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Great Expectations Essay

1902 words - 8 pages

Charles Dickens has left the revised ending of Great Expectations open to interpretation by the individual reader. In contrast to the original ending the reader is able to respond to the novel and decide for themselves the fate of Pip and Estella. Both characters have endured and struggled against cruelty and shame. They have also bestowed on others the same heartlessness. These dejections provided lessons which could be learnt from. The novels ending has brought Pip and Estella full circle back to the place of their first encounter. This scene shows the reader how both characters have emerged to make their own decisions about their future. No longer the puppets of others Pip and Estella are able to create new expectations built from past experiences.Great Expectations is a coming of age story. The narrative follows Pips moral development from a young boy to a young man. We see how his encounters with different acquaintances have contributed to the shaping of his identity. The narrative also gives us insight into Estella and how her identity was shaped under the control of her adopted mother Miss Havisham. It is Pip's association with Miss Havisham and Estella that leads him to his dissatisfaction with what he later realises to be a near perfect existence.In the first volume of the novel we are introduced to Pip the orphan boy, brought up by his wicked sister and her kind loving husband Joe, the village blacksmith. His sister treats him very badly and makes him feel guilty for being a burden on her, 'I was always treated as if I had insisted on being born...' (It is through his guilt that he can be manipulated into doing anything necessary to please her. His sister sent him off to Miss Havisham's to be Estella's playmate and on his return expected a full report on the activities inside Satis House. Pip knew she would not be happy with the truth and he would be punished for it, so he gave her a more agreeable story. Mrs Joe mistreats Pip terribly. He is a victim and we sympathise with him for this reason.Pip is filled with guilt throughout the novel. One Christmas Eve whilst walking through the marshes Pip encounters an escaped convict who threatens him into bringing him food and a file to break his leg irons. To accomplish this he had to steel from his sister and her husband. Pip later regrets it and is so overcome by guilt that he apologised to a cow, 'I couldn't help it sir!' Morally at this point Pip is more concerned with getting caught and being punished than he is in seeing anything wrong with what he had done.Pip is a victim of manipulation. He is led into an association with Miss Havisham by his sister and Uncle Pumblechook in the hope that she will make Pip a gentleman and marry him to Estella. However, Miss Havisham only scoffs at his "coarse hands" and "country ways" and laughs at him for calling Knaves, Jacks. She has him play cards and other games with Estella, when in actual fact he is being played with himself. She plans for Pip to...

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