Great Expectations Essay
Essay Task: Read Great Expectations by Charles Dickens and write an essay in which you describe the conflicts faced by Pip and the author's attitude toward English society.
Hailed by many as his greatest novel, Charles Dickens' Great Expectations is a self-narrated story which tells the life of an orphan named Pip, raised by his abusive sister, who leaves behind a childhood of misery and poverty to embark on a journey to become a gentleman after an unnamed benefactor gives him a large amount of money. During his quest to become more educated and less "common", Pip is engulfed by greed, guilt, snobbery, and pride, all of which leads to his final realization that wealth and status does not bring true happiness. Along the way, Dickens becomes a cynical observer of human life, humorously satirizing various aspects of society. Pip's hardships and adventures, along with Dickens' witty descriptions, make Great Expectations his most widely acclaimed novel to this day.
Early on in his life, Pip is faced with his many struggles at home. Orphaned while still an infant, Pip never knew his parents and thus refers to them as their names appear on their tombstones, calling his father Philip Pirrip, late of this parish, and his mother Georgiana, wife of the above. His sister, Mrs. Joe, the only living family member he had left at the time, was twenty years older than him and raised him up as a child. However, Pip's sister is abusive and a control freak. She frequently beats Pip with the "Tickler", a stick, an obvious misnomer given by Dickens for humorous purposes. Besides Pip, she is also very hostile to her husband, Joe Gargery, an honest and righteous blacksmith who love Pip unconditionally and is the only positive in Pip's life. Furthermore, Mrs. Joe, along with other relatives and friends, constantly remind Pip how she has suffered for him and how grateful he should be, making him feel guilty for his very existence. The memories of this mistreatment by Mrs. Joe contribute to Pip's eagerness to leave her later on in his life.
When Mr. Pumblechook, Joe's uncle, introduces Pip to go play with the adopted daughter of Miss Havisham, a rich old lady living in the town, Pip finds the daughter, Estella, very beautiful and attractive. However, she is proud and haughty, openly mocking him, saying that his hands are rough and he is too common. This makes Pip feel awful and depressed, but as he is urged by Miss Havisham to love Estella with all his heart no matter how he is treated, Pip becomes obsessed and is determined to better himself to win Estella's heart. His resolve in this matter reveals his underlying snobbery, something Pip will exhibit for the rest of his life, as he begins to blame Joe, the one and only person for whom he has had any respect, for not being more educated himself and therefore raising him to be just as uneducated and unrefined....