Definition Of A True Gentleman In Great Expectations By Charles Dickens

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British author Charles Dickens emphasizes gentility and what being a true gentleman entails in his novel, Great Expectations. It is clear from the first introduction of the topic that Pip’s definition of being a gentleman is staggeringly different from the definition Dickens implied. Charles Dickens defines true gentility not by the amount of money to one’s name, or the amount (or lack of) education one has received- but by one 's true character. True character consists of the way you treat others, and the decisions you make. Ultimately, it is what standards you set for yourself-- a moral code. As Pip matures throughout the novel, he slowly recognizes the meaning of true gentility. Pip also begins to recognize who around him embodies such …show more content…
Dickens always looked at society from the outside, and therefore had a better perspective than young Pip. When Pip begins to climb up in social rankings, he begins to feel embarrassed by his best friend, Joe Gargary. Pip even suggests that Joe refine his manners, when Joe visited him in London, and embarrassed Pip in front of Miss Havisham. Joe stayed true to who he was, and acted as a true man of gentility would. During Pip’s quest for gentility, Dickens uses him to show everything that is wrong with Victorian Era gentility. The terms “wealthy” and “gentleman-like” are not interchangeable. Joe Gargary, Pip’s brother-in-law and best friend, is a perfect example of that. While Joe is certainly not wealthy, his fine character attributes perfectly embody what it means to be a true gentleman. Pip describes Joe as “A mild, good-natured, sweet-tempered, easy-going, foolish, dear fellow - a sort of Hercules in strength, and also in …show more content…
His kindness and guidance to young Pip as he attempted to adjust to life in London are proof. Herbert is also a perfect gentleman for his soon to be wife Clara, just as Pip strives to be a perfect gentleman for Estella. Herbert embodies Charles Dickens definition of true gentility perfectly. When Wemmick had introduced the two, Pip slowly pieced together memories of whom he had just met: “I beg your pardon; you’re holding the fruit all this time. Pray, let me take these bags from you, I am quite ashamed.” As I stood opposite to Mr. Pocket, Junior, delivering him the bags, one, two, I saw the starting appearance come into his own eyes that I knew to be in mine, and he said falling back: “Lord bless me, you’re the prowling boy!” “And you”, said I, “are the pale young gentleman!”
Herbert was the young man Pip had fought (and beaten) in the garden at the Satis House, back when he visited Miss Havisham and Estella Frequently! It was only when Herbert was dressed nicely could Pip recognize and label him as a man of gentility, but in reality, he had always been the kind man he was at that moment. Although it was hard for Pip to see, Herbert’s manner (with holding the fruit) is what made him a genuinely true gentleman, and not the way he

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