Great Expectations

Great Expectations

Length: 1706 words (4.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Great Expectations

Josh Billings once said "to bring up a child in the way he should go, travel that way yourself once in a while". There are few things as important in the development of youth as the influence of the adults that surround them. The example of influential adults will almost always dictate, in some way, the behaviour of children. Young people look for role models and examples in the adults they meet. In Charles Dickens' novel Great Expectations (1860), vivid adult characters such as the eccentric Miss Havisham, the enigmatic lawyer Jaggers, the simple but kind blacksmith Joe and the mysterious convict Magwitch have fundamental influences over the development of the story's protagonist, Pip. They do this in two ways. In a novel about a young man's moral education, the major secondary adult characters in the story contribute to Pip's growth either as instigators of his expectations or as paternal figures or sometimes as both.

Appropriately, the characters who bring about Pip's "expectations" play an integral part in his life; they influence him and shape his development throughout the novel. Firstly, Miss Havisham's was a significant impact on Pip's life. It is at Satis house, her strange, decaying mansion, that he initially comes into contact with the upper class life for which he later aspires. As his first contact with a wealthy person, Miss Havisham prompts Pip to try and better himself financially. She also, indirectly, pressures Pip into changing through her influence over Estella. Estella's cruel behaviour towards Pip is the direct result of Miss Havisham's teachings. Embittered by her own broken engagement, Miss Havisham taught the girl to be cruel to men, so she learned to "break their hearts and have no mercy!" (Dickens, 108). Thus, the beautiful Estella's cold reaction to Pip and the way she patronizes him are major reasons why he felt the need to change. It was she who convinced him that he was "in a low-lived bad way" (75) and needed to heighten his social status in order to be worthy of her notice. The impact of Miss Havisham's financial splendor and indirect cruelty make her a crucial instigator of change in Pip.

Unlike the will to change that Miss Havisham's influence inspires, the presence of the lawyer Jaggers in Pip's life brings tangible means to change. As the bearer of the news of Pip's new fortune and his guardian throughout his education, Jaggers, acting on behalf of his unidentified client, is the character who transforms Pip's life financially allows him to hope for the life Miss Havisham and Estella inspired him to have.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Great Expectations." 123HelpMe.com. 14 Aug 2018
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=161483>.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Great Expectations Essay

- The novel Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens is a compelling book which many people consider to be one of Charles Dickens’ greatest works. Great Expectations is a novel that has many elements that help the growth and development of Phillip Pirrip, better known as Pip. But none of these elements can be more evident than the kinds of love and their different roles in Pips life. In order to answer how love has influenced Pip’s life we must first define what love is. According to Miss Havisham love is, The different types of love and their roles in Pips life is represented differently by the different characters....   [tags: Great Expectations Essays]

Research Papers
3113 words (8.9 pages)

Great Expectations Essay

- In Charles Dickens’ novel, Great Expectations, the main character named Pip suffers through a conflict of confusing good and bad people. He repeatedly disregards the people that love and care for him and instead chooses to care for people who do not care for him. When making these choices, Pip senses that he is making the wrong decisions and therefore confuses good and bad and also confuses himself. After Pip first meets Estella, he begins to dislike everything he has ever known. He is uncomfortable feeling common in front of Estella and takes out his frustration on Joe, the one who brought him up to be common....   [tags: Great Expectations Essays]

Research Papers
1608 words (4.6 pages)

Great Expectations Essay

- English Coursework - Great Expectations Charles Dickens was born in 1812. He lived with his father for the first 12 years for his life, until his father fell deep into debt. He then went to live in a prison until his father paid off his debts. During the time before he wrote ‘Oliver Twist’, two main events in history occurred. These were that slavery was abolished by Wilberforce, and the Chartists started their campaign to help the poor people of Britain. These indirectly inspired him to write ‘Oliver Twist’....   [tags: Great Expectations Essays]

Free Essays
874 words (2.5 pages)

Great Expectations Essay

- Great Expectations The title of this novel is Great Expectations and was written by Charles Dickens. Dickens wrote and set this novel in near the mid-1800 in London, England. Great Expectations is about a young, common boy named Pip that blossoms into a gentleman with high expectations of himself. The main and supporting characters are Pip, Estella, Miss Havisham, Magwitch, and Jaggers. Pip is the protagonist and narrator of the novel. The novel spans the time in which he was a young boy through his age in which he is recognized as a true man of the world....   [tags: Great Expectations Essays]

Free Essays
1435 words (4.1 pages)

