Shawshank Redemption Essay, Research Paper
Great Expectations: Father figures, mentors and patrons
Pip s quest for identity is until the return of Magwich, based on false values. In this quest he is influenced by (for good or for ill) a number of figures whom he regards almost as surrogable parents. Write an essay, which closely considers the role of each the role of each of the following father figures, mentors and patrons, evaluating their influences on Pip in terms of the novels themes. Use detailed reference to the text and brief relevant quotations to illustrate your observations.
Jaggers is Pip s guardian, by the exiled Magwitch. He is a well-known barrister and his widely respected by everyone, criminals and gentlemen . He is a barrister, who will always try and get his clients off their sentence, using any means possible, even if they are illegal. He may use false witnesses and plant evidence to get his clients off the sentence. In this sense, he is no better than his clients and he knows this but he always tries to distance himself from the underground, poverty oppressed world that he ends up defending. He does this both mentally and physically, by washing his hands after speaking to a client, to almost wipe the problems of his clients away, sot that he can mentally picture himself taking the moral high ground. Morals- this is another interesting factor. There are no morals and each man has to be greedy to succeed. Jaggers is amoral and immoral at the same time, he knows that to succeed he has to cheat and fake witnesses, but he know what is right and wrong and good and evil. He knows that his actions are immoral, but society was not governed by morals at that time. He is also so careful to makes sure that no one can detect his corruption, in the language he uses , use informed Pip, not told. As so not to implicate himself and speak in an almost kind of code, in case of any people listening.
He said this when he was being supportive toward Pip and less aggressive, but generally he is operates in an aggressive manner both towards people, clients and really anyone. When we first meet him properly in the Jolly Bargemen at Pip s hometown, Mr Wopsle is reading a drama about a courtroom drama to Joe and some other acquaintances in the presence of Jaggers. When he finishes reading Jaggers asked him what he thought the outcome of the case would be, he thought the defendant guilty, but Jaggers then said How can you be so sure, without hearing complete evidence? and the mood of a light hearted atmosphere changes as Jaggers starts to almost lecture Wopsle about making predictions before full evidence was heard. The atmosphere changed just by Jaggers seeming pleasure in telling people that they were wrong. He also has a habit of throwing is forefinger at people when speaking to them which makes the receiver feel as if they are being interrogated.
He can do this and know that a person will not retaliate is because people would not dare anger him or try and dent his pride, because he has helped so many criminals get off charges, the person who had tried to harm Jaggers would have the criminal population to answer to as well. He also takes pride in this, by saying that he can leave his house unlocked without being robbed, because he is so respected. He is almost a megalomaniac and is obsessed by his power.
When Pip and talks to the reader about his feelings about Jaggers, he uses negative language, Jagger s dark office, with the two masks that remind him of death. It is grimy and dirty. The wall is particularly dirty where clients have been backed against it. The place seems so dirty, with the blacks and flies everywhere and everything layered with dust and grit that lay thick . Pip, the narrator, repeatedly uses words such as twisted , distorted , dreadful , and twitchy while describing the office. All these words create an eerie atmosphere as well as a spooky image of Mr. Jaggers. Mr. Jaggers is a powerful character that is harsh, and everything about him seems frightening and fierce. The room indirectly gives an impression on what Mr Jaggers is like; his high arm chair with horsehair nailed with brass nail, like a coffin. This armchair acts as a way of expressing his power. It is ironic how someone with so much power would use horsehair (whereas a gentleman might use leather), killing an animal, to use as part of his furniture. And yet, this hair is nailed down onto the chair, as if the power would run away.
An old rusty pistol, a sword in a scabbard, several strange- looking boxes and packages. The objects that are lying around his room don t seem like things that a real barrister would have laying around in his office. There is not so many papers about which is also quite odd. Two dreadful casts on a shelf, of faces peculiarly swollen, and twitchy about the nose. These casts being twitching about the nose might act as the upper class are watching Mr. Jaggers.
Yet Pip never says anything against him. He has the utmost respect for Jaggers. I believe it is the manner that Jagger s has about him that seems to command respect, the way he is so precise to not implicate himself. When Jagger s invites Pip to dinner with him, Pip hates the occasion because Pip s arch-rival Bentley Drummel. Jaggers likes Drummel and refers to him affectionately as Spider. Why? Does he genuinely lkike him or is it that Drummel, this lazy, greedy, useless man confirms all hs disillusions of man and justifies his cynicism? I think the latter.
Pip admires Jaggers dedication to work aand his proffesionalism. He learns indirectly from Jaggers that he should always question authority and the roots of a persons power. He admires Jaggers because he is a powerful figure that is successful because of his intelligence to question things and argue. Also going to Jaggers offices gives Pip a wake up call that the world of the genteel is what Jaggers workplace is. Filthy. I do not think that it is because Jaggers is the middleman in the exchange of Magwitch s money, because Jaggers is doing his job. He gets paid by Magwitch to do the job and he does it because that is what he is paid to do.
