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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Pip's Unchanged Characteristic's in Great Expectations

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At the beginning of the novel, Great Expectations, Pip was a young kid who did not know how to read the names on his parent’s tombstones. He was scared by a convict and believed that he would eat his liver if he did not do certain favors for him�retrieve food and a file. In the end, Pip is a grown man, and has matured a lot over the course of the novel. He started off poor, and then he received a vast sum of money from a benefactor. When Pip first met Estella he was a young boy who was intimated by her, but by the end of the book they are friends. Even though many of Pip’s characteristic’s changed overtime some stayed with him nightmares, feeling of guilt and innocence, and love for Estella.


When Pip is young he does not know much about the world. He cannot read or write. The first scene of the book, Pip is in the graveyard looking at his mother and father’s tombstones and he cannot read the words that appear on them. The first feature that Pip had when he was young, and that he continues to have in his older years are nightmares. When Pip sees the man in the pub that aims in invincible gun at him, and then stirs a drink with the file Pip gave Magwitch, Pip is frightened and has a nightmare of this occurrence. He narrates


I had sadly broken sleep when I got to bed, through the thinking of the strange man taking aim at me with his invisible gun, and of the guiltily coarse and common thing it was, to be on secret terms with convicts…I was haunted by the file too. A dread possessed me that when I least expected it, the file would reappear. I coaxed myself to sleep by thinking of Miss Havisham’s, next Wednesday; and in my sleep I saw the file coming at me out of a door, without seeing who held it, and I screamed myself awake. (7)


This shows that Pip is scared by the man and the file, who pointed the invisible gun at him. He also thought he was going to get in trouble with the law for helping a convict. Pip still feels this way towards the end of the novel. After Miss Havisham burnt in the fire, and Pip burnt as well, from saving her, he had a nightmare of Miss Havisham running at him. Pip says, “If I dozed off for a minute, I was awakened by Miss Havisham’s cries, and by her running at me with all that height of fire above her head” (404). This conveys that Pip was having nightmares of the incident just like he had nightmares when he was a young boy. So, Pip never changed and he continues to have nightmares even when he is older. Another thing similar to Pip having nightmares is that he sees the white ghost, which is Miss. Havisham. He sees this ghost the first time he leaves Miss Havisham’s house. Pip says


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And I saw a figure hanging there by the neck. A figure all in yellow white, with but one shoe to the feet; and it hung so, that I could see that the faded trimmings of the dress were like earthy paper, and that the face was Miss Havisham’s, with a movement going over the whole countenance as if she was trying to call me. (64)


This is when Pip was younger but he also sees her again when he goes back to visit her before she is burned. Pip articulates, “A childish association revived with wonderful force in the moment of the slight action, and I fancied that I saw Miss Havisham hanging to the beam” (401). So even though Pip has changed some much this childhood, innocent, image is still with him and he has not forgotten about it.


Throughout the novel Pip is guilty and innocent. When Pip helps his convict, Magwitch, by sneaking him a file and food Pip feels extremely guilty. Page 17 shows how Pip is guilty. This incident is before the convict is caught; Pip is imagining that everyone is out to get him and that they are chasing him because he stole the pie. When the convict is caught and Pip is there with the search party, Pip feels guilty that he does not receive and punishment because the convict gets him out of it. After they catch Magwitch, Pip feels as if he should get in trouble for helping a convict. Nothing happens to Pip so he feels a feeling of guilt. Pip is also scared that Joe will eventually find out what is happening to him


That, if Joe knew it, and at any subsequent period of our joint domestic life remarked that his beer was flat or thick, the conviction that he suspected Tar in it, would bring a rush of blood to my face. In a word, I was too cowardly to do what I knew be right, as I had been too cowardly to avoid doing what I knew to be wrong. (41)


This shows that Pip does not want Joe to find out what he did, but in a way he does too. He is scared of both possibilities because he is extremely guilty because he is not in trouble, and at the same time he does not want Mrs. Joe and Joe to find out because Mrs. Joe will probably smack him. Pip’s social class changes after Pip receives a large sum of money from a secret benefactor. Pip believes that he is better than Joe and everyone else from Kent. Joe visits Pip in London and Joe gives Pip a long speech how Joe and London don’t work together and it’s not where Joe belongs. Joe leaves and Pip says to himself


The fashion of his dress could no more come in its way when he spoke these words, than it could come in its way in Heaven. He touched me gently on the forehead, and went on. As soon as I could recover myself sufficiently, I hurried out after him and looked for him in the neighbouring streets; but he was gone. (4-5)


After Joe gives his speech Pip is emotionally upset and he is stuck on what to do. Joe was one of his best friends and now they are not anymore because Pip left him and forgot about him.


When Pip sees Estella for the first time he is stunned by her elegant beauty. When Pip meets her for the first time he is in love. He feels so bad and embarrassed when Estella ridicules him. At the end of chapter 8, Pip says, “I was a common labouring-boy; that my hands were coarse, that my boots were thick; that I had fallen into despicable habit of calling knaves Jacks” (65). Pip’s love for Estella continues throughout the novel. Pip draws his own conclusion that Miss Havisham is his secret benefactor and that she is because she wants him and Estella to get married. This conclusion is wrong and Pip finds this out later. Pip goes to Estella and Miss Havisham and professes his love to her. Pip and Estella strike up a conversation about Drummle the man Estella has been with and Pip says, “You would never marry him, Estella?” (6). Estella replies, “Why not tell you the truth? I am going to be married to him” (6). As we have talked about in class, this is the climax of the novel because this is when Pips heart breaks. He still has love for Estella the rest of the novel, and Estella and Pip meet up again in the last chapter of Great Expectations�it has been eleven years. Estella and Drummle’s marriage did not work out and Drummel died. In the end, Pip and Estella walk of hand in hand just as friends.


The three traits I have explained to you are all closely related. Some of the incidents in the story can be thought of as depicting Pip’s nightmares, guilt or innocence, and love for Estella. These the traits of Pip’s character show us that he really never changed when he received the money. His social class changed, but he never grew up to become and adult because he was always given money, and never really earned it by himself. I think that after Magwitch’s death Pip became more of a man because then he had to make a living on his own. Because Pip always kept these three traits I think that it means that Pip always had a part of Kent in his heart, and he never forgot about it even though it seemed he did.





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