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Great Expectations Essay Research Paper Estella Havisham

Great Expectations Essay, Research Paper Estella Havisham: Most readers are appalled at the cold-hearted and cruel ways of Estella, but any criticism directed at her is largely undeserved. She was simply raised in a controlled environment where she was, in essence, brainwashed by Miss Havisham. Nonetheless, her demeanor might lead one to suspect that she was a girl with a heart of ice.

Great Expectations Essay, Research Paper

Estella Havisham:

Most readers are appalled at the cold-hearted and cruel ways of Estella, but any criticism directed at her is largely undeserved. She was simply raised in a controlled environment where she was, in essence, brainwashed by Miss Havisham. Nonetheless, her demeanor might lead one to suspect that she was a girl with a heart of ice. Estella is scornful from the moment she is introduced, when she remarks on Pip’s coarse hands and thick boots. However, her beauty soon captivates Pip and she is instilled as the focal point of his thoughts for much of the remainder of the novel. The fact that Pip becomes infatuated with her is also not Estella’s fault. By no means is there any evidence that she loved him. She does not flirt with him in any way. Rather, she tortures Pip with her cruel treatment. Despite her abhorrent quality, Estella is extremely candid; because she seems to have no need for affection, she is able to tell things as she sees them without a thought of what someone else may think. This is in contrast to Pip’s obsession of his every action being approved by Miss Havisham and Estella. Estella is also quite intelligent. She is very aware of the manner in which Miss Havisham raised her. She tells Miss Havisham, “I am what you have made me. Take all the praise, take all the blame; take all the success, take all the failure; in short, take me.” (Chapter 38). Finally, by the end of the novel, Estella has changed. Through her marriage with Bentley Drummle, she has suffered to learn some valuable life lessons that have transformed her character. Pip remarks on the stark reversal of the once hard Estella, “…what I had never seen before, was the saddened softened light of the once proud eyes; what I had never felt before, was the friendly touch of the once insensible hand.” (Chapter 59).

Joe Gargery:

Joe is the only one of Dickens’ characters who stands opposed to and apart from the main current of action. He stays away from London, for the most part, and only intervenes when needed. He is always present in Pip’s mind, and tends to remind both Pip and the reader of those values in Pip that were crushed during the evolution of his expectations. Joe is an honest and industrious fellow, although he sometimes comes across as foolish to other characters in the novel. He is also a generous and forgiving man, which is illustrated by his reaction to having some food taken from his house by the convict. Joe tells the convict that he was welcome to it, since it kept the convict from starving. Joe is also the only character in the novel with no real property. All that he counts as his own are his tools; all else, in Joe’s mind, belongs to Mrs. Joe. His freedom from material goods and the desire for them sets him apart from the “gentlemen” like Pumblechook in the novel. Joe was a child of an abusive family; his father was a drunkard and beat Joe and his mother. The epitaph that Joe composes for his father reveals the extent of his forgiving nature. The same epitaph, “Whatsum-er the failings on his part, Remember, reader, he were that good in his hart,” applies to Pip, as well, as he finishes his adventures. Joe is far more significant than the virtuous and kindly blacksmith he appears to be. Dickens refers to him as “holy”, and the cottage has an air of “sanctity” for Pip. Joe is opposed to all false values, and does not present his view in bombastic speeches, but rather within himself and in his convictions. Joe also rejects the importance of property, pretty speech, and manners. Joe is also a very honorable and dignified man, which is sensed immediately by Miss Havisham. His understanding of peopleand his sensitivity allows him to sense intuitively whether he is wanted by Pip or is merely making him uncomfortable. The fire of Joe’s forge is the light of the innate goodness of man, and a light of hope amidst the false lights of the world that Dickens presents in Great Expectations.

Phillip Pirip (Pip):

An understanding of Pip is essential to an understanding of Great Expectations. He is both the central character and narrarator of Great Expectations. The entire story is told through the eyes of an adult Pip, even though Pip is a small child during parts of it. In his early years, Pip was strongly influenced by his guardians, Joe Gargery and his wife, Mrs. Joe. Joe instills a sense of honesty, industry, and friendliness in Pip, while Mrs. Joe does a great deal to contribute to his desires and ambitions through her constant emphasis on pomp and property. Pip is generally good-natured and thoughtful, and very imaginative. His false values, which are bolstered by his love of Estella, decrease the amount of respect that he has for Joe. His alienation from Joe and Joe’s values builds through the second part of the novel, as Pip becomes selfish, greedy, and foolish. During the period when his expectations are intact, his only morally positive act was to secretly help Herbert Pocket into a good position. Upon discovering that Magwitch is his benefactor, a new phase begins in Pip’s moral evolution. At first, Pip no longer feels the same human compassion for Magwitch that he did the first time he saw him out on the marshes. Gradually, Pip changes his perception of Magwitch, unlearning what he has learned. Pip becomes concerned with the man, and not the expectations that he could provide. When Jaggers presents the thought that there may be a way for Pip to get his hands on Magwitch’s property, the idea sounds hollow and utterly empty to Pip. Pip learns about Estella’s parentage through Magwitch, and that his aspirations were falsely based. When Pip is arrested for his debts and becomes too ill to go to prison, Joe tends to him. Thus, the positive values which Joe had shown Pip as a child are reinforced. After the ruination of Pip’s expectations, the only good he experiences comes directly from the only good he did for others while his expectations where intact. From the beginning to the end of the novel, Pip loses and then rediscovers the importance of human relationships and virtue over wealth and position.

