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Great Expectations - How successful do you think Pip is in his quest to become a gentleman? What does Pip learn from his adventures?

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How successful do you think Pip is in his quest to become a gentleman? What does Pip learn from his adventures? To determine how successful Pip is as a gentleman, we must firstly define what a gentleman is. A gentleman can either be socially successful, or morally successful. During his expectations, Pip changes and does many things that make him successful, and others that make him less successful as a gentleman, both morally and socially. Pip's Expectations are started when he first meets Estella, the adopted daughter of Miss Havisham when Pip is a young boy. He immediately becomes attracted to Estella's charms and good looks. She does not return this admiration; she calls Pip 'coarse and common'. In Chapter Seventeen, Pip tells Biddy that he wants to become a gentleman for Estella's sake. His expectations here are not primarily social, they are romantic. As Pip's motives for being a gentleman are romance, rather than social or moral standings, we can see that to start with, Pip has got his priorities wrong, which later on will not help him to be successful Before Pip leaves his hometown, he has already become a bit of a snob; he already looks down at Joe for the way he acts, Pip tells Biddy 'Joe is rather backward in some things' (Chapter Nineteen). Biddy does not feel that Pip is a gentleman, she feels that 'a gentleman should not be unjust', and she feels that Pip is unjust, so not a proper gentleman. Pip is treated differently before he leaves for London, Pumblechook, Trabb and other middle class residents of the town now refer to him as 'sir'. This contributes to him becoming a snob. He feels he has power and is better than other people, and as a result he is less successful as a gentleman, as he is being immoral. When Pip arrives at London, he discovers a 'rather ugly, crooked, narrow and dirty' city. ...read more.


This shows that Pip can be successful as a gentleman morally. Herbert has got no money, but has expectations like Pip. He plans to finance his gentlemanly style through business deals. His expectations are much more realistic than Pip's. For a gentleman to succeed he needs to be sensible and realistic, like Herbert, and not a spendthrift with no idea of the future like Pip. To start with, Pip is not a successful gentleman in London, as he is not accepted socially by the majority of the upper class Londoners. He does not socialise much with other gentleman in London, therefore few gentleman have actually heard of him. His guardian is Mr Jaggers, but he is not a gentleman of leisure, so this does not elevate Pip's social standing. There are few mentions of Pip socialising in London with other gentlemen except with Herbert and his fellow students at Mr Pocket's. In Victorian England (when this book was written and set) a gentleman was usually born a gentleman. Pip was not - he had very humble origins. When Pip encounters Bentley Drummle in Kent, Drummle has an idea about Pip's early life; he refers to 'smithies' (Chapter Forty-Three). If Drummle released this information to other gentlemen, Pip's social standings would plummet, but we do not know whether Drummle did this or not before he died. As Pip does not have a title, or is not in line to a title, he is not that high up the social standings either, compared to people such as Bentley Drummle who 'is an heir but one' to a baronetcy In Chapter Thirty-Nine, the identity of Pip's benefactor is revealed. The convict that Pip first met in the churchyard when he was a child, Magwitch reveals himself to Pip as his benefactor. Pip nearly collapses in shock, he could not speak, and his muscles went rigid so that he could not support himself. ...read more.


Joe is not a gentleman socially, but without a doubt is morally. Described as the 'gentle Christian man' by Pip, Joe is not a snob and recognises Magwitch as a 'fellow creature' when he is lead away to the prison ships in the early stages of the book. Joe has worked all of his life for little money, despite this he is always cheerful to everyone he meets, he is also loyal to them - he is loyal to Pip despite Pip shunning him when ever they meet. Joe has the heart of a gentleman. He reminds us that a gentleman does not have to have social standings; primarily he has to be a 'gentle man.' From his adventures, Pip has learnt many things, for example, he has learnt to treat people by what they do and say, rather than what class they are in. He has learnt that money is not the most important thing in life, in fact the times when he had most money he was very unhappy. For the future, Pip wants to lead a normal, average life, treating others fairly, to fulfil his purpose in the world. In conclusion, Pip's success as a gentleman varies, to start with he was very unsuccessful as a gentleman, he was immoral, and snobbish. He was affected by the money in his possession. He disowned previous friends such as Biddy and Joe, who still kept loyal to him, showing that loyalty is deeper than money. When Magwitch revealed himself as his benefactor, Pip began to lose his snobbish ways, and learnt to admire and respect people for who they are. Near the end of his expectations, he became a moral gentleman, but not a social gentleman as he has been earlier, as he had lost all of his money, and ended up as a middle class worker, working as a manager in the Middle East. The real gentleman in this novel is Herbert, who is always a moral and social gentleman. Graeme Bingham 11MN 02/05/07 19th Century Prose Unit ...read more.

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