Great Expectations Essay

- Great Expectations Josh Billings once said "to bring up a child in the way he should go, travel that way yourself once in a while". There are few things as important in the development of youth as the influence of the adults that surround them. The example of influential adults will almost always dictate, in some way, the behaviour of children. Young people look for role models and examples in the adults they meet. In Charles Dickens' novel Great Expectations (1860), vivid adult characters such as the eccentric Miss Havisham, the enigmatic lawyer Jaggers, the simple but kind blacksmith Joe and the mysterious convict Magwitch have fundamental influences over the development of the story's p...   [tags: Great Expectations Essays]

Free Essays
1706 words (4.9 pages)

Great Expectations Essay

- Great Expectations Charles Dickens’ novel Great Expectations is a very enjoyable book for the reader for many reasons. Overall, Great Expectations is a novel that effectively depicts the emotions and feelings of the characters in the story and has a plot that maintains the reader’s interest. These elements, along with others help to make the novel appealing for the reader. When young boy by the name of Philip Pirrup (referred to a Pip by all that know him) encounters an escaped convict in a churchyard, he is extorted to get food and a file for the man....   [tags: Great Expectations Essays]

Free Essays
1150 words (3.3 pages)

Great Expectations Essay

- Great Expectations The novel great expectation was finished for the first time in 1860; it was created in weekly instalments in a weekly journal called “all year round”. The story went on for 36 weeks. This gave the author Charles Dickens few challenges he had to beat to keep the readers interests up. He used cliff hangers and other ways he needed to grab the reader’s attention. Dickens grew up in a small house in Landport, by Portsmouth, on the 7th of February. John his father was a clerk. Charles had a rough childhood, and wasn’t liked by other students due to his fragile body....   [tags: Great Expectations Essays]

Free Essays
1213 words (3.5 pages)

Great Expectations Essay

- Great expectations coursework My essay is going to be about the 1876 edition novel ‘Great Expectations.’ The author of this novel is Charles Dickens. When the novel opens we meet Pip as a rather young child. Pip is the narrator as well as the main character. This is known as the first person. Pip as an adult talks about Pip as a child. He talks about his life as a child and how it was a struggle without his parents being around to help him. This makes it interesting to read. Dickens creates sympathy for Pip by talking about his dead parents....   [tags: Great Expectations Essays]

Research Papers
829 words (2.4 pages)

Great Expectations Essay

- Great Expectations Is Great Expectations the story of the becoming of a snob. Phillip Pirrip or commonly know as Pip, a young orphan living with his sister and her husband in the marshes of Kent, sits in a cemetery one evening looking at his parents' tombstones. Suddenly, an escaped convict springs up from behind a tombstone, grabs Pip, and orders him to bring him food and a file for his leg irons. Pip obeys, but the fearsome convict is soon captured anyway. The convict protects Pip by claiming to have stolen the items himself....   [tags: Great Expectations Essays]

Free Essays
2924 words (8.4 pages)

Great Expectations Essay

- Great Expectations What techniques does Dickens use to present the characters. Dicken’s uses a variety of techniques in order to present his characters. By doing this it gives us a better and a clearer image of the characters. The first technique I’ll consider is his use of language which he uses very well. This technique is used to present his characters very effectively. Dickens aim is to show how physically and mentally destroyed Ms. Havisham is. He does this by surrounding her with images and language of death....   [tags: Great Expectations Essays]

Free Essays
2045 words (5.8 pages)

Jaggers pulls Pip from his quiet life in the country with Joe and moves him to London where he is educated as a gentleman and given a generous allowance. Jaggers is a cold and stiff gentleman whose frequent hand-washing is his way of disassociating himself from his lowly clientele and who even takes a liking to the "generally despised" (336) Drummle. This snobbery is one of the many traits that Pip begins to associate with being a gentleman and thus he acts rudely towards Joe, the man who has raised him, when the blacksmith visits London. Jaggers' of apparent ‘gentlemanly behaviour' steers Pip in the wrong direction. It is, however, a direction he needs to go in before he can discover the error of his ways and find his way to what is really important. Jaggers' influence stretches beyond that of providing Pip with economic means. He is a major reason for Pip's acquired snobbish attitude towards those who love him. The adult figures who provide the inspiration and deliver the means for Pip's expectations influence him to think he needs to better himself through social status, wealth and snobbish, gentlemanly behaviour.

