Great Expectations

Topics: Great Expectations, Morality, Social class Pages: 3 (1338 words) Published: February 12, 2014
Great Expectations, written by Charles Dickens, was first published in the years between 1860 and 1861. It is known as a bildungsroman. In this essay I will discuss the role of education, moral awareness and social class and how these have an impact on the life of the main protagonist, Pip, a country boy received an opportunity to go to London and pursue his dream of becoming an educated gentleman. He received money from a secret benefactor, Abel Magwitch, a criminal he encounters right in the beginning of the novel, and he could go to London. Although he was a poor country boy who was brought up by hand (Dickens 7), he went to London with a huge amount of money and could have some sense of pride. In this passage Herbert teaches Pip, now nicknamed “Handel” a sense of moral awareness to act according to the social class of a gentleman to which he so desperately wants to belong. At this point in the novel, Herbert is commenting on morality and moral awareness and what is considered appropriate and inappropriate and also how one should behave if you are to become a gentleman and live an upper class lifestyle. Pip, who is a country boy and who was raised by his sister and brother -in-law, is seen as someone from the lower class. This is evident in his table manners which contrast starkly the table manners Herbert teaches him in the passage. Pip’s ignorance regarding the correct use of cutlery and glassware is evidence of this. In relation to these statements, Herbert teaches Pip table manners and how to behave if he wants to fit into the upper class. The reader immediately gets the idea that Pip does not know how to use a knife and a fork. This is evident when Herbert says, “Let me introduce the topic, Handel, by mentioning that in London it is not custom to put the knife in the mouth-for fear of accidents-and that while the fork is reserved for that use, it is not put further in the mouth than necessary ” (Dickens 179). After being corrected by Herbert, Pip does...
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