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Rich People Are Snobs. Great Expectations

By Lyelca Nov 28, 2010 2479 Words
Ben Benmore How does Dickens present childhood in "Great Expectations"? In Victorian times, children had a very suppressive upbringing; "spare the rod and spoil the child" was a common motto. Children were treated poorly and unfairly, they were expected to be seen and not heard. In "Great Expectations", Pip is treated very harshly by his sister, Mrs Joe, "...she had brought me up by hand...and knowing her to have a hard and heavy hand". This shows that Pip is hit by Mrs Joe, the use of the adjectives "hard and heavy" emphasises the force of her strike. Another example of Pips harsh treatment is, "Tickler was a wax-ended piece of cane, worn smooth by collision with my tickled frame." Pip is often caned by Mrs Joe, the personification and irony of "tickler" gives a sense of them not wanting to admit the truth of the "tickle", and this may contribute

The children nowadays are too difficult to educate. They don’t have respect for their parents or for any other adult. For this reason parents don’t know what to do and desperate. Because of this they can’t find other way out than beating the children. This can be very useful in some cases and in a controlled manner, but if you exceed it can cause serious problems in the kid and also in the family. So, is it necessary to beat children to educate them?

First of all, if you educate a small child very toughly, beating him and punishing him, you can have control over him so you can in some way know that he will behave well and that he will learn to have respect for his parents and for the other persons. Also it would be easier to teach him good manners that is an every-father dream, so they find that this way of educate him is the perfect one.

With this treatment, the child also starts creating a tough personality and character. This can be very useful in the future because he can confront difficulties and problems without being afraid or doubtfully. For example, when you see a kid at school which you know has been very loved when small and that passes all day long beside his mother kissing her and all that, you can almost be sure that he will be very shy and no one will have respect for him. All this is because people that were educated by this way have a weak personality, which can be very bad and painful to a grown up kid.

But in some cases, parents go on beating and beating his kid and don’t realize the damage they are causing to his own son. All of this can cause serious mental and psychological problems in the kid. In some of them, these mind problems, hide behind the tough and hard personality so no one realize of it. As a result of this, children start to have social problems at school, and start loosing friends until they are left alone. “It's in study after study: Boys who grow up in violent homes are likely to become batterers. They are the schoolyard bullies” And everyone knows what happens to a child with no friends, he can fall into a depress and the better ages of his lives could be wasted because of this.

The consequence that I find more tragic and sorry for, is the fact that the relation between son and parent can be seriously damaged with this. The communication between them is every time more difficult, and obviously the child doesn’t trust in his own father, so clearly they cannot relate between them in a normal way. This makes the son see his parent as a monster or something and feels very afraid of even talking to him.

As a conclusion we can say that beating children in a moderate way and only when is it is strictly necessarily, it is fine. If you exceed on this, you can cause too much damage and problems which can leave the kid much worst than before. And also that in my opinion parents need to realize that unless you associate doing something bad with a punishment, not necessarily beating him, kids will walk all over you and everyone else in society.

Social class played a major role in the society depicted in Charles Dickens's Great Expectations. Social class determined the manner in which a person was treated and their access to education. Yet, social class did not define the character of the individual.


Many characters were treated differently because of their social class in Great Expectations. Seeing the contrast between how the poor and the rich were treated will give a clearer understanding of how much social class mattered. In chapter 27 when Joe comes to see Pip, he treats Joe in a different manner than before because Joe was now in a lower social class. His feelings about Joe's arrival were "Not with pleasure... I had the sharpest sensitiveness as to his being seen by Drummle." (p. 203). He was afraid that Drummle will look down on him because of Joe's lower class. Not only does Pip treat Joe differently, Joe also treats Pip differently because of their difference in social class. He begins to call Pip "sir" which bothered him because "sir" was the title given to people of higher class. Pip felt that they were still good friends and that they should treat each other as equals. Joe soon leaves and explains his early parting, "Pip, dear old chap, life is made of ever so many partings welded together, as I may say, and one man's a blacksmith, and one's a whitesmith, and one's a goldsmith, and one's a coppersmith. Diwisions among such must come...." (p. 209). He creates this metaphor than he is a common blacksmith and Pip is a goldsmith. This difference in social class had brought upon their separation. Other characters that were also judged by their social class were Magwitch and Compeyson. They were both on trial for the same crime but Compeyson got off easier than Magwitch because of his higher social class. Magwitch describes Compeyson's defense speech, ." you has afore you, side by side, two persons as your eyes can separate wide; one, the younger, well brought up... one; the elder, ill brought up... which is the worst one?" (p. 325). The decision of the trial was solely based upon social class appearance. These cases show how much social class really mattered.


In Great Expectations, a person's social class determined the amount of education they had. It is important to perceive this relationship between education and social class to clearly understand the importance of social class. A person like Joe who was a common blacksmith had no education at all. Pip, in the early days when he was low class, had a poor education at a small school. The school was not the best of schools, but it's all that the lower class had. The teacher spent more time sleeping than teaching and Pip had learned more from Biddy than from the actual teacher. Even though he had an education when he was low class, his education as a gentleman with Mr. Pocket was much greater. Another example of how social class affects education is the difference of education between the two convicts. Magwitch, born poor and low class had no education at all while Compeyson, born rich was high class and a gentleman with an education. Education is a factor in showing how social class greatly determined people's lives.


