Charles Dickens’ "Great Expectations": Unimportance Of Social Class

The novel “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens, portrays the life of a young boy named Phillip Pirrip, or “Pip”. From birth, Pip is born into a lower class and goes under the care of his only living sibling, Mrs. Joe Gargery and her blacksmith Husband, Joe Gargery. Pip starts as a blacksmith and then is granted the ability of becoming a gentleman from an unknown benefactor. As Pip continues to grow and develop his gentleman status in the novel, he realizes the profound impact his journey of becoming a gentleman has done to himself and his connections with his close ones. With Pip’s main goal of becoming a gentleman, he realizes the unimportance of social class, and that true compassion hold more value than social status.

Pip begins to see this change of his own character, and the effects his own work has caused others in this quote. “As i had grown accustomed to my expectations, i had insensibly begun to notice their effect upon myself and those around me. . . if i had not seen Miss Havisham’s face, and had risen to manhood content to be partners with Joe”. This quote can be interpreted to mean that Pip realizes that his expectations are not as great as he wanted them to be. Pip even begins to regret his ascend of social class, even though climbing the social ladder was his idealistic goal, it expresses his deep guilt and regret of his treatment of Joe. He sees that he has turned into a person who cares more about his own future rather than caring for others around him who helped him get to that position, such as Joe, and Biddy.

Additionally, Pip overcomes the idea of rising social hierarchy, and opens up to reveal his true compassion when he sees what his avaricious need to climb the social ladder has done. “Thank’ee, dear boy, thank’ee. God bless you! You’ve never deserted me dear boy. . . I pressed his hands in silence for i could not forget that i had once meant to desert him”. In this quote, Pip sees how his rise to social class corrupted his mind. He meant to desert his benefactor because he was horrified of his social status. He begins to understand throughout his growth of a young boy to gentleman of what to hold value to in your life. That being there for someone during their time of need whether the social standing of the person. Even someone of the lower class can invest in your future and not only the upper class. Pip begins to realize that social class is superficial, and inner kindness fabricates your status.

The ascending of the social hierarchy has demonstrated what comes with such high class. Wealth, and power with the cost of loss of true care. Pip begins to realize this drastic change of character within him, noticing his behavior towards other and impact on himself. Though his views begin to transform as his eyes open during his time with Magwitch, he truly begins to see social image or status, does not matter, but only what you give value to in your heart.

10 October 2020
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