Great Expectations By Charles Dickens Essay

Great Expectations By Charles Dickens Essay

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In Charles Dickens Great Expectations, public image provides a standard by which each character is judged and treated. Public image drives the characters to climb the social ladder, and do whatever is necessary to obtain a high class reputation. Throughout Great Expectations, public image controls the thoughts and actions of the characters. Dickens uses a variety of characters, expanding from dirt poor to rich and snobby, to determine how they live their lives. Great Expectations guides us through Pip, the main character’s, long journey of realizing that no external standard of value can replace the judgements of one’s own conscience.
In the beginning of Great Expectations, Pip meets a convict who needs help, and threatens Pip if these tasks aren’t completed. However, Pip never judges him, but helps him in every way he can. At first, Pip is content with his public image and doesn’t seem to care much. That is until Pip visits the Satis House. Once Pip enters the house, his life changes drastically; for the worst. Pip meets Miss Havisham and her adopted daughter, Estella, a stunning, beautiful girl, who Pip instantly falls for. Pip notices that Estella looks down on him and constantly refers to how “common” he is. One day while Pip is leaving Miss Havisham’s house, he remarks, “I took the opportunity of being alone in the courtyard, to look at my coarse hands and my common boots (47).” Estella uses Pip’s affection for her as a deadly weapon. Willing to do anything for Estella’s love, Pip becomes obsessed with trying to impress her. Pip is converted into a young, confused boy who is very aware of his image. Getting wrapped up in making Estella notice him, he forgets about the people who truly do love and care for him. Eventually, ...


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...ares for the people who were always there for him.
In conclusion, once Pip confronts his poor decisions from the past, he comes to his senses to conclude that life isn’t about money or what other people view you as. If you live your whole life to try and impress someone, it will flash before you. The most important things in life are the blessing we tend to overlook everyday. The most meaningful quote about public image to me in Great Expectations is, “So throughout life our worst mistakes and weaknesses and meannesses are usually committed for the sake of the people whom we most despise (170).” Dickens states that are worst mistakes in life are caused by people who try to change you into something your heart knows is wrong. Dickens proves that even though public image and social class determines many things, it does not establish a person’s true inner character.

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