Unexpected Expectations In Charles Dickens’ Novel "Great Expectations"

684 words - 3 pages

The expectations others have for those around them play a large part in how they live their lives. One boy’s life is turned around completely by others’ expectations in Charles Dickens’ novel Great Expectations. This boy, named Pip, far exceeds his own expectations for his life when given the opportunity to rise from a lowly blacksmith’s apprentice to a gentleman and raise his place in society. Through this, the theme of expectation is shown as Pip’s future begins to change for the better; and the significance of the roles that Joe, Estella, and Magwitch have in impacting Pip’s circumstances. As a result of these differences in expectations, the course of Pip’s life is altered.
The first person to influence Pip is Joe, Pip’s brother-in-law who, along with Pip’s sister, raised him “by hand” (6). Joe helps make life more bearable for Pip through his comforting words and actions. Pip remarks, “Joe always aided and comforted me when he could, in some way of his own, and he always did so at dinner-time by giving me gravy, if there were any” (21). Joe always does what is best for Pip so, when Miss Havisham indentures Pip to Joe as a blacksmith’s apprentice, Joe’s expectations for Pip’s future are inadvertently met. However, upon meeting the aloof Estella, Pip’s expectation changes as rising to the status of gentleman becomes more important than Joe’s dream for Pip to shape into a good blacksmith.
Another character who plays a part in Pip’s changing expectations is Estella, who is described as being “beautiful and self-possessed; and she was scornful of me as if she had been one-and-twenty, and a queen” (46). He states, after being indentured, “Once, it had seemed to me that when I should at last roll up my shirt-sleeves and go into the forge, Joe’s ‘prentice, I should be distinguished and happy. Now the reality was in my hold, I only felt that I was dusty with the dust of small coal, and that I had a weight upon my daily...

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