In Great Expectations,Pip, the main character, had a wish of becoming a gentleman to impress Estella , his first love. Which was then granted by a mysterious benefactor, who later on turns out to be Magwitch , the criminal Pip helps in the cemetery. Once the thrills of his new lavish, high cost lifestyle wears off, Pip realizes he made the wrong decision. Charles Dickens shows how class standings determined things such as the access to education and how a person was treated. The character can either let social class define them or not. Joe and Magwitch were affected by their social class in the novel, but they did not let their class define them. However, Pip, at times let the social structure control him, until he figured out that “ money doesn't buy happiness.”
Magwitch had grown up going in and out of jail. Due to how low he was on the social ladder, he had no real opportunities of bettering himself and being able to live an honest life.“ They always went on agen me about the Devil. But what the devil was I to do? I must put something into my stomach, mustn't I .” [ Dickens 435 ] Being of low social status, he was not given the same rights or treatment as someone of a higher class, such as Compeyson, who received a second chance. While Magwitch was sentenced a life in prison. When both were in trouble for counterfeiting. Magwitch felt that the class structure had made him who he was. He then made a pact with himself that he would create a gentleman, as a way to get back at the upper class, who controls the structure of England. Magwitch may seem fearsome and rough, but he earned all his money and then gave all of it away to a boy who he calls a son. He shows that despite his rough life, he is a very compassionate person, which enforces that money and social class can not change the true character of a person.
Joe Gargery was also brought up by an alcoholic and abusive father, and could have turned out like Magwitch if he reacted to his hard life. Instead, Joe vowed to himself that he would be a better father than his own. “ But if you think as money can make compensation to me for the loss of the little child…” [ Dickens 178 ] Joe loves Pip as if he was his own son, and in the novel, he is one of the only people who was always by Pip’s side , even when Pip was pushing him away. He is the character in the novel, who is closest to perfect . But, due to his low placement on England's social pyramid, Joe does not have any education and he is “ rough around the edges.” In the quote above, Joe refuses the money to compensate for Pip. Jaggers offers the money because he puts a price on everything, while Joe does not see everything with a tangible cost [money]. Showing the difference in classes, people with more money may see the world with a price sign hanging off of it, while someone of lower social standings , may see the cost of things on a deeper emotional level .
Pip wanted to become a gentleman only to be able to woo Estella,...