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How does Dickens use the theme if rich and poor throughout Great Expectations?

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Chlo� Balfour How does Dickens use the theme if rich and poor throughout Great Expectations? Throughout the novel, there are many themes, one of them being rich and poor. This theme is introduced by the background description in the opening pages. In this novel the attitudes of the rich relatives, (uncle Pumblechook), are a great contrast to those of lower financial class, - Joe and Mrs. Joe. Special food is reserved for when richer relatives come around; this is a motion of respect. For the duration of the novel, Pip pursues wealth and when he finally attains it he finds it's useless as he sees its source as 'tainted', his wealth is acquired through Magwich. Greed is a significant factor. During the novel, there are a lot of links comparing rich and poor, and we get representatives from both sides. Miss Havisham is rich, but lives a life of disorder, disappointment and dirt. ...read more.


This shows that money is not always everything an that both rich and poor can be unhappy. Irony is shown when Pip appears to come into money, - his great expectations have finally arrived. Once Pip has become 'rich', the certain people's attitudes towards him transform. He is instantly shown immense respect from Pumblechook and the tailor. This demonstrates that because you have a wealthy status you immediately earn reverence and are assumed to more worthy. Over a period of time, Pip's own attitude also begins to change. -Joe is treated with condescension and disdain, however Joe has no expectations of gaining from Pip's good fortune, now or at any other time; he is too and honest and straight. He expects nothing but what comes from his own efforts. - Towards debt, Pip becomes unable to manage and maintain control of his 'expectations'. - Pip begins to treat Biddy as an inferior as he feels he is in a higher social standing. ...read more.


Where did Miss Havisham get her wealth from? Some wealth is earned is based on bad exploitation, - Bentley Drummle and Mr. Jaggers, (their wealth are built based on the fact that they defend Criminals). But wealth may be honest- Magwich did his utmost finest for Pip. Wemmick has a job and uses it create happiness and splendor, for his old father and his 'castle'. Herbert Pocket comes across as the incompetent type; he has indistinct plans but seems satisfied. Estella's wealth from Miss Havisham and her mercenary attitudes immediately steer her towards a path of misery and anguish. Pip's journey throughout life was reasonably tough. He came from a working class background, received riches and became a parasite which leads to numerous mistakes, disclosure and rejection, and thankfully the Courage to help Magwich to escape. Although Pip's journey began well, it went down hill once a wealthy status was achieved; nonetheless, he still managed to find courage and wisdom, which proves that there is possible hope for the future. This shows that happiness is not always achieved by wealth and being egotistical will not benefit you long term. ...read more.

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