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Great expectations - Pip the narrator.

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Introduction

The story is a fictional autobiography of Pip who narrates the story of his life when he is an adult. Because of this, there are "two" Pips - Pip the narrator, who tells us the story many years after the events and Pip the child, who acts out the events as they are taking place. We know this, as Pip the narrator often uses adult vocabulary to speak of his childhood. He uses words such as "interlocutor" to describe the convict - it is not the type of word a young child would use. Pip reflects on the way he viewed the small graves for his brothers in chapter one, 'unreasonably', which show that he realises now that at the time it was absurd for him to have thought that his brothers were buried 'on their backs with their hands in their trousers-pockets'. He now recognises that this was not the case. I think this is an effective way of telling the story, as Dickens uses the two perspectives to add prophetic remarks and at the same time, to keep vital information from us as the mystery unfolds. Pip, as the adult narrator, knows that the convict, Magwitch is in fact the unknown benefactor, but chooses to hide the truth, until the time when Pip the young man finds out. ...read more.

Middle

This appears to seal Pip's fate as a member of the working class, but after a glimpse of life at the upper-class at Miss Havisham's, Pip has become reluctant to finalize his future as a blacksmith. He had fallen in love with the loveless Estella, and believed that if he were a "gentleman" Estella would be willing to love him in return. Pip continues with his apprenticeship for a couple of years, until one day, an unknown benefactor provides him with the wealth and the chance to achieve his dream of becoming a gentleman. The definition of a "gentleman" is, "a man of chivalrous and fine feelings", but when Pip goes to London to become one, his kind nature fades, and he becomes snobbish and arrogant, as he confesses openly. In the Victorian times, the term "gentleman" was indeed a difficult one to decipher. An aristocrat was a "gentlemen" by right of birth, though being born rich does not necessarily make one benevolent. Others were "made" by growth of wealth and power through trades. But becoming rich isn't what makes a "gentleman", in its true sense. Was it fair that those (like Joe Gargery) who were truly "gentlemen" by nature were not recognised if they were poor, but those who were rich, yet maybe not as compassionate as the others were actually labelled a "gentleman"? ...read more.

Conclusion

so money would have changed them a lot, whereas these days, the ambitions of the individual would determine whether or not to choose to stay where they are, or to move into a different society. Magwitch was a transported to Australia, which meant that if he were to return to England again, he would be executed. Pip, after warming to Magwitch, does not want this to happen, and so he tries to help the convict escape. Unfortunately, Compeyson, Miss Havisham's ex-fianc� and an old enemy of Magwitch points him out to the police and Magwitch is caught and sentenced to death. I think Pip's change of heart was caused by his realisation of Magwitch's generosity over the past years but it was more than that. Pip may have realised that his reaction toward Magwitch as his benefactor was unfair (like he realises with his other childhood speculations) and understands that Magwitch did genuinely love him. Magwitch dies before the hanging and, soon after his death; Pip falls ill and is taken back to the marshes to the care of Joe and Biddy. Pip recovers and is the changed man who tells the story. Pip realised that one's social position is not as important as he thought. He recognized that his attitude as a wealthy "gentleman" caused him to reject those who loved him the most. Once Pip learns these lessons, he becomes the Pip who is narrating the story. ...read more.

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