Great Expectations1



In Great Expectations, Pip, the protagonist and narrator of the story grows from a young child to a mannerly gentleman with high social status. Throughout the story he goes through many changes. However, in the end it turns out that Pip was handed too much too quickly. Bad fortune falls upon him and he is sent back to his poor home in Kent. All considered though, this novel is a true story of love and in the end true happiness for Pip is obtained.
Great Expectations was set in early Victorian times in England when great social changes were sweeping the nation. The Industrial Revolution had transformed the social landscape, enabling people to capitalize quickly and largely. Although social status was no longer entirely dependent on heredity, the gap between classes was wide as ever. London had become quite different from the nation\'s rural areas. Throughout England, the etiquette of the upper class was very strict and conservative while gentlemen and ladies were expected to have good classical educations and to behave correctly in every social situation. These conditions were prevalent in Dickens’s time and therefore were expressed in the writing of his novels. Pip\'s sudden rise from laborer to gentleman in Great Expectations forces him to move from one social extreme to another while dealing with the strict rules and ‘expectations’ that governed Victorian England. This was an uncommon occurrence in this time and proved almost impossible for Pip to handle.
The novel begins in the marsh country of Kent, in the western part of England. Phillip Pirrip, a young orphan boy who named himself Pip, was being raised by his sister and brother-in-law, Mr. Joe Gargery. One evening when Pip was visiting his Mother and Father’s grave at the cemetery he was confronted by an escaped convict dressed in rags and with his legs chained. The convict grabbed Pip and ordered him to bring food and a file to release him from his leg irons. Terrified by what the convict might do if he were to disobey him, Pip went home and the next day he brought the dark, scary man what he had requested. When Pip returned with the food and file the convict thanked him but soon scared him off into the fog. A few days later the convict that he helped was caught and when he was being taken away he falsely confessed to Mr. Gargery that he had stolen the brandy and pork pie from the kitchen to guard Pip from getting blamed for the deed. From that point on Pip had gained an unusual liking for ‘his’ tormentor.
One day Pip is taken by his arrogant uncle Uncle Pumblechook to play at Satis House, the home of the wealthy Miss Havisham. During this visit here meets a beautiful young girl named Estella, who unfortunately treats him quite coldly. For a good time Pip travels back and fourth to the Satis house to visit Miss Havisham and he becomes closely acquainted with her. However, more significantly, he grows very fond of Estella despite her crud treatment of him. Nevertheless, he falls in love with her and dreams of someday becoming a wealthy gentleman so that he might be worthy of her love and devotion.
At age 16 Pip is apprenticed to his brother-in-law Joe Gargery, the village blacksmith. The apprenticeship didn’t last very long however because one day a lawyer named Jaggars appears with the strange news that a secret benefactor has given Pip a large fortune, and he must come to London immediately to begin his education as a gentleman. Pip quickly assumes that Miss Havisham is the secret benefactor but Mr. Jaggars refuses to tell him who it is as that was the agreement.
Pip soon leaves for London and there he becomes friends with and lives with a gentleman named Herbert Pocket, a boy whom he had played with in Miss Havisham’s garden. In London, Pip befriends a young gentleman named Herbert Pocket. He also becomes friendly with Mr. Jaggers\' law clerk, Mr. Wemmick. As Pip progresses in climbing the social ladder he beings to treat his former loved ones coldly, especially Joe who had been his only friend at his home in Kent. The one thing that never changes is his constant