Summary Of Pip's Great Expectations

Superior Essays
Joseph Gold explains that Pip’s first awareness of “the identity of things” in the graveyard on Christmas Eve is an outstanding English illustration “of the most ancient questions, ‘who am I?’ and ‘why am I here?’” (242). In Pip’s search for a meaningful identity, Dickens has incorporated the desire of all humanity to understand its existence and find a place in the world. Because Dickens allows Pip’s story to be narrated by an older, and wiser Pip, Gold states that Pip becomes the person he is as a result of telling his story, for in order to recount the history of his life, Pip is forced to come to terms with his past (244). Pip’s past does not make him who he is, but is a significantly influential factor. Acknowledging his past mistakes …show more content…
Hillis Miller writes that Pip “is characterized by desire rather than possession. His spiritual state is one of an expectation founded on a present consciousness of lack, of deprivation. In many fairy tales, the disadvantaged protagonist generally elicits sympathy from the reader due to the lack of parents, love, acceptance, or power in his life. Made to believe by his abusive society that he is an inherently worthless person, Pip would rather be defined by what he lacks than by what he has. Miller explains that as a result of his obsession with the haughty and wealthy Estella, Pip’s “essence is defined entirely by negations (he lacks the education, language, manners, and fine clothes of a gentleman…), but even a definition in terms of what he is not is better than no definition at all” (266). Yet when Magwitch appears and shatters the façade of gentlemanly education, language, and manners, Pip’s identity is re-formed as he is forced to come to terms with who he actually is and what he has become, not who he hopes to …show more content…
Robert Strange states, “Pip himself renounces his childhood by coming to accept the false social values of middle-class society” (116). Great Expectations contains tremendous irony in its critique of unrealistic and harmful social expectations. Dickens’ title seems deliberately ironic: it seems entirely appropriate that an upside-down fairy-turned-realistic tale should possess a paradoxical title that points to the social issue that the author is attempting to turn inside-out through critical analysis. Certainly, though, most of Dickens’ books involve happy expectations and end happily, and Great Expectations is a notable exception, for even if one accepts the second ending as involving a permanent union of Pip and Estella, both characters have been so scarred and broken throughout the course of the novel that one might seriously wonder if either will ever be truly happy in his or her

Related Documents

  • Great Essays

    Lott is expressing his feeling of anger by exploring the nature of what he didn’t like about his lover. He claims her negative qualities, but leaves her better qualities untouched, when he had previously raved about them. Next, instead of being angry at her, he is angry at himself. This is presented in sonnet LIX: “Queen of the rosy cheek! weak men possesses/The truest source of early joy in thee;/Yet leaves thine arms to seek the wild excesses/Of folly, fashion, and debauchery.…

    • 1027 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    On tell me I may sponge away the writing on this stone!’” (Dickens 62). Finally, Scrooge feels the Christmas Spirit again after each of the Phantoms have come and changed him little by little. The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come has inspired him to have more Christmas Spirit and to express it through his words and…

    • 1034 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Madam Defarge is meant to be seen as nosey and unattractive, asking men about their nonexistent feelings can be seen as endearing in cute women like Lucie, who offers men “inquiring looks”, but Defarge is supposed to be ugly and not charming. [Analysis] Even the way that Dickens announces the married couple shows her being in power! It almost always is "Madam Defarge and Monsieur her husband. . .…

    • 1007 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    (Shakespeare I.iv) This evidently causes Goneril to be enraged at his actions, and plot against his capacity. Lear admits to his poor ruling abilities as he states “Oh, I have ta 'en / Too little care of this!” (Shakespeare III.iv.32-33) Although he admits to his failure, it further shows that he is unable to rule effectively, as he can not consider the positions of other people until he is physically put into the situation himself, with this situation being homelessness. Although Lear is evidently unfit to preside his power due to his masculine attitude, his superior daughter, Cordelia displays irreconcilable actions, which make her able to manage her power…