Miss Havisham:

Miss Havisham was once a beautiful and desirable woman; however, by the time she is first encountered in the novel, she is far from being such. She was the victim of a clever scheme to cheat her out of wealth in which Compeyson, Magwitch’s mortal enemy, was involved. After being cheated, she is hurt deeply by being betrayed by a loved one, and pushed into insanity. She devotes her life to wreaking vengeance upon men for the way she was wronged. Estella becomes the vehicle of Miss Havisham’s revenge, and Miss Havisham attempts to mold her into a being of pure malevolence. Only in the end of the novel, after the death of Miss Havisham, does Estella’s heart change from the block of ice it had become. Pip becomes the victim of Miss Havisham’s machination. She fosters his notion that she is his benefactor, and attempts to expand the relationship between Pip and Estella so that Pip will be more deeply hurt when Estella rejects him. Never at one moment does she stop to consider Pip or his feelings. Her warping of Estella was quite inconsiderate as well, and brought a great deal of suffering to the both of them. Miss Havisham is not an evil woman, however. She treats Pip with some kindness when she first meets him, and recognizes Joe as a good man of principle. Miss Havisham also repents her actions compeltely towards the end of the novel. Her repentance comes too late, however, as she has no more life to start anew. The warped nature of her surroundings and herself is a horrifying testament to her powerful passions and forceful will.

Abel Magwitch:

Magwitch first appears in Great Expectations as a vicious and threatening convict, which does not beget much sympathy for him. As time goes by, Magwitch becomes more likable. One of the first signs of Magwitch’s decent nature is his confession regarding the food he stole from the blacksmith’s house. His good nature is again manifested when the stranger with the file gives Pip two one- pound notes. Magwitch is very similar to Joe in his coarse, common nature. He has become rich through his labors, however, and seeks to use his money to make Pip into a gentleman. Magwitch is also very similar to Miss Havisham in his molding of Pip; his motives are dissimilar, however. Magwitch is motivated by gratitude, which Pip lacks. He desires only to be proud of Pip and his accomplishments. Magwitch resents Compeyson, as well as the authorities, but with good cause. For a good time, Magwitch seems to be a larger than life character, much like Miss Havisham. His hard life shaped him into a hard man, but that facade fades towards the end of the novel. Magwitch, although a broken man, reveals the love and gentleness of his nature while on his deathbed.

Mrs. Joe (Georgiana) Gargery:

Mrs. Joe (Georgiana) Gargery is the wife of Joe Gargery and the sister of Pip (although nearly 20 years his senior). She is an appearance centered woman who is hell-bent on making Pip pay for living and forcing her to take care of him. She is constantly complaining about how ungrateful Pip is for her raising of him by hand , and she beats him frequently with a stick called Tickler . Mrs. Gargery always wears a heavy apron with pins and needles stuck into it, which have a tendency to end up in Joe and Pip’s digestive tracts. This apron is almost like a symbolic armor against any kind of tenderness or compassion. She is the one who has Pip shipped off to Mrs. Havisham’s house and sets him down the road to self-destruction. Mrs. Gargery is partially paralyzed after she is attacked by Orlick for what he deemed an attempt on her part to get him fired. Ironically, it appears that only after this attack does she truly see the world in its proper perspectives. She calls Orlick in and seems to forgive him (or maybe she was trying to tell Joe who attacked her) and before she dies, she says three words implying that she wishes Joe to forgive Pip. It is quite possible that she has seen what wealth has done to Pip and realizes her mistake.

Mrs. Joe is the initiating factor in Pip’s moral decline and it is very probable that Charles Dickens was attempting to speak about the problems he saw with the beating of children, and the aspirations that some parents place on their children ( r foster children) to become more than they are.

Wemmick:

Wemmick is the clerk and closest assistant to Mr. Jaggers. He has two lives: one at the office and one at home. At the office, he is stern, cold and described as having a wooden face with chiseled features. Wemmick is a yes man for Mr. Jaggers at the office, imitating him in almost every way, including the dispersions that he constantly casts at his customers. Wemmick becomes acquaintances with Pip through their dealings with Mr. Jaggers. When Wemmick invites Pip over to his home, he sees another side of Wemmick that is never seen at the office. Wemmick visibly softens as they near his house and becomes quite amiable. In addition, Wemmick has a home made to seem like a castle, complete with a moat, drawbridge, and cannon that Wemmick fires every night before he goes to sleep. This very idealized home scene is in direct contrast with Wemmick’s office life and accentuates Dickens’s implications about reality vs. appearances. While Wemmick is a good man, he is very false and is forced to put on a mask of indifference in order to survive all of the horrible, seedy acts and people that he must deal with on a daily basis. Without this defense, he would probably go crazy. Wemmick proves to be Pip’s most loyal friend (along with Herbert) and aids him in many legal and criminal matters. Wemmick helps Pip to avoid being discovered as Provis’s abetter and allows him to secretly support the advancement of Herbert’s future, the one charitable act that he performs with his money. Wemmick has an aged father who is hard of hearing and a romantic interest that he finally marries in Ms. Skiffins. Wemmick, when at his home, is a good example of what a true gentleman is, however, his character is somewhat adulterated by his change of character when at the office.

Compeyson:

Compeyson is the business partner of Arthur, Mrs. Havisham’s brother. Together they plotted to steal away her fortune through a false love affair. After Compeyson had made a fortune in this manner, he got involved in counterfeiting, and recruited Abel Magwitch as his dupe. When they were caught, it was brought out that Compeyson had funneled all of the funds through Magwitch and pinned him as the fall guy. As a result of this, and the fact that Compeyson had no previous record and appeared to be a better gentleman, Magwitch was given a long exile, while Compeyson got off rather lightly. When Magwitch escaped from the hulks and onto the marshes, Compeyson followed him to affect his own escape. When Pip told Magwitch that a man with a bruised face was also on the marshes, Abel Magwitch went after Compeyson. Later, the British Troops found Magwitch in a ditch beating up Compeyson and proclaiming that he had prevented Compeyson from escaping. After many years, Compeyson heard rumor of Magwitch returning and began to shadow him and Pip. After he discovered all that he needed to know, he attempted to arrest Magwitch on accusations of returning to England against an order of Exile. However, Magwitch attacked Compeyson again and ended up drowning the man.