Even though social class determined many things, it did not establish a person's true inner character. Realizing this will play a part in proving that social class did matter in most but not all cases. For example, the lowest class people were Joe, Biddy, Magwitch, and Orlick. Joe and Biddy were very poor but had very good hearts. Joe was always there for Pip and Biddy had moved in to help Mrs. Joe. Magwitch was a dirty convict of the lowest class, but he turned out to be a very caring and generous man. Orlick was low class and his character also turned out to be very low because he was a murderer. The fact that there are both good and cold hearted people in the lower class shows that class has no connection with how people really are. Another example is the richer class. This includes Ms. Havisham, Estella, Herbert, Jaggers, and Wemmick. Ms. Havisham and Estella were both very wealthy but they had no heart and their intentions were to bring hell to all men. While Herbert was the opposite, he was a true friend to Pip and always stayed by his side. Jaggers and Wemmick also in the higher class had supported Pip through his gentleman years. Being aware that not all of the high class were necessarily good people states the fact that class does not determine character. Even though class mattered in most things, this is an example it did not take part in.


After exploring how class was associated with the way people were treated, how much education they had, but not with their true character, these facts have become easy to discern. With these points proved, the fact that social class mattered in most but not all things had no doubt become clear in the mind. It is strange how different social class had been back in Pip's days and now. Where will social class lead next?

"Pip changes from an innocent child to a character consumed by false values and snobbery." Explore the major incidents in Pip's childhood that contribute to this change. Pip's transition into snobbery is, I believe, a steady one from the moment that he first meets Miss Havisham and Estella. Even before that Pip started to his fall from innocence when he steals from his sister to feed and free "his" convict. But that was not easy for young Pip as his conscience played on him as he heard the floor boards screaming in vain attempts to alert Mrs. Joe. It is obvious that Pip was not comfortable doing this deed for "his" convict as he thought for a while before taking the pork pie, which was so appreciated by Magwitch. At Satis House it is almost straight away made clear to him from Estella's language, both body and spoken, that she considers him to be inferior. It is here that, he is for the first time introduced to a girl whom he is later to fall madly in love with. It is here that he is referred to only as boy.

On the contrary, Estella is a character that tends to be a snob although she is absolutely gorgeous. Estella’s level of compassion is inhumanly low for she tells Pip not to love her because; all she will do is break his heart seeing as she does not know how to love. Estella has no ability to love and is a monster. She is still looking out for Pip, trying not to break his heart but she has been raised to break his heart so she really has no choice. Second, Estella’s view on a person’s rank is society is a crucial point to the relationship they will have with her since, when Pip becomes a gentleman; Estella calls Pip, Pip instead of boy. This is a form of respect for Pip to call him by his proper name. Because this was the treatment while he was a gentleman and not while he is a blacksmith, she is showing that she has more respect for Pip with a higher rank in society. Further, Estella’s relationship with Pip is equivalent to a cat and a mouse for she is a tease to him such as when he gets her tea and she says, “‘We are not free to follow our own devices, you and I’” (Dickens 857). Thus giving him false hope and then, she marries Drummle. Even though Pip loves her, Pip will care for her, Pip wants to be with her more than anything, and she marries Drummle who can’t think about anyone except himself. This was a cruel thing to do and shows Estella’s monster quality; how Miss Havisham has trained Estella to not have the gift of loving. Estella then at the end may have gotten together with Pip after an abusive relationship with Drummle. Dickens leaves it a mystery what really happened to Pip and Estella. Estella, in the end gets what she deserves. Whether she gets with Pip and that is to make up for her horrifying marriage, or it just wasn’t enough to let her finally love him.

One example of snobbery is on the part of Estella and her rejection of Pip. While playing a card game, she refers to Pip as a "Jack" which is a pun on the word "knave". She suggests that Pip is below her and that she should not associate with him because of that. Pip is drawn to Estella, whose name means "star", but is snubbed by her. Estella has learned her snobbery from Miss Havisham who was snubbed by her former fiance. The act of snubbing in the novel is an attempt to obtain power over others, and is a major theme in the novel.

We usually think of snobbery as something committed by Miss Havisham and Estella. However, Pip also shows snobbery in Chapter 12 when he and Joe visit Miss Havisham. Even though Joe is dressed in his Sunday clothes, the best he has, Pip is embarrassed by the way Joe looks. He decides that Joe he “looked far better in his working dress.” Pip is even more embarrassed when Joe refuses to talk to Miss Havisham directly and instead talks to her through Pip. Pip says, “I was ashamed of the dear good fellow.” Even then, Pip is showing the beginnings of becoming a snob by wishing Joe would be something he can never be. And yet Joe is the best father-figure a boy could wish for. When Pip begins his apprenticeship, he is ashamed of being a blacksmith. He says, “it is a most miserable thing to feel ashamed of home.” He is terribly afraid that Estella might come to the forge and see Joe and Pip working and getting dirty at the fire. So Pip tries to teach Joe simply because“wanted to make Joe less ignorant and common, that he might be worthier of my society and less open to Estella’s reproach.” At this point, Pip snobbery makes it impossible for him to truly appreciate Joe's guidance and friendship.

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