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In the novel Great Expectations, Pip is the main character. To what extent is he also its hero?

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Andrew Hart Tuesday, July 09, 2002 Year 10 English and English Literature Coursework In the novel Great Expectations, Pip is the main character. To what extent is he also its hero? Traditional heroes originate from Greek mythology. The Greeks wrote about many different gods and heroes and many of these myths are still believed in places of the world. A traditional hero is someone who does something heroic or courageous or perhaps someone that has to undertake a tremendous ordeal or task. A hero would also be described as someone who would risk his own so that he could aid another. So a typical hero is someone courageous and unselfish. However, heroes do not just have to be someone brave, they can be someone that is respected by another for a certain reason, because that person would look up to them. A typical hero would be described to have immense physical strength and someone that is emotionally and physically strong and someone that has helped others. In this novel there are many different characters that show heroic qualities, but I shall be focusing mainly on Pip ( the main character of the novel ), Magwitch, Mr Joe Gargery and Herbert Pocket. In the beginning of the novel we meet Pip Pirrip, an orphan that is living with his sister and her husband, Mr. and Mrs. ...read more.


An un-heroic characteristic of Pip is Pip's dream of becoming a gentleman. This could be seen as very stuck-up or selfish and even ungrateful to Mr. and Mrs. Joe because his main dream is to leave them and live in the city with wealth and forget all about his "poorer upbringing" Mr. Joe has many different heroic qualities, which we can see throughout the book. The first heroic quality we see in Mr. Joe is his physical strength. He is a blacksmith and he would need to be strong anyway but he manages to carry Pip on his back over the marshes, while on a chase for the convicts, Chapter 5. This shows us his physical strength and a heroic quality because he cares enough for Pip that he would carry him for miles while chasing convicts. Another major quality we see in Mr. Joe is how he looks after Pip and protects him from his sister. Pips sister beats Pip quite regularly because Pip is quite mischievous. Mr. Joe completely disagrees with wife beating, another heroic character, and protects Pip from his sister by warning him before he is going to get beaten. Chapter 2 " Mrs. Joe has been out a dozen times, looking for you, Pip...and what's worse she's got Tickler with her." Tickler being a cane. This shows us that Mr. Joe cares a lot about Pip and we can also see a father or brother figure in Mr. ...read more.


However, Magwitch is also a convict. This tells us that he might not be as heroic and kind as his actions showed us. He is violent to Pip in the first chapters and scares him, he is also a general "ruffian" and has a dark and mysterious appearance, not of a typical hero. A smaller character that could be described as heroic would be Herbert Pocket. We meet Herbert when Pip goes to Miss Havishams; this is where the two boys fight. Herbert Pocket later becomes Pip's best friend and Herbert helps Pip attempt his dream of becoming a hero. Herbert treats Pip as a social equal, which is very heroic and civil. Pip may not be as rich as Herbert but he treats him as equal. Herbert also proves Pip that he didn't need vast amounts of money to be a gentleman, because Herbert was a gentleman and he was only slightly richer than Pip. These things can be seen as very heroic because Herbert treats Pip as an equal. However, After reading the novel, we can see that Pip would be the most heroic character. Charles Dickens wrote the book as if Pip was, so Pip was admitting to how ignorant and selfish it was to want to be a gentleman. It was very heroic for Pip to write the book because he was admitting all the things about his past and saying that he was selfish and un-heroic which was very heroic, because he was admitting to it and telling others. ...read more.

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