Compeyson was the perfect image of what Dickens saw as wrong about the existing stereotype of a gentleman. Compeyson was well groomed and economically successful. However, he was corrupt to the core and was the very antithesis of what a true gentleman was. This contrast between appearances and reality is a prominent theme throughout the story.

Bentley Drummle:

Bentley is Pip’s rival for Estella’s affections. He is introduced early as Pip’s roommate at the Pocket residence, but it is only mentioned that Pip is not very fond of Bentley. He is smug and very ill at ease in nature. Bentley is proud and of high social position. His character fits in perfectly with the nonsensical gentleman’s club, Finches of the Grove. Because of his disagreeable qualities, Pip can not understand why both Jaggers and Estella favor Bentley. Jaggers affectionately refers to him as “Spider.” When Bentley toasts Estella, Pip is furious and becomes even angrier when Estella acknowledges Bentley as a possible husband. Eventually, Bentley does marry Estella. He abuses Estella terribly and his brutal treatment of her plays a major role in humanizing Estella. He is eventually killed by a horse which he was abusing at the time.

Orlick:

Orlick is Pip’s lifelong enemy. He is a big, strong bully with a bad temper who despises Pip. Orlick has lived a difficult life and seems to blame Pip for everything that has gone wrong in his life. He says to Pip, “You was always in old Orlick’s way since ever you was a child.” (Chapter 53) He claims that Pip was favored by Mrs. Joe and that he was bullied by her. Therefore, Orlick reasons, it was really Pip’s fault that he assaulted Mrs. Joe. Orlick also resents Pip having gotten him fired from his job at the Satis House. Orlick further accuses Pip of coming between him and Biddy. Orlick uses all of these accusations against Pip to justify his murder of Pip. In fact, Orlick’s scene with Pip tied up is the only sequence in the book in which Orlick has a major impact. It is during this strenuous time that the reader can clearly see Pip’s sudden unselfishness. While Orlick stalks Pip before his seemingly eminent death, Pip can only think of his loved ones. In Great Expectations Orlick plays the role of the disgruntled bully. He lives a criminal life and ends up working for another villain, Compeyson. His hot temper results in the death of Mrs. Joe, and almost the death of Pip.

Mr. Pumblechook:

Of all the distasteful characters in Great Expectations Pumblechook is definitely the most deplorable. Pumblechook remains static throughout the novel as a pompous and obsequious sycophant. During Pip’s childhood, Pumblechook derides Pip as an ungrateful child who will never amount to anything. He puts the utmost value on material possessions and thus has no true friends. He attempts to shadow his ignorance with his “sophisticated” conversations in which he has completely no idea of what he is talking about. In Pumblechook, Dickens created a monster that he believed represented the abhorrent middle class of England. The only thing that changes in Pumblechook is his treatment of Pip. This treatment only further stresses Pumblecook’s perogative of placing wealth and the upper class on a pedestal. As a result of Pip’s sudden inheritance, Pumblechook abruptly changes his attitude towards Pip and instead of insulting and condemning Pip, he endlessly praises Pip for his new lifestyle. He actually relates to Pip as his equal. Pumblechook, in stride with his character, continually credits himself for Pip’s status and even publicly wraps himself in self-pity on the account of Pip not recognizing him as such. When Pip loses all of his possessions, he suddenly, though certainly not surpi singly, falls out of Pumblechook’s favor. Pumblechook moans at Pip’s aloof attitude towards him. The reader can only cringe at Pumblechook’s unbelievably pompous demeanor because it is quite obvious that he had no hand in Pip’s good fortune. He merely exposed Pip to the snobbish and cold world of Miss Havisham and Estella.

Molly:

Molly was raised in a situation much akin to that of Abel Magwitch. Both of them were lower-class people who had few to no advantages. They were married and had a child. Soon afterward, when the child was about three years old, another woman began to take a shine to Abel, and Molly killed the woman in a fit of jealousy. Mr. Jaggers took the case of defending Molly before he was well known, and got her acquitted. He was able to do this by dressing Molly up to appear smaller than she actually was and explaining tampering with physical evidence. The influence of this success, which apparently made him famous and started his career, can be seen in his dealings with Mike in chapter 20. In her attempt to get revenge upon Abel for having let another woman get close to him, she gave her child to Mr. Jaggers and let Abel think that she had killed the child. Mr. Jaggers gave the little girl to Mrs. Havisham in order to give the child a chance to escape the fate of her parents. Molly stayed with Mr. Jaggers and served as his maid and servant from the time that she was acquitted until the end of the book. Molly seems to be a very quiet and reserved woman since the case and whenever she begins to show her wild side again, Mr. Jagger reminds her of the debt that she owes him. She seems to be the evil side of Abel. While Magwitch is dirty, poor and a criminal but good at heart and a borderline gentleman; Molly is a cold, hard woman with little regard for life and apparently a viscous, vengeful temper.

Stage I Summary

As the novel opens, Pip is wandering amongst his parents? tombstones in the churchyard. Here, Pip meets an escaped convict. Pip brings the man nourishment and a file to free himself of the iron chain of bondage. Pip returns home to his sister, Mrs. Joe Gargery, and his brother-in-law and best friend, Joe Gargery. Pip does not tell either of them about the convict. The next day, policemen arrive at the Gargery house, and Pip and Joe assist them in their search for the two convicts; the convict Pip helped, and another man (Note: that while Pip and Joe do assist in the search, Pip does not reveal any knowledge of either convict). A few weeks later, Pip goes to Miss Havisham?s house. He discovers that she is an old, rich, and eccentric lady that seeks revenge on mankind. She has an adopted daughter, Estella, with whom Pip becomes infatuated. While there, Pip has a fight with a ?pale young gentleman?. Also at Miss Havisham?s, Pip begins to feel ashamed of himself and seeks a richer and more ?uncommon? status. After visiting with Miss Havisham for several months, Pip is apprenticed to Joe, who runs the forge. One night Pip recieves a surprise visit from a Mr. Jaggers, a lawyer in London. He tells Pip of ?great expectations? from a secret benefactor. Pip is very excited and looks forward to the journey of becoming a ?gentleman?. He leaves Joe and Biddy, a friend of Pip’s who is in love with him, and starts off for London. he leaves thinking that Miss Havisham is his benefactor, and that he is being groomed into a gentleman, so that someday he may marry Estella.

