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How Does Dickens Explore and Challenge the Idea of what Makes a Gentleman in this Novel?

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How Does Dickens Explore and Challenge the Idea of what Makes a Gentleman in this Novel? One of the main themes of Charles Dickens' novel "Great Expectations" is that of what makes a gentleman. It is answered in a variety of different ways, and Dickens explores and challenges what really makes a gentleman. Firstly, Dickens explores the obvious form of a gentleman, which is to do with wealth. The gentleman may not be a particularly nice man, nor a polite one, but he will have enough money to ensure that his outward appearance is gentlemanly. Characters such as Bentley Drummle show this clearly. Bentley is not a particularly nice man, but he is certainly wealthy, and therefore, is classed as a gentleman due to his wealth and social class. ...read more.


We don't know what you have done, but we wouldn't have you starved to death for it, poor miserable fellow-creatur. - Would us, Pip?" This comment shows that Joe is a gentleman because he has morals. He ignores the fact that Magwitch stole the pie, but instead says that he would rather that than Magwitch starving to death. This simple generosity of Joe shows that he is a gentleman. Another aspect that Dickens explores though is the case of Pip, and how he becomes a gentleman, and what happens to his personality as it happens. Pip starts as a young boy, who gets on very well with Joe, but as soon as he meets Estella, he becomes to become snobbish about Joe's industry and social class. ...read more.


Secondly, Dickens explores the idea of being a gentleman in character. This aspect has nothing to do with education, wealth, or social class, but is all about being a gentleman in your heart. Dickens show by this idea that, truthfully, wealth, and class, are in fact, far less important in life than being a kind, generous, and selfless person. Thirdly, Dickens shows how becoming a gentleman affects personality and he shows how becoming a gentleman does easily affect a persons morals and personality. It is not until Magwitch reveals to Pip that he is his benefactor and that it has not been Miss Havisham that Pip realises what has become of him. Therefore, I conclude that Dickens explores two different types of gentleman; in class, and in personality, and that they are very different. However, the more important one in life is to be a gentleman in personality. David Seckington L5M ...read more.

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