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In Great Expectations,Dickens is interested in what it means to be a Gentleman

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Introduction

In Great Expectations, Dickens is interested in what it means to be a Gentleman To be able to ascertain whether Pip, Joe and Magwitch were real "gentlemen" it is important that I am able recognise what it means to be a "gentleman". To me a gentleman should be a polite and well mannered person, unlike in the Victorian society when all "gentlemen" had to be either educated or wealthy. The term "gentlemen" was important in Victorian society because to be a "gentleman" would earn a man a higher social status and would mean that he would be well educated and very wealthy. Samuel smiles was ahead of his time by saying that a "gentleman" should not have to be wealthy or well educated but have some general good manners and be polite to other people, dickens was also ahead of his time because he was saying a similar kind of thing "Great Expectations". Pip's character progresses and changes a lot through the whole of the novel. There is an abundance of instances where we see that Pip is ashamed of his background as a "labouring boy", this is because of Estella, she made him feel bad about being a "labouring boy" and she made a number of offensive remarks about his hands and boots and the way he calls "Knaves" "Jacks", and this upset him and he regrets it. ...read more.

Middle

At the start of the novel Pip's aspiration is to be like Joe (a blacksmith) but he has only has one "Great Expectation" this to be a gentleman, he had had it ever since he met Estella at Miss Havisham's , some people think that he doesn't want to be a gentleman at the end of the novel because enjoyed having money and being educated, despite this I personally think that he does really want to but he knows he has been one in terms of education and wealth and thinks he is inside, but he has learned from what has happened that he should just turn to the next chapter of his life. Dickens represented Pip as a "gentleman" at the start of the novel because he was kind and well mannered to others until he went to Satis House when he became self-indulgent and worried about his social status because of the offensive remarks made by Estella. This was a significant part of his life because this is when his first aspirations of gentlemanliness become involved. Dickens use of biographical writing was very effective because we soon became attached to Pip and his ways of thinking. ...read more.

Conclusion

The end of the novel is quite important depending on Magwitch and Pip, reasons for this are: Magwitch sees Pip as a son, he cares and respects him. The audience feels emotionally attached with Pip and Magwitch and feel they have been through everything with both of them. My take on the word gentleman is the same as Samuel Smiles' views on what it is to be a gentleman and that you don't have to be well educated, affluent or "born with a silver spoon in your mouth" to be a gentleman, but to be a real "gentleman" you have to follow in Joe's footsteps and treat people right. If you are a gentleman in mind and heart than anyone can be a gentleman by today's standards I've learnt that Victorian society was very hard living even if you were well of it is easy to loose it all and not just money but friends and family as well. We have also learnt that not everyone wanted to be a "gentleman". Dickens proved that he was ahead of his time because he made Joe the "gentleman of today" and showed him as a kind and generous person. He also made all the "gentlemen" of Victorian society look self-centred and arrogant Simon Stahly ...read more.

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