Stage II Summary

Stage two begins directly afier Pip leaves the forge upon learning of his great expectations (chapter 20). It documents his life in London, his progress towards becoming a “gentleman” and his discovery of the true identity of his benefactor (chapter 39). Many of the main characters in the novel are introduced in this stage. It is while in London that Pip meets Herbert, Wemmick, Compeyson, Mr. Pocket, Bently Drummle, Clara, and Molly. In addition, this stage reveals to us much more about Mr. Jaggers. In Chapter twenty-one, Pip is taken to Mr. Jaggers office and makes the acquaintance of Wemmick and is greatly disturbed by the condition of the office of Mr. Jaggers. As the chapter closes, he meets Herbert Pocket and discovers that his new roommate is the “pale young gentleman” that he beat up in the boxing match at Ms. Havisham’s house. in chapter twenty-two, Herbert nicknames Pip “Handel” and they exchange pleasantries. Here, Pip learns from Herbert the history behind Ms. Havisham’s actions and is introduced to the rest of Herbert Pocket’s family. The entire of Chapter twenty-three was spent in the Pocket household having dinner. During the course of this chapter it became apparent that Mrs. Pocket is very concerned with appearances while Mr. Pocket is more involved with the truth of situations. Also, it becomes apparent that Flopson and Sophia, the two maids, are much more involved as parents to the young Pockets than are their parents. Chapter twenty-four outlines the first withdrawal that Pip makes from Mr. Jaggers office and displays the resolution that Mr. Jaggers has in avoiding making any suggestions at all, in order to avoid lawsuits against him. Also, Pip sees the fear that Mr. Jaggers instills in every participant of a hearing, due to his fierce oratorical powers. Chapter twenty-five fightly covers Pip’s life at tutoring with Mr. Pocket, but the majority of the chapter is about Wemmick’s home. It is in this chapter that Pip meets “the Aged P.” and discovers that Wemmick’s home and his home disposition are vastly different from his work and his attitude at home. Wemmick’s house is actually a castle-type building, complete with a tower, moat and drawbridge. As chapter twenty-six opens, Pip discovers Mr. Jaggers washing his hands with scented soap and is invited to dinner by his guardian. At this dinner, Pip’s acquaintances, Bently Drummle and Startop, got into a discussion with him over strength, and they began to show off for one another (and probably Mr. Jaggers). Mr. Jaggers put an end to it by showing them ail Molly1s wrists (Molly was Mr. Jaggers servant), but he apparently takes a liking to Drummle as he makes a point of asking Pip about him. A letter to Pip from Joe (through Biddy) opens chapter twenty-seven, and the rest of the chapter discusses Joe’s subsequent visit. Pip flnds out that Mr. Wopsle has become an actor in a local theater and also that Estella has returned from Paris and would be glad to see him. As Joe leaves, something in him startles Pip and makes him see the value in his simplicity, if only for a moment. In chapter twenty-eight, Pip, with much reluctance, decides that he must go back to his home town. However, he is able to convince himself that it would be impracticale and rude to stay at Joe’s house, so he must stay at the Blue Boar. The stage-coach that he takes back home is simultaneously carting prisoners to the hulks, and one of them is the one that gave him two one-pound notes. the convict and one of his friends discuss this within earshot of Pip and greatly rattle him. When he finally arrives at the Blue Boar, however, he discovers that Mr. Pumblechook has established himself as “Pip’s earliest benefactor and the founder of his fortunes”. In chapter thirty, we learn of Pip’s aspirations to becoming Estella’s knight in shining armour, who would restore Satis house to its former glory. He discovers, upon his arrival at Ms. Havisharn’s home, that Orlick is empoyed as a porter there, and he discovers that Estella no longer treats him contemptuously, but simply lures him on. In this chapter also, Pip learns of Ms. Havisham’s great need for him to love Estella and he once again thinks with regret about Joe, but only for a moment. In chapter thirty, Pip has Orlick fired from his new post as porter at Ms. Havisharn’s house and was harassed by Trabb’s boy for his pompous behavior. In addition, Herbert attempts to convince Pip of the wisdom of estranging himself from Estella, but Pip declares this to be impossible and Herbert reveals that he is secretly engaged to Clara. Chapter thirty-one finds Pip and Herbert going to the theater to see Mr. Wopsle perform. Wopsle didn’t perform well, and was harassed by the crowd. Mr. Wopsle has also changed his name (like Pip did) to Mr. Waldengarver. Pip finishes the chapter in misery over Estella and the lack of any accomplishment that is truly his own. As chapter thirty-two unfolds, we find that Pip receives a letter from Estella telling him that he is to meet her at the station the next day. While waiting for Estella, he meets Wemmick and accepts his invitation to visit the jail. He finds that Wemmick is very popular at the jail and is the go-between for almost all of Jaggers’ clients. Chapter thirty-three begins with Estella arriving at the station, where te informs him that she is continuing on to Richmond, but is to have some tea here with Pip, in the meantime. Estella reveals to Pip that the entire Pocket family, save Matthew, is jealous beyond belief ofhim, and he also discovers that Ms. Havisham has finally sent Estella out into the world to d her damage to it. Chapter thirty-four is dedicated entirely to the recounting of Pip and Herbert’s financial affairs. They both spent quite large amounts of money for very little, and were very unhappy. They both ran up huge debts and would occasionally count them up, but they never paid them, however. At the end of the chapter, Pip learns that Mrs. Joe Gargery has died. Upon returning to the forge for Mrs. Joe’s funeral in chapter thirty-five, Pip seems touched by some of his old life and decides to sleep in his old room. He also is “hurt” by Biddy’s not telling him of his sister’s impending death. He promises to visit frequently, but Biddy doesn’t believe him. Tn chapter thirty-six, Pip turns twenty-one and visits Mr. Jaggers. When lie visits Jaggers, he learns that he is to live on a sum of 500 pounds per annum and no more and he discovers that he will not know the identity of his benefactor in the foreseeable future. He also, at this point, decides to sponsor Herbert in his search for ajob and asks the opinion of Wemmiek on the subject. Wemmick tells him that doing such would be as good as throwing his money off a bridge. In chapter thirty-seven, Pip visits Walworth in an attempt to get Wemmick’s personal sentiments on aiding Herbert. Wemmick agrees to help him if he is able, and they spend the rest of the evening listening to the Aged P. and visiting with Mrs. Skiffins, who appears to be Wemmick’s romantic interest. As the chapter closes, we see that Pip has indeed gotten Herbert a job at Clarricker’s House as an assistant. Chapter thirty-eight is reserved for Pip’s reflections on Estella. Pip reflects on how he shadowed Estella at her housed in Richmond very often during his stay in London, and how he witnessed the falling out between Estella and Ms. Havisham in which Ms. Liavisham cannot understand why Bstella doesn’t love her, although she never taught Estella anything but contempt. He also comments on his arguments with Drummle over Estella at The Finches of the Grove. The chapter closes with Estella revealing that Pip is the only man that she does not lead on and play with. However, he doesn’t take her words to heart and still insists that she is injuring him through her actions. Chapter thirty-nine consists wholly of the revelation to Pip of his benefactor. In this chapter he meets with a dirty old man, who is the convict that he met in the marshes as a child. This old man reveals to Pip that all the money he has been living off of was earned by this convict in Australia in the penal colony. The chapter closes with Pip fully despairing his future now that he is indebted to a convict and has no promise of Estella that he thought he had.

