Great Expectations, authored by Victorian novelist Charles Dickens, is considered one of his finest works of literature. It was indicative of Dickens’s strong feelings for injustices and poor conditions committed on women and children of that time. Through the main character, Pip, Dickens’s demonstrated the compassion he felt for children. Most readers, like myself, are able to associate Pip’s experiences with their own. Pip endeavored upon many things that I can see myself doing. From the beginning of the novel Pip had felt an impending feeling of guilt.
It s a common theme in Great Expectations and is one that I have felt numerous times before. In one instance, my friends and I were at a party playing with a water balloon launcher shooting balloons down the street. My neighbors had just put in a new set of porch windows that were quite expensive. With a slight aiming misalignment we broke a window and had to confess to my neighbor and give her our apologies. Pip, however, had the guilt weighed on his conscience forever-he did not have the courage to tell Mrs. Joe that he had taken a pork pie that was for Christmas dinner.
Mrs. Joe only made it harder for Pip when she asked, “And were the deuce ha’ you been? ” (page 20). Pip had to make a moral judgment about whether or not to tell the truth about what he did and is challenged with many more of these decisions throughout the book. Pip was later introduced to Estella, Ms. Havisham’s adopted daughter, whom was taught to pursue retribution on all of the male population for her “mother”. Pip became easily infatuated with Estella’s good looks, money, and attitude. Estella considered Pip to be common and pointed out the ways when she said, “He alls the knaves, jacks, this boy!
And what coarse hands he has! And what thick boots! ” (page 55). Pip once again has the feeling of guilt, this time for just being a common laborer and the humility of his background. I have felt intimidated just as Pip was. It is extremely uncomfortable to be around someone who arrogantly shows that they are of a “higher class” than you. In my own experience some adults speak condescendingly to teenagers and it causes me to feel like less of a person just like Pip did. Pip has also felt extreme amounts of stress throughout the novel.
Everyone is always encouraging him to satisfy his “great expectations”. I have been pressured in a comparable way in early schooling when I was accepted to the D. E. E. P. program in 4th grade. I was asked to change schools and friends to be in a more advanced class-there was a lot of pressure on me to succeed in that class. Pip and I both managed to make it through, but, it wasn’t easy. I have felt sometimes that I was better than another person and have “made fun” of them. Pip has not really made fun of anyone but he has discarded the people hat care about him most; Joe and Biddy.
He left them for money and success and did not even glance back to look at them. I have realized that I would not want that happen to me so now I treat people with the same respect that I did before no matter if I get better or not. Pip, in later chapters, understood this when Magwitch revealed that he was his benefactor. Pip immediately was embarrassed and ashamed that he had left Joe and Biddy for a defiled convict that he stole from them for. Pip’s life and my life show much resemblance while yet they are so contrasted.
If I would have gotten the Great Expectations and was in Pip’s shoes Joe and Biddy would have came along with me. I respect things that are given to me more than Pip did. Dickens’s expresses his sorrow he feels for children like Pip but then has Pip turn around and be ungrateful for his great expectations. Mr. Jaggers tells us about them when he says, “Now, I return to this young fellow. And the communication I have got to make is that he has great expectations. ” (page 129). Pip just did not realize what he was getting into when he found out about his great expectations.