Climbing Social Ladders, a characterization of Pip
Throughout our lives we meet people who go through many changes as they advance further in society; some changes are for the better of the individual, others not so much. These changes can be caused by monetary gain, advancements in their field of work, or a group of new friends. For example, in the novel Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, Pip goes through many changes in hopes of appeasing the heart and standards of the gorgeous yet cold-hearted Estella, changes such as being eager to self-improve, becoming snobby, and being shameful of his origins. From very early in the novel you discover that Pip is ambitious to better himself. For example, after confronting Estella he wishes to become refined, “I took the opportunity of being alone/ to look at my coarse hands and my common clothes. My opinion of those accessories was not favorable. They had never troubled me before, but they troubled me now, as vulgar appendages. I determined to ask Joe why he had ever taught me to call/ jacks/ to be called knaves” (71). Here Pip is realizing that he himself, for example his clothing and knowledge, is not up to the standards of ‘high society’ and Estella, especially Estella. He is also realizing that if he wishes to have any chance of anchoring Estella’s heart he must get acquainted with finer clothing and become more knowledgeable. Then, Pip wants Biddy to teach to him every ounce of knowledge she has: “The felicitous idea occurred to me/ when I woke that the best step I could take towards making myself uncommon was to get out of Biddy everything she knew” (84). Basically, Pip knows that he must become uncommon for Estella and figures that Biddy is very intelligent and can help him reach his goal of being more knowledgeable. By being taught by Biddy Pip is hoping that during his visits to Satis House that Estella will see that he is paving he way to becoming refined. Lastly, Pip strides for...
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