’s Integrity Essay, Research Paper
Wemmick’s Integrity Wemmick provides a complicated, yet interesting separation of his home life and work life. His home and work lives are as different in physical appearances as they are in personality differences. Many of his home habits allow him to express his care and decency, which contrasts with his mechanical work which lacks good value. Wemmick dedicates himself to separating the two so that he may keep his virtues intact while he works in the filth of Newgate. Wemmick is alone in his success of separation when compared to others such as Jaggers and Pip. Such dedication to keeping good values alive gives Wemmick so much integrity that he immediately becomes my favorite character. The castle in Walworth has a drawbridge, a cannon, and a fountain. We see the effects of these defenses first when he raises the drawbridge “it was very pleasant to see the pride with which he hoisted it up and made it fast; smiling as he did so, with a relish and not merely mechanically”(229). He “relishes” or gains pleasure in the working of the drawbridge; as opposed to his mechanical office mode, he really smiles. With this first insight into Wemmick’s other side, a simple integrity is revealed. The cannon, named Stinger, is mounted upon “a separate fortress, constructed of lattice-work. It was protected from the weather by an ingenious little tarpaulin contrivance in the nature of an umbrella”(229). The latticework and umbrella cover express Wemmick’s imagination in planning the castle. Another of Wemmick’s contraptions is his fountain. A mill and a cork run it. The water splashes out enough that it lands on any viewer of the fountain, which the Aged greatly enjoys. He lists his skills and says “and my own Jack of all Trades .it’s a good thing, you know. It brushes the Newgate cobwebs away, and pleases the Aged”(230). By applying his skills to working on the castle, Wemmick purges himself of the filth of Newgate and restores his virtue. One last expression of Wemmick’s happiness is “portable property”. Although it can be connected to the office, at home he creates a hobby of it, with odds and ends that he shows to Pip. Hobbies are considered symbols of happiness. The castle not only keeps out the world, but it also gives a means of expressing emotion by providing a canvass for Wemmick to create his contraptions and work on the castle. Wemmick’s treatment of people is also completely different in Walworth. When firing the cannon Wemmick tells Pip “it’s the Aged’s treat”(229). Also, in regards to the fountain, Wemmick says that it pleases the Aged. Keeping the Aged happy is one of Wemmick’s sources of goodness. Again, when nodding at the Aged during Pip’s introduction he asks “will you tip him one more? You can’t think how it pleases him”(230). Lastly, Wemmick offers no apology for letting the Aged read aloud “for he isn’t capable of many pleasures – are you, Aged P?”(315). Wemmick indulges the Aged any way he can to bring him happiness. In the office happiness is a stranger. Next, Wemmick decides to help Herbert get a business partner. At first he say “that’s not my trade”(314), yet when Pip reminds him that he is not in his trading-place, Wemmick agrees. This points out Wemmick’s dedication to complete separation of home and work life. He offers to go out of his way to help a friend. All of these quotations show Wemmick’s care and decency towards others. Wemmick is thinking to please others instead of himself as he would do at work. When at home, Wemmick seems to be bursting with integrity. The office is in Smithfield, right near Newgate Prison. Smithfield is, as described by Pip “the shameful place, being all asmear with filth and fat and blood and foam, seemed to stick to me”(189). All the filth and fat and blood are symbolic of the way in which the crime, guilt, and depravity stick to all who come into Smithfield. Crime and depravity seem to fill all the cracks and crevices of Smithfield. The office is described as a very dark and dismal place with grease on the walls and with odd things about and Mr. Jaggers’ deadly back horsehair chair(188). It also has two face plasters which give the office a creepy feeling. Such a place would cause depression without any defense. Wemmick has adapted to these surroundings by becoming a completely indifferent person without emotion.The first description of Wemmick in his office style describes him as self-contained and mechanical, with chiseled features (196). As Wemmick and Pip leave Walworth, Pip takes notice of Wemmick’s change “By degrees, Wemmick got dryer and harder .his mouth tightened into a post-office again .he looked as unconscious of his Walworth property as if .had been blown into space together by the last discharge of the Stinger”(232). Wemmick has changed into the person needed to work in the conditions of Newgate. When Wemmick takes Pip to Newgate Prison(282), the misery and hopelessness that he must defend against is revealed through is unemotional departure from the Colonel.
Wemmick’s treatment of people becomes cold and hard when he is at work. He is the person all of Jaggers’ clients are supposed to pay. The job of bill collecting definitely requires a demanding and uncaring attitude. When visiting the prison, Wemmick talks with “the Colonel”, a condemned man. They bid each other goodbye because the Colonel is going to die on Monday. Wemmick accepts the Colonel’s ring rather unemotionally. Then, he asks about his pigeon fancy, and if he may be commissioned a pair. He tells Pip later “he is sure to be executed on Monday. Still you see, as far as it goes, a pair of pigeons are portable property, all the same”(282). Wemmick shows disregard for the fact that the man is going to die and follows a chance to gain more portable property. Only in his office life would Wemmick do such a thing. For most people, this job would be incredibly stressful and extremely demoralizing. Fortunately, Wemmick has conquered this aspect of work, and compared to Jaggers or Pip, he is the only one who has completed the separation. When comparing Wemmick’s ambiguous lifestyle with Jaggers’ lifestyle, we can see how well Wemmick has succeeded in his separation of work and home. Wemmick is directly prudent about the separation in two places. First, when Pip asks Wemmick for advice on loaning Herbert money, Wemmick replies “My Walworth sentiments must be taken at Walworth; none but my official sentiments can be taken in this office”(310). Second, Pip asks if Jaggers admired Wemmick’s property “the office is one thing, and private life is another”(231). Wemmick asks Pip not to speak of the property professionally. Also, we see that Jaggers makes no distinction of work and home when Pip visits his home to find a bookshelf full of law books. In the same way, Jaggers always commands fear and respect even at home, in regards to Molly “I fancied I could detect in his manner a consciousness of this, and a purpose of always holding her in suspense”(234). He does not leave his work at work. He is always working, he is always one step ahead. We know Jaggers is capable of sympathy because he believes people can change, and that’s why he tries to give his guilty clients a second chance. Unfortunately, he cannot show it because his work demands complete coldness so he may command such fear and respect from all people. When at the prison Wemmick tells Pip “I don’t know what Mr. Jaggers does a better thing than the way in which he keeps himself so high. He’s always so high”(283), he’s telling Pip that Jaggers is always respected and commanding respect is what he does best. Jaggers is not capable of separating lives. He has only one, work, which allows no room for emotion. When Pip unintentionally squares off the two of them at work by mentioning Wemmick’s joyful home life, Wemmick defends his “pleasant home” by recommending that Jaggers should have one “when you’re tired of all this work”(424). It is quite satisfying to see Wemmick emerge as the victor in the battle of lifestyles, because his is definitely much more agreeable. In regards to Pip, he cannot separate his home life from his expectations. He is uncaring towards his family and doesn’t associate with them. He lives only in expectations as Jaggers does work. Only Wemmick succeeds in separating the two. Those of us who are suffering from a work-centered life should look to Wemmick for inspiration. We can learn from him how to allow ourselves to be able to enjoy life at home, without sacrificing out integrity at the workplace. Wemmick attains a freedom to live life to the fullest and he does it with incredible integrity. He is alone in his success, all the other characters have failed miserably, and have been left unfulfilled