purposes, both Joe and his wife are Pips parents, whom constantly retort to any misbehavior on Pips part that they “brought him up by hand”. Pips relationship dynamic with those caring for him is symbolic to Pips identity during his boyhood because of its non-permanence and it’s rather emotionally manipulating effect on Pip. The identity even further influences Pips life since it would be required that Pip learn his trade as a blacksmith, had he stayed a common boy. This is a relationship dynamic which follows Pip throughout the different stages of his life. Pip’s easily imprinted mind is manipulated endlessly in the novel, because of others intentions tha...


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...heir sponsors, and ignorant to the blunting of their humanity, until they’re old enough to be more self-aware, fulfilled and fortuneless themselves.
By the end of the novel, Pip comes to see the blunders his selfishness resulted in and mends the issues his expectations created, associating himself with the childhood-Pip who was once free of egocentrism and was humble. He arrives back to his home with nothing, just like how he left the first time. Humble, fresh, clear-headed, but no longer a blank slate. And expecting, as he always seems to be expecting something great to be awaiting him at his destination. As for the symbol of his identity-his relationships-they’re eventually snuffed out, as all of the other characters who used Pip as a puppet for so long are gone from his life. Leaving him with all he needed to begin with: Joe, Biddy, and their marshes by the sea.

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