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 xpectations”. 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 [email protected], a person who had edicated 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 een 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 e 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 nd 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.