    • 1909 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In Henirk Ibsen’s play, “A Doll’s House”, Torvald Helmer’s self-perpetuated illusion about his superiority and authority over Nora Helmer is a decessive factor in her abandonment of him and their children. Torvald’s perception of being successful, without the need of anyone’s help, stems from his abundance of pride and the societal norms of Victorian culture. This surplus of pride carried by Torvald, as well as the Victorian era’s overall lack of respect for women, influences him to see Nora as a powerless “plaything”. His inability to see her as an equal due to his incredulous need to regard himself so highly puts a stake through their relationship, illuminating the importance of realizing the worth and value of those around oneself. Throughout the novel, Torvald displays a sort of arrogance, allowing his pride to consume him, leaving him to believe his success is entirely his own doing.…

    • 717 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Scott Fitzgerald has a theme of illusion where the reality of things is marred and nothing is really what it seems. Gatsby one of the main characters is truly an illusion in his entirety because the person he presents himself as is not who he really is and the only time he is true to himself is when he is with Daisy Buchanan. It 's evident in his change of name, the change of his persona and the accumulation of his wealth all this is fabricated to make him greater than he is but the one person who reverts him back to poor old James Gatz is Daisy because she exposes his…

    • 1242 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    The cliche that money cannot buy one happiness clearly applies to The Great Gatsby because its primary focus is showing the upper class of American society in the 1920’s as unhappy. The essence of this book looks into the lives of these seemingly blissful people and concludes that their constant pursuit of pleasure denies them joy. The constant pursuit of pleasurable gain portrayed by Fitzgerald cannot result in gratification because there is no ultimate pleasure; it is just a fruitless chase that leaves the participant feeling empty. This perspective accompanied by the novel 's utilization of the desires of Jay Gatsby, motifs, and symbols reveals the theme that pleasure is an illusion of happiness. Fitzgerald’s portrayal of Gatsby’s wishes…

    • 1214 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Great Essays

    The barrier between Kafka and his family is recreated in his novella. Possibly because of their low self-esteem, Gregor and Kafka struggle to develop relationships with women, and Kafka’s hardships as a minority appear again through Gregor’s experiences. All of these comparisons between Kafka’s life and his works of fiction can be attributed to Kafka’s perception of his value as a human being. His family made him feel needed only when he was working. Kafka despised his own appearance and was extremely self-critical, even when his books received praise from other esteemed authors.…

    • 1528 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The Great Gatsby Bad

    • 2335 Words
    • 10 Pages

    Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is not as great as he is perceived to be because of his corruption, affair, and lies. Gatsby reveals that a man who could be generally liked by most people can have a dark story inside. The whole aura of Gatsby is told as his insatiable love for Daisy being prominent, when in reality he is completely obsessed with her and it leads him to become less involved with Daisy’s life than his own. According to Roulston, Gatsby “perceives ‘the unreality of reality’” by never realizing that he cannot be with Daisy (Roulston 1). He does not see reality in his life which leads him to his downfall.…

    • 2335 Words
    • 10 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    First, on the topic of love: Lear’s ignorance of himself results to the tragedy; both Harold Bloom and Stanley Cavell have argued that because of his love to Cordelia, whether an overflowing or avoiding kind, that he fails to keep himself upright. Whether it is a kind of love of overwhelming affection Cavell suggests, or the general love Bloom refers to, what matters is that he lacks self-knowledge of his own love. Epictetus, the stoic, has a moral story about the consequence of it, which is mentioned in Foucault’s lecture: there is a father runs away from his ill daughter because he is too upset by the condition of his daughter that he cannot bear the sight of her illness. Epictetus criticizes this attitude because the father forgets to follow the nature of family bond, but has too much affection towards his daughter as to forget recognizing himself as a father in the social frame. In Lear’s case, plot goes another way but much the same in depth: Lear is upset by Cordelia for he cannot bear her silence and rudeness; her refusal to express love in public hurts him.…

    • 917 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays