Ideas for Great Expectations
Money + Social class
Within Great Expectations, the conception of the contextual element concerning status and money is prominent, where Old Money Vs New money provides a division that separates the higher class from the lower class. Money becomes a standpoint in ‘determining’ ones belonging within the society say, for example, when we compare Pip and Bentley Drummele, we view the contrasting forms of old money (indicated as immediate and absolute according to society) and new money (the development of belonging, which according to society, is not a complete form) involving their overall sense of belonging. Pip comes from a family (or lack of thereof) which is associated with poverty and the lack of social belonging that is standardised by people such as Bentley Drummele. Pips ascent from the world of a blacksmith towards a world of a gentleman is exercised by the luxuries of money, and Magwitch’s generosity, as well as the idea of upperclass and middle class belonging, which is shown through his consideration of being the apprentice of a blacksmith, ‘Never has that cutain dropped so heavy and thick’. His belonging, as a result as become enforced upon him, both by himself and by Magwitch, which has led to his inability to gain complete acceptance and peace of his position, ‘It felt very sorrowful and strange that this first night of my bright fortunes should be the loneliest I had ever known’. Dickens use of emotive language envelopes an atmosphere of uncertainty and disturbance within Pips world as he propels himself from the ‘meshes’ of Kent to London, examining his incomplete sense of belonging, due to disturbance of the ‘Victorian Great chain of Being’. Money can buy status, as indicative through Compeyson and Drummle, but neither character is noble. Money is not an indication of character, as wrongly perceived by Pip. Pip and Estella, parts of what make the lower class, are given status when given money. Given by Miss Havisham and Magwitch, there are catches involving behaving in a certain way with the money. Eventually, understanding the true comprehension of money and nobility, Pip goes to work with Herbert, redeeming himself through commerce and hard work, as Estella, left poor and ‘bent and broken’, becomes a softer and stronger person.Pip fails emotionally and physically to assert his place in London’s society. Money buys Estella a place in higher society but has a loveless life and an abusive marriage, living through ‘wretched years...and a long hard time’. Miss Havisham’s jewels and money have not brought Estella happiness, and eluded her for her whole life. Dickens attempts not to convey the luxuries of money, but rather the shallow fundamentalism of materialism which ultimately leads to an incapacity to gain belonging. Pip finds his belonging, not within the realms of his gentlemanly character, but rather, he reconnection to Joe as he re-enters the forge, leaving his regret and misery behind to venture to his real family, and a life of working hard. Through emotive language, Pip and joe are ‘both happy’, with the prospect of regaining Pip’s place within his world, as it is through Kent, and his hard work in Egypt which enable him to gain his exisential belonging and his identity. We see the social division between class through the discourse between Herbert and Mr Joe. Unlike Pip, Herbert was ‘born a gentleman’, whose belonging was not significantly thrust upon him in the same way as Pip. By asking Joe ‘What do you say to coffee’ we are compelled to develop a conclusion based on how Dickens portrays the distinguishing characteristics of the upper and the lower class. In Joe’s visit to London for Pip, Herbert puts Joe in his place through recognising that he can never truly belong within the world of the gentleman. Through colour symbolism, Dickens socially comments on the inferiority concerning the lower class, by Joe, as the colour of coffee itself is reminiscent of the labour...
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