Great Expectations Essay Example

  • Category: Literature, Novels,
  • Words: 1296 Pages: 5
  • Published: 07 June 2021
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Great Expectations by Charles Dickens is a famed literary classic that portrays topics such as the importance of one’s morals and beliefs over their desire for money and how one’s relationships with others can deeply affect a person, for both good and bad. The novel recounts the story of Philip ‘Pip’ Pirrip, an orphaned boy who is being raised by his sister, Mrs. Joe, and her husband, Joe Gargery. He is sent to the Satis House and becomes acquainted with Miss Havisham and Estella. After his time there, he is sent to London to learn how to become a real gentleman. Throughout Great Expectations, Dickens illustrates several different kinds of relationships. These vary from the toxic relationship, as portrayed by Pip and Estella, to the mutually loving relationships, such as Wemmick and his father. Pip is involved in many dynamic relationships in Great Expectations, but some that are the most life-altering and ultimately affect the person he becomes ae the nature of the friendships he develops with Joe Gargery, Herbert Pocket, and Magwitch. 

Stable relationship

Firstly, ever since the beginning of the novel, Joe Gargery expresses a loving and stable relationship that ultimately shapes Pip throughout his formative childhood years, as well as into adulthood. Joe’s love of Pip is unrivaled by any character in the novel. He comes into Pip’s life with the sole intent of taking care of him. This sets the foundation for a life long, supportive relationship between the two. In the early stages of the novel, Joe takes care of Pip like a father, and he provides him with everything that he can. Joe implies how much he cares for pip when he says the following: “‘When I offered to your sister to keep company, and asked in at such times as she was willing to come to the forge, I said to her, ‘and bring the poor little child. God bless the poor little child,’ I said to your sister, ‘there’s room for him at the forge’”(47).

To continue taking care of Pip, Joe is willing to put up with Mrs. Joe’s abusive and truculent nature. This truly displays how affectionate Joe is towards Pip. This appreciation, for the most part, is mutual when Pip is a child. Pip sees Joe as his best and only friend. As the novel progresses, the relation between Pip and Joe slowly starts to become distant and one-sided. Joe’s feelings towards Pip never diminish, Pip’s attitude towards Joe begins to change. Pip’s once loving thoughts towards the man who raised him manifest into embarrassment. Pip feels ashamed of his origins and tries to disassociate himself to a degree with Joe, which leads to Pip feeling guilty for his foul treatment of the Joe. Joe still cares deeply about Pip, though. This is obvious when he nurses pip back to health and helps him get financially stable towards the end of the book. "Which dear old Pip, old chap, you and me was ever friends. And when you're well enough to go out for a ride—what larks” (468), says Joe himself. This quote demonstrates how, despite all they have been through during the course of the novel, they are still friends and have managed to regain the relationship they had in the beginning of the novel.

Strong relationship 

Secondly, Herbert Pocket forges a strong relationship with Pip and becomes one of the most loyal and supportive figures in his life. Pip and Herbert express a relationship that changes a fair amount throughout the course of the novel. Their first interaction is at the Satis house when Pip is still a child. “‘Come and fight,’ said the pale young gentleman. What could I do but follow him? I have often asked myself the question: but what else could I do? His manner was so final and I was so astonished, that I followed where he leads as if I had been under a spell ”(88). Their first interaction is coarse and does not seem like a good basis for a relationship between characters. Herbert reappears later in the novel when Pip goes to London. They stick to teaching one another about table manners and how to be a proper gentleman.

As the novel progresses, their relationship evolves into a deep, strongly rooted friendship that is unbreakable. Countless times in the novel, Herbert aided Pip in his times of need. When Pip losses his fortunes, Herbert gives him a job as a clerk to help him out. Pip goes to him for help when trying to smuggle Magwitch out of London, and Herbert is readily at his side. Herbert truly demonstrates how much he cares for Pip when he saves his life as Orlick is trying to attack him. Herbert and his friends allow for Pip to successfully get away from the man trying to kill him, even though it required Herbert putting himself in imminent danger. Herbert’s selfless behavior does not go unnoticed. “Herbert received me with open arms, and I had never felt before, so blessedly, what it is to have a friend” (340), says Pip in regards to Herbert. Herbert’s loyalty to Pip is unconditional and overall betters Pip’s character and life. 

Deep relationship

Thirdly, Magwitch forms a deep relationship with Pip and drastically changes his life with his actions. Magwitch's first interaction with Pip is unusual. Pip finds the convict, who threatens Pip into bringing him food and a file from Joe's forge. Too scared to decline, Pip does as he’s told. Magwitch makes an escape but is later caught by police. When he is apprehended, Magwitch spares Pip by not telling anyone about how he was the boy who brought him the file. Magwitch remembers Pip due to this and sets off to better his life. Magwitch doesn't make an appearance in the narrative until well after this incident. Much later in the novel, Magwitch reveals himself to be Pip’s true benefactor, they get to better know each other and Pip finds himself caring deeply about him. While in the early stages of the novel, Magwitch scares young Pip, Pip’s views change drastically. This is supported by what Pip says in regards to Magwitch. “For now my repugnance of him had all melted away, and in the hunted wounded shackled creature who held my hand in his, I only saw a man who had meant to be my benefactor, and who affectionately, gratefully, and generously towards me with great consistency through a series of years” (450), Pip says in regards to Magwitch.

His perspective on Magwitch drastically shifts after he exposes himself as his benefactor. Magwitch’s care and affection for Pip, similar to Joe and Herbert, is indubitable. Magwitch takes great strides to improve Pip’s life and boost him to a higher social class. “‘Look'ee here, Pip. I'm your second father. You're my son—more to me nor any son. I've put away money, only for you to spend” (321), Magwitch tells Pip. This act proves that Magwitch cares about Pip like he’s family and is willing to do anything for him. As a result of Magwitch’s actions, Pip is thrust into a situation that seems almost impossible and teaches Pip valuable life lessons about complex topics. , such as one’s moral compass, greed, and love

Pip is involved in many dynamic relationships in Great Expectations, but some that are the most life-altering and ultimately affect the person he becomes is the nature of the friendships he develops with Joe Gargery, Herbert Pocket, and Magwitch. Joe Gargery provides Pip with a loving relationship, and despite their differences, Joe remains loyal to Pip and helps him on her journey to gentlemanhood. Joe’s continual support of Pip truly molded him into the man he turned out to be by the end of the novel.

Herbert Pocket provides Pip with the strong friendship and emotional support he so desperately needs. Herbert’s devotion to Pip is unconditional, and his relationship with Pip proves crucial to both the plot of the book and Pip’s character development. Magwitch puts forth a sincere effort to better Pip’s life and gives Pip an experience that is beyond his dreams. Great Expectations by Charles Dicken’s is a uniquely written novel that does an excellent job at portraying complex topics, such as toxic relationships and socioeconomic differences in an enticing way. Dickens seamlessly integrates advanced ideas into this narrative and portrays them through a diverse cast of characters, settings, and plot points.

 

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