Stage III Summary

Magwitch(Provis) is happy with Pip as a gentleman. He sees Pip as his revenge against all, self-centered, materialistic, gentlemen in the world. Magwitch then tells Pip and Herbert of his life. He then tells the reader of Compeyson(the other convict), a man who made Miss Havisham who she is. He also got Magwitch a life sentence and for this Magwitch hates Compeyson. Pip then goes to visit Miss Havisham where he sees that Estella will be married to Drummle. Pip then comes home to London and finds out that Compeyson is watching Magwitch. Magwitch then goes to live with Herbert’s future wife, Clara. Pip also learns that Molly is Estella’s mother and learns of Molly’s past, which he links to Magwitch’s past. Pip then concluds that Magwitch is Estella’s father. The time has now come where Magwitch is to be snuck out of England by boat. Pip then recieves a note concerning himself and Magwitch. He must go to the marshes alone. Upon arriving to the shack he was told to go to, Pip is grabbed by Orlick who says he will kill Pip. Orlick admits to attacking Mrs. Joe and to being affiliated with Compeyson. Herbert and Startop find the note which Pip dropped to the ground and they come to his rescue. The next day Pip, Herbert, and Startop row Magwitch down the river. Compeyson and some policemen in another boat follow the four, however. Magwitch then grabs Compeyson and drowns him. Magwitch is hurt badly and is arrested by the police. Herbert then goes to work at Clarriker’s and leaves Pip to be with Magwitch. Pip takes very good care of Magwitch, who dies before he can be hung. After Magwitch’s death, Pip becomes extremly ill. Joe then comes and nurses Pip back to health. Pip now remembers his days at the forge. Pip learns that Miss Havisham is also dead. Pip gets well and goes home and is forgiven by Joe. Pip also proposes to Biddy, but finds out that Joe and Biddy are being married on that very day. Pip then rejoins Herbert and after many years goes back to Miss Havisham’s house. He sees Estella, who is now a widow. The story concludes as the two take a long walk together and find out how much each has changed.

