Inequality In Great Expectations

2121 Words 9 Pages
Wealth and Status Do not Equal Happiness
Many think that fame and fortune determines the value of a person in society. However, author, Charles Dickens, criticizes the social structures at play in the Victorian Era as Pip changes his personality and beliefs to conform to high society. In Great Expectations, Pip unexpectedly enters a life of luxury and its benefits. He discovers that wealth and status do not equal happiness. Pip notices his sudden change in his beliefs when he suddenly wants to abandon all he has ever known in his life and break off from close childhood friends like Joe. Magwitch servers as a mentor who helps revert Pip back to his original self and views. Social class negatively affects personality and beliefs as Estella changes
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She criticizes others, she is beautiful, and is not concerned about anyone besides herself. Pip’s attraction stems from his newfound desire for wealth, which causing him to lust over Estella. Estella does not represent true love, she represents desire and greed. Pip’s innocent morality changes as he becomes more interested in money and looking the part of a gentlemen, which causes him to change his outward appearance. Pip’s outward changes also reflect how he is changing on the inside. His inner change occurs as Pip transitions from a moral, innocent character, to someone who is more concerned with wealth and status. Pip becomes unhealthily attached and devoted to Estella. He describes his attraction by saying, “She had taken strong possession of me...my fancy and my hope were so set upon her...her influence on my boyish life and character had been all-powerful” (Dickens 285-286). Pip instantly is drawn to Estella and is willing to do whatever she says because he admires her so. This proves to be Pip’s downfall in the novel. Charles Dickens demonstrates how Estella treats Pip as an object and neglects him as a person. Estella has ultimate power over Pip because she can easily manipulate and exploit Pip. Because of her high social class, Estella believes she can own anything, including Pip. Author Eiichi Hara describes this effect saying, “By virtue of her beauty, she has power, irresistible authority over him” …show more content…
By following the lifestyle of the upper class displayed by Estella, Pip distances himself and denies the values from which he was raised. Furthermore, their differing social classes put a barrier between Pip and Joe, and hurt their friendship as a result. Pip’s sudden change in ideals pushes them apart, separating their once close relationship. Magwitch displays morality and becomes a mentor in Pip’s life as he struggles to figure out his true identity. Through Magwitch and his influence, Pip realizes the negative impact of Estella, and how she changed his life for the worse. Pip discovers that Joe and Magwitch are his true friends because they love and accept him for his personality and not his wealth. Pip’s ‘great expectations’ seem to be his downfall as he believes he is destined for a greater life, but ends up lost and a changed person. Dickens effectively shows how the Victorian era values corrupted people by showing the changes in Pip. Dickens suggests that the people changed in similar ways during the victorian era. Overall, throughout his journey through the social classes, Pip gains the knowledge that wealth does not equal

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