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How Does Dickens Explore The Concept Of Being A Gentleman?

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Introduction

How Does Dickens Explore The Concept Of Being A Gentleman? By Andrew Sears 'The beautiful young lady at Miss Havisham's, and she's more beautiful than anybody ever was and I admire her dreadfully and I want to be a gentleman on her account' - Pip (page 126) This is the turning point where Dickens advances the not so clear plot of the story. This is where Pip admits to Biddy he is in love with Estella and wants to become a gentleman. He is, at this point, doing it for the wrong reasons. He is doing it to impress Estella. When Pip is at Miss Havisham's he realises how much social classes actually matter. People who were orphans or had other jobs such as blacksmiths were regarded as people who could never become gentlemen. ...read more.

Middle

He sets the example to Pip and Pip looks up to him. Herbert's father knew exactly what Compeyson wanted when he tried to marry Miss Havisham. What Herbert says here was exactly what his father said. 'But that he was not to be, without ignorance or prejudice, mistaken for a gentleman because it is a principle of his that no man who was not a true gentleman at heart, ever was, since the world began, a true gentleman in manner'- Herbert (page 177) Who tried to marry Miss Havisham for her money. He is talking about the principles Herbert is talking about Compeyson here. Compeyson is a wealthy criminal of being a gentleman and he is saying that Compeyson was far from it. He is saying that no one who is not a gentleman in character will become a gentleman in manner. ...read more.

Conclusion

This shows that there was prejudice towards people who were not gentlemen. Compeyson was regarded as a gentleman but was not a 'true gentleman in manner' as Herbert says. Dickens in this book explores the concept of becoming a gentleman through lots of different ways. The fact that he makes the persona an orphan shows that he thinks that anyone could become a gentleman, within reason. In this book he stresses the fact that the way to become a gentleman is not only your money and social status; it takes character as well. He uses the childhood of Pip to show his strength of character and his journey towards becoming a gentleman. He also has examples, both good and bad, whom Pip can follow during the story. He explores the concept through love, money and character. ...read more.

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Related GCSE Great Expectations essays

  1. Pip wants to grow up to be a gentleman. Do you think he succeeds?

    When he goes there he meets someone called Estella; a very beautiful girl who Pip instantly adores, carrying the candlestick. Throughout the novel, Estella will become Pip's guiding light. Estella itself means star and Pip will work to get Estella's love and he thinks becoming a gentleman will help.

  2. Pip aspires to become a gentleman - How realistic is this aspiration?

    This is because at his trial he was given a longer sentence that his partner in crime, Compeyson, only because Compeyson was wearing a tailored suit. The jury immediately saw Compeyson as an upper class man, and treated him fairer.

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