Throughout his prosperous career as an author, Charles Dickens took a position atop the slew of significant 19th century writers, due primarily to his complex plot structures and intriguing characterizations. Great Expectations is no exception. Pip, the novel’s narrator, epitomizes the popular Victorian model of literature, Bildungsroman, where a story’s hero experiences so much suffering and humility through his deviance from normal standards of moral acceptance, that he becomes stripped of any superficialities and obstacles, causing him to perceive reality more clearly and take action on an altruistic basis. This journey that Pip undertakes drives him into the depths of confusion and misery, from which he emerges a model of a true gentleman as a result of his moral education. Pip’s first stage of moral development proves to be one of departure from the simplicity and happiness of the forge, caused by the cruelty that a cold and beautiful girl displays, into the realm of appearances, impostors, and selfishness. His second stage is a decent further into the depths of illusion, in which Pip partakes in an empty quest to find true satisfaction. With the disclosure of a shocking and disheartening revelation from a convict, Pip begins to reject the notion of one’s value as being based on property and status, and comes full circle back to the sweet simplicity and true love of his old friends. In a sense, Pip’s journey propels him through a rise and fall of appearances. Stage one of Pip’s moral development begins with the innocent naivet? of a child haunted by guilt, and closes with the snobbish rejection of a “gentleman” plagued with shame. Pip had always been content living with his sister and her husband, Joe, despite her random violent rampages. Joe and Pip were “ever best of friends”?even more than friends, “soulmates”. Although there was a difference of age, the two were on identical mental pages. In the early portion of the novel, Pip possesses an incredible amount of fear and guilt, which permits his conscience to grow and develop. Such guilt is displayed through such various trials as stealing bread from Mrs. Joe and fighting with a peer at Miss Havisham’s. Pip fears that if Joe were to discover these incidents, his confidence in Pip would be lost forever. The first glimpse of a hostile sentiment towards Joe and the forge occurs with the initial encounter between Pip and the dark, mysterious Miss Havisham, and her equally chilling adopted daughter, Estella. Trained to wreak revenge on the male race, Estella brutally ridicules Pip’s coarse hands and thick boots, as well as his habit of calling knaves, Jacks. In addition to guilt that he feels for having specifically committed wrongful actions, Pip becomes ashamed over factors of which he has no control. He even feels shame for his companion Joe and the forge. “I wished Joe had been rather more genteelly brought up, and then I should have been so too” (Chapter 8, page 92). An attitude of rejection and embarrassment is acquired as a result of his infatuation with this distant and unattainable “star,” as Pip experiences humiliation at her hands. Stemming from this bondage of shame, Pip lies about his visit to Satis House when questioned by his guardians. The forge and his apprenticeship to Joe have become issues of extreme dissatisfaction in Pip’s life, for fear of Estella’s possible sighting of him at work while at his grimiest and commonest. Pip’s first glimpse of the inauthenticity and phoniness which will underlie his actions in London, occur during his weekly venture to see Miss Havisham. While not terribly significant in itself, the eavesdropping on her “toady and humbug” relatives provides an insight into the nature of sophisticated appearances that will dominate Pip’s actions in the near future. While dining at the Three Jolly Bargemen, a renowned London lawyer, Jaggers, tumbles onto the scene with news that Pip has “great expectations,” and is to receive a magnificent sum. Jaggers, himself a manipulator of truth and appearances, allows Pip his long-awaited opportunity to transform into a gentleman in order to win the love of Estella, albeit in a superficial and shallow manner. With each passing day Pip becomes more pompous and egotistical. To properly fulfill (as he believes) the role of a gentleman, Pip purchases a complete wardrobe, basing his judgment of a gentleman solely on appearance. By this point, Joe and Biddy have become “inferiors” and practically forgotten. However, the night before departing for London, Pip feels for a brief moment a sense of remorse and sadness for leaving. I had been so innocent and little there, and all beyond was so unknown and great, that in a moment with a strong heave and sob, I broke into tears…and said, `Good-bye O my dear, dear friend!’ (Chapter 19, page 186) Although not thoroughly understanding the details, Pip is now bound to his expectations, allowing a vulnerability which sets himself up for collapse with an eventual revelation that indeed, Miss Havisham was not his benefactor, and that indeed, Estella was never meant for him.

Pip’s second stage of moral development is the stage of decent, as he wallows more deeply in the mud of his misconceptions of the meaning of a gentleman, the influences of new characters, and the cementing of his conviction of the destined love for Estella. Simply being an acquaintance of Jaggers and spending his days in the streets of London surrounding Newgate Prison, cause Pip to acquire an air of cynicism. For example, Pip does not genuinely reason that his new best pal, Herbert, will successfully achieve greatness despite his lofty goals, because of his honest and benevolent nature. From the tales and actions of Jaggers, Pip realizes that to get ahead, one must ferret any means possible to realize success?a position much akin to that which is propounded in Machiavelli’s The Prince. Pip’s expectations are dampened by the appearance of the supposedly grandiose and superb London. He is somewhat dismayed by the odor of the city, the rickety construction of his apartment, the insects residing there, and the foul prison. Even Jaggers’ office is tiny and bland (though creepy), in proportion to his status as the criminal defense lawyer. Apparently looks can be deceiving, as Pip’s visions of his expectations are not what they seemed to previously be. After Pip and Herbert find each other most agreeable and jovial, Herbert explains to Pip that, “no man who was not a true gentleman at heart, ever was, since the world began, a true gentleman in manner.” A gentleman in the fullest sense, does not one-dimensionally act properly in social gathers or take on a prosperous appearance, but must manifest himself in nature and his heart. However, Pip takes no heed as he becomes more misled into the perceptions of status, and appearances or shallowness of others: Wemmick is a character who leads two distinct and separate lives; Mr. Wopsle earns a living portraying others; and Drummle and Mrs. Pocket are nothing but self-interested, reservationists. He also is seriously misled by his own false ideas concerning Estella and the expectations regarding her. Miss Havisham (in her own subtle way) divulges to Pip her idea of the nature of real love: It is blind devotion, unquestioning self-humiliation, utter submission, trust and belief against yourself and against the whole world, giving up your whole heart and soul to the smiter?as I did! (Chapter 29, page261) Without a doubt, Pip’s every move is done with the prize of Estella in the dregs of his mind. Pip is affected by Estella in such a way, and his bondage to the image of her love forever becomes so entrenched in his head, that the thought of her having admirers is enraging to him. While this episode unravels, Pip falls deeper into debt and depends on the expectation of marrying Estella as vindication for all the misery he has dealt with. Even a membership at the Finches of the Grove leaves Pip with the bitter taste of emptiness when (as he believes) he should be enjoying himself. This is a parallel situation to his childhood when his uncompassionate relatives questioned the absence of his gratitude and happiness at Christmas dinner. Whereas Pip’s ego wishes to remain in London to see the end of his dreams played out, his heart begins to yearn for the reality and goodness of the forge and Joe Gargery. Pip’s first taste of true satisfaction arrives with a motive of altruism to alleviate financial pressure (and make up for their reckless lifestyle) from the shoulders of Herbert. While the source of misery is concentrating on oneself, Pip recognizes that true happiness comes from helping others, since he feels a sense of pride in playing the role of benefactor. Pip also loses the emptiness and guilt for a time, since, for once, his expectations have done some good to somebody. But alas, Pip must be completely humbled and familiar with suffering before any dramatic moral can appear: All the truth of my position came flashing on me; and its disappointments, dangers, disgraces, consequences of all kinds, rushed in in such a multitude that I was borne down by them and had to struggle for every breath I drew. (Chapter 39, page 336) Just what is this tragic and fateful occurrence? The revelation that Pip’s sole benefactor is the very convict whom he had shown compassion to on the marshes as a child. Fear and shame are reinstated into the mindset of Pip. Fear of first residing in the same room with this beast, and also by the fact that Magwitch is wanted dead by London authorities after escaping from prison; shame from Estella’s reaction if she knew of this association with a convict (ironically Magwitch is her father). It seems that Pip has been trained to be a gentleman based on wealth, prosperity, education, and refinement, in order to compete with Magwitch’s nemesis, Compeyson, who is a gentleman convict. As Magwitch’s response to the world, Pip is (mis)led to believe that money is the answer to all of life’s posing inquiries. For Pip, this horrible moment of anagnorisis (moment of revelation), peripeteia (reversal of fortune), and catastrophe (tragic downfall) occurs with the creaking of an aged, familiar man’s footsteps up the stairwell. Pip’s expectations, as opposed to the real expectations, have been shattered; since Pip had placed so much thought in planning to wed Estella, he is absolutely devastated by the news of Magwitch. This tragic blow to Pip’s morale destroys, he believes, any experience of reward from life, as he heavily regrets abandoning the authenticity of the forge and loyal Joe and Biddy.

