Great Expectations Essay Research Paper Great Expectationsby

Great Expectations Essay, Research Paper

Great Expectations

by: Charles Dickens

In the book Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, the dominant theme is

that true goodness and the value of goodness comes from inside a person, not

their standing in society, or their wealth. There are some characters in the

book who were aware of this, while there are some who tied to find out the hard

way. Those who found out the hard way lead very difficult lives, and those who

knew this truth, led more peaceful, and fulfilling lives.

The main character of the novel, Pip, starts out as a little boy who is

very unsatisfied with his life. He lives with his sister and her kind husband,

Joe. After Pip’s view of the upper class life, living with these “common

people” just wouldn’t do it for him. He wanted to be something better than he

was, but it’s not just because he was selfish and ignorant, it was also

contributed to by Estella, a girl Pip fell in love with. 11 … Why, he is a common

laboring-boy,” (561) were the exact words that broke Pip’s heart and drove him

to yearn so much to be a gentleman. He dreaded the word ‘@common”. It was not

good enough for his girl, Estella. He had what Dickens called “great


Pip’s expectations of are what finally bring him to realize the importance

and value of true goodness. He is brought to London where he was to become a

gentleman. But he only finds that life there was even more unsatisfying. He

grows deeper in debt, and starts loosing friends because he felt he was better

than them. When he visited Pip was actually embarrassed by him, one of the few

people who loved him most and cared for him so much when he was a child, and Pip

just turned him away. He even did the same to Magwitt@i, a person who had

dedicated his life toward helping. When Magwitch finally revealed to him that

he was Pip’s benefactor all Pip had to say was, “Oh, no, no, no… Was there no

one else!’ … Estella, Estella!” (522) All Pip cared about was himself and getting

together with Estella.

It was not until the loss of people very close to Pip, Magwitch and Miss.

Havisham, that he began to realize that goodness does not come from material

possessions, and social standing, but from inside a person. When Pip lost

Magwitch, his eyes were opened and he realized how ignorant and selfish he had

been to the people who cared for him.

On the other hand, Joe, was pretty much the opposite of Pip in his

satisfaction with life. Joe realized fully, the value of true goodness. He was

completely satisfied with the way he lived and who he was. Joe did not have to

learn this the hard way as Pip did, because Joe never had a problem with who he

was. He never needed to be better or higher in society than he was, just to

prove it to himself or for someone else.

Joe even tries to help Pip feel more satisfied with his life by telling him that

he is actually Very uncommon in many ways. “You’re oncommon small. Likewise

you’re a oncommon scholar.” And he encourages him, “you must be a common

scholar afore you can be a oncommon one,” (565) to help Pip through his times

of low self-esteem- Joe is also very forgiving. Even with all the selfish ways

Pip treated him when he was “a gentleman”, Joe still continued to carp. for and

love Pip. When Pip was ill, Joe was by his side, and when Pip was in debt, Joe,

even though he is not wealthy, pays off his bills for him. This frame of mind

and knowledge of true goodness leads to Joe living a very peaceful, pleasant,

and satisfying life.

In the book, Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, while some characters must

find out that true goodness and character does not come from status or material

possessions, but from just plain kindness, the hard way, there are those gentle

more peaceful characters who realize the true value of goodness. It is obvious

that those who realize this will lead better, more satisfying lives, and not

have to figure it out for themselves the hard way.


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