Joe is the only character who is away from the main part of action. He stays away from London, for the most part, and only intervenes when Pip wants to see him or is needed by him. 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 development of his expectations. Joe is an honest man, although he comes across as an idiot to some characters in the novel. He is also a generous and forgiving man, which is clear in 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, “Whatsumever the failings on his part, Remember, reader, he were that good in his heart,” 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 a long-winded speech, but rather within himself and in his actions. Joe also rejects the importance of property, pretty speech, and manners. Yet this does not make him ignorant as he regards Pip educatoion crucial and thinks of it and even tries his hand at it even though Pip s attempts are in vain. Also he has an understanding of people and sensitivity that allows him to sense whether he is wanted by Pip or is merely making him uncomfortable. The fire of Joe’s forge is symbolic or Joes goodness in a world corrupt by greed and evil.
Joe creates a sense of honesty, morality and friendliness in Pip, while Mrs. Joe does a great deal to contribute to his desires and ambitions through her constant emphasis on the genteel and property. Pip is generally good-natured and thoughtful.
However when Pip goes to Satis House to play and please the mysterious Miss Havisham, he meets Estella. Here he first starts to reject Joe s simplicity thoughtfulness and good nature, because Estella is not impressed by his status of being the orphan of a Blacksmith. Unfortunately for Pip and Joe this decreases the amount of respect that he has for Joe. His alienation from Joe and Joe’s values builds as Pip becomes selfish, greedy, and foolish. The first glimpse of a hostile emotion towards Joe and the forge is over his appearance. Estella ridicules Pip’s coarse hands and thick boots, as well as his habit of calling Jacks, Jacks instead of knaves. In addition to guilt that he feels for having done wrong things, 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.” An attitude of rejection and embarrassment is created as a direct result of his infatuation with the distant and unattainable, sophisticated image of the genteel and beauty (Estella).
He pursues further the illusion of the genteel and status, in which Pip partakes in an empty quest to find true satisfaction. However, his pursuit of satisfaction via the genteel stops abruptly when he finds out about Magwitch being his benefactor. Pip begins to reject the idea that was impose on him by Estella, Pumblechook, Havisham and Mrs Gargery. of one’s value being based on property and status, and comes back to the simplicity and true love of his old friends. In a sense, Pip’s journey takes him through a rise and fall of appearances. He starts off severely disliking gentlemen, by the image given to him by Pumblechook, he meets Estella and Satis House and his views change of the genteel and rejects the simple love and kindness shown to him a the Forge for a pursuit of genteel and after realising how much he had over estimated the values of the genteel and under estimated the love shown to him by Joe, Biddy, the Pockets and to a certain extent Magwitch, he returns to a diluted version of his original views.
Pip went to play at Satis House for Miss Havisham, he did this and because Miss Havisham was the only rich and wealthy person that the Gargerys knew, Pip automatically assumed that Miss Havisham was his benefactoress. He also thought Estella was meant for him as well.
Miss Havisham hated men ever since her terrible marriage to Compeyson who engaged to her for the Havisham family s money which he made a pot of gold from. To make revenge against man she adopts Estella, not as a loving action but to turn her into a cold hearted, haughty woman, who would make men obsessed with her by her very good looks. Estella was encouraged to practise this on Pip, to break his heart. Paradoxically, this was Havishams biggest mistake. She hardened Estella and gave her a stone instead of a heart , by doing this, Estella s lack of humanity and negative feelings would backfire and leave Miss Havisham alone when Miss Havisham tries to convert Estella into not being the cold person she was but Estealla replies with: “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.” Also, when Pip talks to Miss Havisham and tells her that he is still deeply devoted to her, Miss Havisham realises that Pip would have protected Estella and would not have done the things that Compeyson did to herself. She then realises that she has ruined Estellas life.
Miss Havisham was going to be engaged to Compeyson and to marry, but he left her at the last moment before their wedding and it devastated her, because she loved Compeyson so much and when she realised that she had been used for financial benfit by him, she went mad with rage. This madness caused her to do some very abnormal things: she kept all the clocks at twenty minutes to nine, she wore the same wedding dress, that she had worn when Compeyson left her, every day, despite the fact that it was now yellow with rot. She even seems twisted as she shows Pip with great delight, the room where she will be laced when she is dead. This room is infested with rats and is dark and cold and is rotting. I believe that this is symbolic of Miss Havishams mind, the rats being all the troubles and bad memories and experiences that she cannot get rid of and these troubles are now the only things that she has got to hold on to.
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 and a post box mouth. 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. I would suggest that it reminds Pip of the life he used to have at the Forge. Wemmick lives with his father, the Aged. This Aged is a very good-natured man, he does what he can for his son, like keeping a constant supply of toast and reading to him, he is also very deaf.
