Great Expectations

Topics: Great Expectations, Charles Dickens, Miss Havisham / Pages: 3 (583 words) / Published: Nov 24th, 2013
Great Expectations
Whose Life is it Anyway?

How do you determine whether the life you are living is the life you call your own? Many people may find themselves being lead through life as opposed to leading their own because of external influences. This is the case of Pip, the protagonist in Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. Great Expectations is a classic novel about a young, lower class boy whose life is forever changed from exposure to an upper class woman named Miss Havisham. One can argue that the people in his life are what advance the narrative of Pip’s life although it seems that Pip is in control as it is written from his perspective.

As the novel begins, Pip is living the life of his sister, Mrs. Joe, which once belonged to his parents prior to their death. Pip confidently says, “I had known, from the time when I could speak, that my sister, in her capricious and violent coercion, was unjust to me” (p 63), yet he had no other choice but to obey her. It is clear that Mrs. Joe is constructing Pip’s life at this point because there would be no novel if it was just about Pip in the marshes. However, Mrs. Joe as well as Mr. Pumblechook, force Pip to go to Miss Havishams house.

The exposure to an upper class lifestyle at the house of Miss Havisham and Estella is the source of Pip’s great expectations. Pip is solely a source of entertainment for old and dispirited Miss Havisham but of course he has no power to object. It is as if she was holding Pip by puppet strings as she and Estella cause him to question his life of which he does not have control. Estella for example, makes fun of his lower class appearance, which generates self-consciousness as he says, “I took the opportunity of being alone in the court-yard, to look at my coarse hands and my common boots.” (p 62). Pip began to formulate an idea in Pips head to strive for a more respectable lifestyle. This leads us to believe that Miss Havisham is determining the fate of a poor, young boy,

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