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Money Cannot Guarantee Happiness Essay

755 words - 4 pages

As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Money has never made man happy, nor will it, there is nothing in its nature to produce happiness.” This quote epitomizes one of the themes of Charles Dickens’s classic work of fiction, Great Expectations. Great Expectations tells the story of Philip Pirrip, more commonly known as Pip. Pip’s good fortune causes him to set great expectations for his life; however, he believes that these expectations will be fulfilled with little effort on his behalf. Over time, Pip comes to realize that the wealth that comes from being a gentleman will not bring him joy. Through characterization, imagery, and symbolism, Dickens relays that wealth does not always guarantee happiness.
Characterization is the first element of fiction Dickens uses in his writing to convey his theme that money does not lead to happiness. Although Bentley Drummle plays a minor role in Great Expectations, his character is an excellent example of Dickens’s main theme. Mr. Jaggers refers to Drummle as “the spider,” describing him as a “blotchy, sprawl, sulky fellow” (223). Even though Drummle is a member of the upper-class, he is cruel and dissatisfied; thus he is given the nickname “the spider.” Additionally, Mr. Jaggers, an affluent lawyer, is depicted to be sorrowful. Pip describes Mr. Jaggers to have “disagreeably sharp and suspicious” eyes (86). As a lawyer, Mr. Jaggers accumulates a great deal of money; however, he is quite disagreeable, proving that money does not make one happy. In addition, Joe is a happy man even though his social status and income are low. Joe tells Pip that he is “wrong out of the forge” (236). This shows that Joe is content with his place in society, and he does not need money to make him happy. Overall, Dickens masterfully uses his skill of characterization to help illustrate his themes.
Furthermore, Dickens utilizes imagery to help convey the theme that wealth does not guarantee pleasure. When Pip first arrives in England, he is disappointed in what he sees. Dickens writes, “while I was scared by the immensity of London, I think I might have had some faint doubts whether it was not rather ugly, crooked, narrow, and dirty” (170). London consists of people who are richer than the people in Pip’s...

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