Self Actualization In "Great Expectations" By Charles Dickens

822 words - 3 pages

The ideal state of mind that a person can achieve is called self actualization or to become fully human. Charles Dickens' Great Expectations told the story of how a boy named Pip worked to achieved this. More specifically, Dickens wrote how Pip learning from his experiences was able to put external factors, like social class, aside, and discover his own potential. Only after this discovery did Pip gain true independence and was able to accept himself with all his faults, including his social class.It was Pip's ideas of social class seen in his early life that restricts him from accepting himself. Pip as a child first learned of social class from Estella. Pip's first experience of feeling lower appeared in the first scene with Estella; where Estella had insulted him and Pip was deeply affected:I had never thought of being ashamed of my hands before; but I began to consider them a very indifferent pair. Her contempt for me was so strong that it became infectious, and I caught it.(p.55).This passage was a good example of Pip being ashamed of his social class and because of this had not been able to like himself. Pip eventually developed a fixed idea of social class and could not be satisfied as he was. This lead to his great desire of becoming a gentleman:Well, then, understand once and for all that I never shall or can be comfortable - or anything but miserable - there Biddy! - unless I can lead a very different sort of life from the life I lead now.(p.120)This referred to Pip's inability to accept being who he was born as, and because he could not do this he could not be content with himself.Dickens writes that it was through Pip's experiences that he frees himself from the idea of social class, and it was social class which caused his judgement of others. Pip's progressive growth of being able to see past social class was true in his experience with Provis. Pip first thought of Provis with disgust:The abhorrence in which I held the man, the dread I had of him, the repugnance with which I shrank from him could not have been exceeded if he had been some terrible beast.(p. 298)This quote shows how much Pip disliked Provis even though he didn't know him. Pip later sees Provis differently:For now my repugnance to him had all...

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