The leading character of the novel is Phillip Pirrip or as known as Pip. The novel centres on him and throughout the novel we follow his life. He is the male lead and also the narrator of the novel. The novel has many big issues one of these are society where people stand and are put down in classes of how well they can cope with the surroundings, in the 1800s when great expectations was set society had strict rules on which I will later explain. This essay will concentrate on the theme of dreams and how aspirations can change life’s and how dreaming can affect oneself.
One of the greatest of Victorian writers was born on February 7, 1812. At that time Victorian Britain was going through industrial revolution where Britain was improving and growing. As being the richest country in the world it was named as an industrial super power. Apparently every working class citizen worked in mills or factories where it was hard and they were underpaid, others worked in equally difficult jobs such as a blacksmith. At that time sometimes a rich person may become a benefactor to a poor person, giving them support and inheritances so he or she can go on to become a lady or gentleman.
Although Britain was rich poverty was an issue, poverty was hated by Charles Dickens and was anxious by the situation of the poor and people in Britain, especially children. His novels where serialised in daily papers and in them novels he wanted to send through a simple message and to make people of the upper and middle class aware of the situation and state the working class people were in. most of his novels centralised on an orphan child, novels such as Oliver twist.
This novel caused chaos amongst the upper class people as they were astounded and could not believe hardship still existed. As I said that they were serialised, this is because everybody was able to afford it and so readers loved his novels and could not wait for the next instalment. Dickens started with comical novels with easy messages to understand such as Oliver twist and Christmas carol but as he aged he wrote darker and deeper novels such as bleak house and Great expectations.
The main feature in this novel is the idea of dreams. All the characters in this novel are controlled by there own aspirations and most of these dreams are naï¿½ve which causes inconsistency and disenchantment in the novel. In this novel dreams are linked with people from a lower social status with characters wanting better for themselves or others. Briefly speaking, in this novel Mrs Joes dream is for pip (Phillip pirrip) to become a gentleman, a dream based on social snobbery. There is no way of happening as there is little chance of social improvement in Victorian society. Joes dream is for pip to become his blacksmith apprentice and ever the best of friends. With both of these dreams a conflict is to be caused between the husband and wife.
The main character and narrator of the novel, Pip is a man that all through his young life tries to better himself because he is ashamed of who he is, and where he came from. When fortune falls in his lap, Pip is forced to realize that money does not make you happy, and that it cannot buy what he wants most, Estella’s love. Miss Havisham, A woman with a severely broken heart, she lives her life as if time stopped at twenty minutes to nine and daylight does not exist. Her only tender emotions she reserves for her adopted daughter Estella who she raises to break men’s hearts. Pip becomes a toy to her and a boy for Estella to practice on.
Abel Magwitch, A convict and Pip’s benefactor; at different times in the story Magwitch is both villain and hero. After the loss of his daughter, Magwitch develops affection for the young boy who brings him food, brandy, and a file. Wanting the boy to be all he couldn’t be, he devotes his life to making money and giving it to the boy to be a gentleman. Magwitch risks his life so he can see Pip. Phillip pirrip or pip is an orphan raised by his domineering sister and her kind husband, before he had any expectations he was just a simple boy.
“My father’s family name being Pirrip, and my Christian name Phillip, my infant tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit than Pip. So, I called myself Pip, and came to be called Pip.” (Pg. 3) This is the opening statement of Dickens’s novel and it shows us how simple the young Pip was before his expectations ever began. From the day that Miss Havisham invites pip to meet her and her adopted child Estella, pips life is to be changed. After seeing Estella who is a beautiful child pips desire and dream commences and from now on he wants to be a gentleman. As Joe was his best friend and he had the hope that Pip would become his apprentice.
The word blacksmith is hated by him. Miss Havisham treats him like himself but he does not accept the fact and although he hates her still he comes back to her. This is mostly for Estella; he is so unconscious that he keeps on going back with the intention that only she is his chance of improvement again just relying on others for support. Further on in the story his dream partly comes true as he has an unknown benefactor who is later presented as Abel Magwitch who in pips young days was a horrific person that pip helped escape.
Even though his dream has come true he has one more desire which is to marry Estella but the novel is later twisted with a series of events. Pip has neither the self control nor the experience of becoming a true gentleman, he ends up spending more than what is expected leaving him in debt and later imprisoned now he is back where he started from and also Estella gets married which now his heart is shattered. No improvement has been made in pips fortune, in his life we find that his dreams were shattered even though they came true this maybe because he has imperfection in his personality and does not hesitate and think ahead.