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How does Dickens Presentation of Pip as a Young Boy Contrast to Pip as an Adult?

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Introduction

How does Dickens Presentation of Pip as a Young Boy Contrast to Pip as an Adult? In this essay I will consider how Dickens presentation of Pip as a young boy contrasts to Pip as an adult. In 'Great Expectations' Pip starts off as a young, poor, deprived orphan but is later given money from an unknown benefactor and becomes what he would call a gentleman, he later finds out that his benefactor is a convict named Magwitch. Pip goes through three distinct changes in this novel, he starts off as a polite young boy, who would love to learn and aspires to be a 'gentleman' but believes that this is not possible as he has no money. The second is when Pip has received his money; he has achieved his goal of becoming a so called gentleman but still hasn't worked out what being a gentleman really means. The last is when he visits Joe and Biddy, he discovers money isn't everything. It is a story of Pip's self discovery with many tragic elements. It was published in 1860 in weekly instalments; this affects the form and the structure, necessitating elements such as cliff hangers and lending the novel as a whole a relatively slow pace. The two scenes that I have selected to focus on portray Pip's relationship with Magwitch in chapter one and chapter thirty nine, ...read more.

Middle

Pip is not content simply to enjoy his good fortune; rather, he reads more into it than he should, deciding that "Miss Havisham intended me for Estella" and that she must be his benefactor. His adolescent self-importance causes him to be arrogant and act snobbishly toward Joe and Biddy. When Pip suddenly receives his fortune, he experiences a moment in which his wish to be a gentleman seems to have come true. But the impediments remain, and Pip is forced to contend with the entanglements of his affection for his family and his home. Feeling his emotions clash, Pip is unsure how to behave, so he tries to act like a wealthy aristocrat, a person, he imagines, who would be snobbish to Joe and Biddy. Though he is at heart a very good person, Pip has not yet learned to value human affection and loyalty above his immature vision of how the world ought to be. The most important and most ominous development in chapter 39, is the reappearance of the convict, now a rugged old man, and the revelation that he, not Miss Havisham, is Pip's secret benefactor. This revelation deflates Pip's hopes that he is meant for Estella, and it completely collapses the bleak social divisions that have defined him in the novel, first as a poor labouror envious of the rich, then as a gentleman embarrassed of his poor relations. ...read more.

Conclusion

When Magwitch dies Pip prays over his body, pleading with God to forgive his lost benefactor. In chapter 59 Pip goes back to see Joe and Biddy, he has not visited them for five years. Pip goes to the graveyard; Dickens is finishing the novel where it started which gives it clear closure. Biddy presents a pleasant, loving family scene contrasting to that at the beginning with Joe's sister. Pip revisits Satis house only to discover it has been burnt down, he then sees Estella there, she has also changed she is now caring and pleasant. She admits to thinking about Pip and believes that the only teaching she had was suffering. The novel ends with Pip saying: "I saw no shadow of another parting from her" this is a very ambiguous ending. In this novel Pip has been through many distinct changes. He has learned that social class is not a criterion for happiness; that strict designations of good and evil, and even of guilt and innocence, are nearly impossible to maintain in a world that is constantly changing and that his treatment of his loved ones must be the guiding principle in his life. Though his self-description as a narrator shows that he continues to judge himself harshly, he has forgiven his enemies and been reconciled with his friends. Whether he leaves the garden with Estella or only bids her farewell in her carriage, he has finally become a gentleman. Katy Irons ...read more.

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