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 blast of the cannon greatly pleases the Aged as it is the only thing he hears. This very idealized home scene is in direct contrast with Wemmick’s office life .
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 cover, he would probably go mad. 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 development of Herbert’s future, the one good act that he performs with his money.
He also has a romantic interest in Miss Skiffins. Wemmick, when at his home, is a good example of what a true gentleman is, however, his character is completely changed when at the office.
In the office, he is like a machine. This appearance he puts forth as an illusion of a hard working man while the truth is that he is very happy and sprightly. At his comfortable, castle-like home, Wemmick is very pleasant and cheerful. Pip made the mistake of mentioning Mr. Wemmick’s dual personality in the work place, in front of Mr. Jaggers, the boss. Pip “turned to Wemmick, and said, ‘ Wemmick, I know you to be a man with a gentle heart. I have seen your pleasant home, and your old father, and all the innocent cheerful playful ways with which you refresh your business life. To which Jaggers, himself releases a bit of his hard working character, by taking a start.
High social status seems to have a beautiful appearance, but the veracity of the class system is not as good as it would seem. When Pip realizes that his true benefactor is an escaped convict named Abel Magwich, he instantly does not want the money. Magwich’s intentions were to turn Pip into a gentleman through the use of his money because of a hard lesson that Magwich learned. Magwich had been a poor man and had worked for a rich man named Compeyson. Compeyson had the appearance of a gentleman. “He set up fur a gentleman, this Compeyson, and he’d been to a public boarding-school and had learning. He was a smooth one to talk, and was a dab at the ways of gentlefolks. He was good-looking too… but he’d no more heart than an iron file, he was as cold as death, and he had the head of the devil afore mentioned. ” Compeyson’s appearance helped him in a case against him and Magwich. Compeyson said a very divulging quote to Magwich: “To judge from appearances, you’re out of luck” (373) In the trial, this was very evident. Although Compeyson had been the worse of the two in their crime, Magwich “noticed how heavy it all bore on me, and how light on him…warn’t it me as could only say, ‘Gentleman, this man at my side is a most precious rascal?’ And when the verdict come, warn’t it Compeyson as was recommended to mercy on account of good character and bad company…” (276) Magwich was sentenced to twice Compeyson’s jail time. When Magwich spoke of Compeyson in front of soldiers deciding their fate, he even stated that the appearance of a gentleman is often confused with the truth. “He’s a gentleman, if you please, this villain.” (44) When told this, a soldier said, “You’re not much to look at.” He of course was judging by mien. In this illusion of the social classes of society, one horrible, wealthy man is placed above a good poor man because of the false appearance that the upper class is better. When Estella found out that Pip had come into a vast fortune, she recommended that “‘Since your change of fortune and prospects, you have changed your companions…. And necessarily,’ she added in a haughty tone;’ what was fit company for you once would be quite unfit company for you now.’” (257) Estella’s true father is Magwich and true mother is a servant, but she is raised by a rich woman and is therefore upper-middle-class. By birth, however, she is in the bottom of lower class. In contrast, Biddy, an orphan maid, and Joe, Pip’s brother in law, both maintain the appearance of lowly on the social classes of 19th century England. However, they both have such wonderful personalities and great views on life that in reality, they are better people than the
Estella herself is isolated, as for most of the novel she takes pleasure in her role of avenger. Her isolation is in part responsible for Pips snobbery and his estrangement from Joe and Biddy. Like Miss Haversham she becomes a victim of her own machinations. She enters into a loveless marriage to Drummle, who is cruel to her. This shows that no matter how heartless one tries to be, there is always someone more heartless. The instrument of revenge punishes the avenger and is punished in return.
. Magwitch, however, is isolated by the system, he uses Pip as his agent of revenge. Magwitchs’ motives are not only revenge, but also gratitude for the food Pip gave him in his hour of need. He develops a fatherly affection towards Pip, who in the end returns his affection. It is Magwitch who has the best reasons for disbelieving in human companionship, that supported it the most.
He endures hardship and triumphantly emerges a mature, thoughtful person.
Wemmick reveals that Jaggers too can conceal the truth. In one of Jaggers cases as a lawyer, he had to try a woman named Molly for a murder case. He dressed her up in smaller, womanly clothes to make her appearance seem smaller and more petite. She was acquitted due to this illusion, although the reality behind this appearance was that she really had committed this crime. In more than one instant in this novel, the outcomes of situations are often decided on the appearance of illusions versus the truth of reality.
The mendacity of the characters and the settings in this book enforce that if one can pursue reality, the truth can be found behind an illusion. Pips expectations were thwarted because his actual dreams were shattered when the truth was revealed. The social status of 19th century England was just a forefront to rate people by their financial and economical advantages and disadvantages. In reality, social status does not mean that those richer lead better lives. In actuality, the lower class is above the upper classes because of the moral merit that they possess in comparison to those above them. The settings in Great