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"Great Expectations". Essay

1197 words - 5 pages

Throughout society, many people always think they want something, yet they truly do not. There is always a constant struggle within oneself to remain true. William Shakespeare has said, "To thine own self be true." This quote ultimately says that people should be who they are and nothing else. In Charles Dickens' novel Great Expectations, he agrees with this quote. One of Dickens' major themes is that one should only be who they are. Through the use of literary elements such as characterization and plot, this theme is apparent. Through the characterization of Pip, one can see the contrasts of his happiness throughout his journey. This relates to when he is himself, and when he is no longer who he really is.Throughout Great Expectations, the characterization of Pip varies greatly as the plot progresses. In the beginning of Volume One, Pip is young and without his property. On page 50, Dickens writes, "I believe that I dated a new admiration of Joe from that night. We were equals afterwards, as we had been before... I was looking up to Joe in my heart." With this quote, one can see many things. Pip is characterized loyal andas having much admiration for Joe. With the direct phrase of "looking up to Joe in my heart," one can see how much Joe means to Pip. There is mention of them being equals and a huge sense of happiness. It can properly be interpreted that Pip is characterized as being happy, with the keywords of "admiration" and "heart". However, when Pip's life starts to change regarding social status, he himself changes as well. On page 63, it is written, "As I cried, I kicked the wall, and took a hard twist at my hair; so bitter were my feelings.." This quote displays Pip's discontent after being invited to Satis House. With the introduction of Estella and Pip's desire of her, he becomes unhappy. His unhappiness is directly shown in the above quote with his crying. Overall, Pip goes from happy to unhappy because of his desires to better himself and not be happy with who he is.In Volume Two, Pip has moved to London and has acquired property. "The fashion of his dress could no more come in its way," is written about Joe on page 224. It is shown here how Pip is being characterized as a snob with him looking down upon Joe only because of his appearance. This is also an example of Pip being untrue to himself, denying his past and Joe's position in it. With the beginning of Volume One, Pip has such great admiration for Joe. Yet now he is degrading him because of his clothes. On page 237, it is written, " 'And necessarily,' she added, in a haughty tone; 'what was fit company for you once, would be quite unfit company for you now.' In my conscience, I doubt very much whether I had any lingering intention left, of going to see Joe but if I had, this observation put it to flight." In this quote, Estella is talking down upon Pip's previous status by saying he is no longer fit for it. She urges him on to forget his past, as he agrees to do with dismissing...

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