The third and final stage of Pip’s moral education, focuses on the low point of his expectations; however, eventually he is lifted, through a fall of appearances, to the reunion with his old friends; after making the connection through suffering that true goodness is judged by inner worth, and discovering his own worth in the process. Jaggers’ statement, “Take nothing on its looks; take everything on evidence,” (Chapter 40, page 351) sets in motion the desire to deviate from the path of false perceptions and break the pattern of self-interestedness. His infatuation transforms into a more deep-seated love for Estella?Pip’s earnestness almost moves her when he completely pours out his feelings, and objects to her marriage to Drummle based not on selfishness, but her own best interest. As Pip suffers through this final bout of misery, Miss Havisham concludes that revenge is empty, regretting the manner in which she lived her life. The degeneration of his selfishness can be found risen to a higher plateau, when, at great personal risk, Pip gets burned for Miss Havisham who has been the cause of his being spurned and offended in the past. This fire represents all the remnants of Pip’s impurities being cleansed in the wholeness of the forge. Two paradoxes of the novel are, first, that self-salvation is achieved through serving others; and second, that to fully discover oneself again, one must be stripped of everything superficial. Pride had previously hindered Pip’s view of human goodness, but now a softening change is being erected in his life which rejects the notion of property equating value. His false, ignorant sense of what a gentleman is, was the factor behind Pip’s abandonment of Joe and Biddy (true paradigms of gentleness). Now that Pip has broken out of the cycle of this preoccupation, he realizes that his expectations were nothing but “poor dreams,” and that he had gravely placed too much weight on them. Just as the de-evolution of his moral journey began with breaking from the forge, creating a pattern of bondage, Dickens now employs an anchor being lifted to portray the liberation that Pip feels from his great expectations. Having been torn from his values and having carried onerous suffering for too long, Pip recalls a place where love, goodness, and sincerity flow like milk and honey?the forge. Proper conduct for a moral hero includes being contemplative and reflective, and, while in the grasp of evil Orlick, Pip seizes the opportunity to express his pain in his mind. Joe and Biddy would never know how sorry I had been that night; none would ever know what I had suffered, how true I had meant to be, what an agony I had passed through. The death close before me was terrible, but far more terrible than death was the dread of being misremembered after death. (Chapter 53, page 436) Pip vehemently regrets taking his true friends for granted, worrying above all that, without a chance to express himself once again, he will never be remembered truly; and that is the most terrifying part of all. Pip rejuvenates with a fresh enthusiasm for life, beginning with a new optimistic perspective. “From me too, a veil seemed to be drawn, and I felt strong and well” (Chapter 53, page 444). This, the veil of shame, guilt, misery, suffering, bondage, pride, infatuation, and deceit, is the discarding of the curtain of grayness described as clouding Pip’s heart at the conclusion of the first stage. A new circumspection is acquired, replacing the old, narrow lens, which allows Pip to realize the value of even the lowliest creatures of society, such as Magwitch. Despite all of Magwitch’s stratagems, however, Pip is resolved not to continue on in his role as a gentleman. “…he need never know how his hopes of enriching me had perished” (Chapter 54, page 457). With the image of the light of judgment in the courthouse, Pip’s moral maturity is near completion when his repugnance for this old, pitiful convict is melted away in light of how everyone will be faced with a similar circumstance to a higher deity. Pip shows true love for Magwitch, as well as empathy, resignation, and self-sacrifice. When Provis leaves this earth, Pip’s thoughtfulness and contemplation become augmented, as these traits aid Pip in obtaining self-knowledge. Through his love and commitment for this convict, Pip is proven to contain the moral, inner characteristics of a true gentleman, based not on varnish, but rather the genuine Victorian qualities of kindness and altruism. While lying sick on his bed, Pip undergoes a type of katabasis: through all of his experiences of suffering and loss, he becomes transformed, refreshed, and reborn, as his old sense of self-righteousness is murdered. Through this death and resurrection, Pip clearly acknowledges the wonderful Christian morals and simple standards possessed by Joe. During his psychological divergence, Pip becomes overtly penitent for his actions and is obsessed with the need for repentance. He returns to Joe leaving any trace of untruthfulness behind, and at once he is forgiven by his most cherished friends, the past deeds forgotten. Pip achieves a state of peace where he experiences his best night’s sleep since his childhood. He continues to work honestly and live frugally with Herbert, where he concludes that it was possible for Herbert to succeed, as this misconception was a matter of Pip’s own inaptitude. Now that Pip is living simply with Herbert and Clara, he is completely satisfied ( in his former lifestyle, nothing was enough). Through their experiences of suffering and confusion, Pip and Estella finally achieve a moral development on the same level of love based on their present self-knowledge and the knowledge that the true worth of love and forgiveness is irreplaceable. Philip Pirrip’s journey through the stages of moral development leads him to complete the circuit back into the loving and caring arms of his unsophisticated, yet authentic and wise friends, Joe and Biddy. His adventures have destroyed his placing any value whatsoever on appearances and prideful wealth, and any enthrallment of a cold, trained woman; changing them into an appreciation for the moral worth of human beings, and unconditional love. This journey brought him up “by hand” by Mrs. Joe on the marshes; witnessed the criticisms of a harsh playmate, effecting a loathsome shame; forced him to reject the goodness of his past life in exchange for the snobbish, false life as a “gentleman”; taught him the bitter tribulations of unhappiness and debt; slammed his dreams into the pavement by a convict from his past; awakened him to the notion of a tangible love, not only for those who are lovable, but for the dirtiest wretches of the earth; and flung him back into warmth of his beloved forge, where he could have spent numerous simple and contented years with Biddy. Pip, however, learned the difficult way that the manner in which one appears on the surface cannot serve as an accurate label for the real human value of that person, one with whom he could share love and cherish through all of life’s celebrations and defeats.