In contrast, the two father figures in Great Expectations influence Pip's development in a positive way and help him to become a better person. At the beginning of the novel, the first two male characters that Pip's narration introduces to the reader are the mysterious convict on the marsh and his brother-in-law, and substitute father, Joe Gargery. Though the character of the convict, Magwitch, is not developed until much later in the novel, Joe is described more vividly in the opening chapters than almost any other character. This reveals Pip's deep connection to Joe that dates back to well before the beginning of the novel. Joe raises Pip as his own when his parents die and he is taken in by his sister (a woman referred to only as Mrs. Joe). The blacksmith raises him to be good, kind and generous. His influence can be seen in Pip's fundamental inclination to help. After being threatened by the convict on the marsh, Pip could easily have not returned but instead, his values, instilled in him by Joe's example, dictate that he should return and bring food to the convict. This action, in particular, sets the entire series of events of the novel in motion and had it not been for Joe's generous example, Pip might never have done it. It is also Joe and his perpetual, unconditional kindness towards Pip that helps him learn that the values of character are independent of social class. Thus, eventually, Pip feels extreme guilt about his earlier treatment of Joe and abandons his snobbish attitude. It is apparent, in this remorse, that Pip maintains his sense of right and wrong that he learned while under Joe's charge. Joe is the unchanging character who remains good throughout the novel. The points in the novel where Pip feels closest to Joe are poignant in that they are the places where Pip has his priorities straightened out. Joe is the perpetual father figure in the novel; right to the end, he cares for Pip when he returns badly wounded from a battle with Orlick, his late sister's murderer. This fatherly instinct touches the adult Pip and reminds him of how Joe cared for him when he was a child. Dickens' consistent portrayal of Joe as the ideal fatherly figure is stressed by the diction of one of his final descriptions of the man: "the tenderness of Joe was so beautifully proportioned to [Pip's] need that [he] was like a child in his hands" (501). Joe is set up to be the exemplary father figure. He leads by example, through being kind and generous he influences Pip to be such. He accepts Pip when he rejects his post as Joe's apprentice and moves to London to adopt a lifestyle completely unfamiliar to Joe. He does not blame or lecture Pip when he does something wrong, like treating him rudely in London; instead, he trusts Pip to know what's right and to have learned from his example. It is through the constant love and positive influence of Joe that Pip is able to grow and become the good, kind adult that Joe tried to teach him to be.

The infrequent presence of Magwitch in Pip's life effectively contrasts with the consistency of Joe's influence. Though his presence was rare, Magwitch's impact on Pip and his growth was enormous and perhaps the most meaningful of the novel. He is also the only character to have a major impact on Pip both as an instigator of his expectations, through his anonymously providing Pip's fortune and as a father figure who has an emotional impact on Pip. Pip's kindness towards the convict on the marsh comes back to benefit him when the provider of his fortune is revealed to be Magwitch, the reformed convict himself. Magwitch reveals that "[he's his] second father. [He's his] son- more to [him] nor any son" (345). Magwitch's anonymous generosity towards Pip influences Pip to copy his benefactor and remain anonymous as he aids his friend Herbert in his business pursuits. When Magwitch first arrives on the scene in London, taking the name of Provis, Pip show's a distinct displeasure at his presence, revealing in narration "if I had loved him insead of abhorring him, if I had been attracted to him by the strongest admiration and affection, instead of shrinking from him with the strongest repugnance, it could have been no worse" (348). However, as he gets to know Magwitch, Pip learns to love and appreciate him despite his status as a convict. In fact, Pip's affection towards Magwitch grows to the point that he risks his life, and the lives of his friends, to help him escape down the river. When Magwitch is arrested after Compeyson's death, Pip stays by his side, feeling that "that was [his] place henceforth while [Magwitch] lived" (479). Pip's growing admiration of Magwitch also reinforces the insight gained with Joe that virtuous people exceed the limitations placed upon them by their social status. The lessons taught to Pip by the presence of Magwitch in his life give credibility to the statement Magwitch made, upon his re-entering Pip's life, of him being a father figure in Pip's life. It is Magwitch's money that allows Pip to ‘improve himself', but it is Magwitch's goodness and personal influence that teaches him enduring ethical values.

Through raising expectations and influential father figures, the adults throughout Great Expectations affect Pip in both positive and negative ways. Though some lead him down the path of materialism and snobbish personas, others teach him kindness, generosity and what is of real value in life. When Josh Billings said "to bring up a child in the way he should go, travel that way yourself once in a while" he meant it. Jaggers' cold snobbery and Joe's kindness teach Pip by example. He adopts their ways of relating to the world, at least for a time. In the end, Joe's influence proved to be stronger, thus his example stuck with Pip. It is the nature of the child to decide who to emulate. While the strong influence of Jaggers' and Miss Havisham's examples intensely led a small portion of his life, it is ultimately Joe and Magwitch, who are fundamentally good people, who make the strongest impact on Pip. It is through leading by example that the adults who had the strongest impacts on Pip influenced him. If the adults lead life the way they think children should, inevitably they will follow.
Return to 123HelpMe.com