Joe Gargery:

Joe is the only one of Dickens’ characters who stands opposed to and apart from the main current of action. He stays away from London, for the most part, and only intervenes when needed. He is always present in Pip’s mind, and tends to remind both Pip and the reader of those values in Pip that were crushed during the evolution of his expectations. Joe is an honest and industrious fellow, although he sometimes comes across as foolish to other characters in the novel. He is also a generous and forgiving man, which is illustrated by his reaction to having some food taken from his house by the convict. Joe tells the convict that he was welcome to it, since it kept the convict from starving. Joe is also the only character in the novel with no real property. All that he counts as his own are his tools; all else, in Joe’s mind, belongs to Mrs. Joe. His freedom from material goods and the desire for them sets him apart from the “gentlemen” like Pumblechook in the novel. Joe was a child of an abusive family; his father was a drunkard and beat Joe and his mother. The epitaph that Joe composes for his father reveals the extent of his forgiving nature. The same epitaph, “Whatsum-er the failings on his part, Remember, reader, he were that good in his hart,” applies to Pip, as well, as he finishes his adventures. Joe is far more significant than the virtuous and kindly blacksmith he appears to be. Dickens refers to him as “holy”, and the cottage has an air of “sanctity” for Pip. Joe is opposed to all false values, and does not present his view in bombastic speeches, but rather within himself and in his convictions. Joe also rejects the importance of property, pretty speech, and manners. Joe is also a very honorable and dignified man, which is sensed immediately by Miss Havisham. His understanding of peopleand his sensitivity allows him to sense intuitively whether he is wanted by Pip or is merely making him uncomfortable. The fire of Joe’s forge is the light of the innate goodness of man, and a light of hope amidst the false lights of the world that Dickens presents in Great Expectations.

Phillip Pirip (Pip):

An understanding of Pip is essential to an understanding of Great Expectations. He is both the central character and narrarator of Great Expectations. The entire story is told through the eyes of an adult Pip, even though Pip is a small child during parts of it. In his early years, Pip was strongly influenced by his guardians, Joe Gargery and his wife, Mrs. Joe. Joe instills a sense of honesty, industry, and friendliness in Pip, while Mrs. Joe does a great deal to contribute to his desires and ambitions through her constant emphasis on pomp and property. Pip is generally good-natured and thoughtful, and very imaginative. His false values, which are bolstered by his love of Estella, decrease the amount of respect that he has for Joe. His alienation from Joe and Joe’s values builds through the second part of the novel, as Pip becomes selfish, greedy, and foolish. During the period when his expectations are intact, his only morally positive act was to secretly help Herbert Pocket into a good position. Upon discovering that Magwitch is his benefactor, a new phase begins in Pip’s moral evolution. At first, Pip no longer feels the same human compassion for Magwitch that he did the first time he saw him out on the marshes. Gradually, Pip changes his perception of Magwitch, unlearning what he has learned. Pip becomes concerned with the man, and not the expectations that he could provide. When Jaggers presents the thought that there may be a way for Pip to get his hands on Magwitch’s property, the idea sounds hollow and utterly empty to Pip. Pip learns about Estella’s parentage through Magwitch, and that his aspirations were falsely based. When Pip is arrested for his debts and becomes too ill to go to prison, Joe tends to him. Thus, the positive values which Joe had shown Pip as a child are reinforced. After the ruination of Pip’s expectations, the only good he experiences comes directly from the only good he did for others while his expectations where intact. From the beginning to the end of the novel, Pip loses and then rediscovers the importance of human relationships and virtue over wealth and position.

Miss Havisham:

Miss Havisham was once a beautiful and desirable woman; however, by the time she is first encountered in the novel, she is far from being such. She was the victim of a clever scheme to cheat her out of wealth in which Compeyson, Magwitch’s mortal enemy, was involved. After being cheated, she is hurt deeply by being betrayed by a loved one, and pushed into insanity. She devotes her life to wreaking vengeance upon men for the way she was wronged. Estella becomes the vehicle of Miss Havisham’s revenge, and Miss Havisham attempts to mold her into a being of pure malevolence. Only in the end of the novel, after the death of Miss Havisham, does Estella’s heart change from the block of ice it had become. Pip becomes the victim of Miss Havisham’s machination. She fosters his notion that she is his benefactor, and attempts to expand the relationship between Pip and Estella so that Pip will be more deeply hurt when Estella rejects him. Never at one moment does she stop to consider Pip or his feelings. Her warping of Estella was quite inconsiderate as well, and brought a great deal of suffering to the both of them. Miss Havisham is not an evil woman, however. She treats Pip with some kindness when she first meets him, and recognizes Joe as a good man of principle. Miss Havisham also repents her actions compeltely towards the end of the novel. Her repentance comes too late, however, as she has no more life to start anew. The warped nature of her surroundings and herself is a horrifying testament to her powerful passions and forceful will.

Great Expectations- Read it!

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