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Great Expectations: Pip Essay, Research Paper
In the novel, Great Expectations, the character of Pip matures significantly over the course of the story. Pip begins as a very na +ve and innocent boy, he develops into a snobbish and disdainful young man, and, finally, matures into a sensible man. Pip s development is affected by many factors, including his place in society, his family, a love interest, and a wealthy benefactor. As he matures, Pip develops an understanding of what is truly important in life and realizes what he nearly lost due to his snobbery.
In the beginning of the novel, Pip displays the na +vity and innocence associated with childhood. He is trusting and believes what people say unquestioningly. He also has a vivid imagination, which often causes him to worry about worst-case scenarios, regardless of the evidence against these scenarios ever becoming reality. Pip listens to what people say about him and accepts what is said as the truth. After his first visit to Miss. Havisham s, Pip returns home with a lowered opinion of himself:
. . . that I was a common labouring-boy; that my hands were coarse; that my boots were thick; that I had fallen into the despicable habit of calling knaves jacks; that I was much more ignorant than I had considered myself last night and generally that I was in a low-lived bad way.
Prior to this visit, Pip had never thought that there was anything wrong with his way of life and was quite content. He is still relatively happy with his life until a wealthy benefactor enters his life, giving him a monthly allowance to live in London. At this point, everything changes, as Pip experiences a different way of life.
When Pip moves to London, his development takes a negative turn, and he becomes snobbish and disdainful. Pip now has more money than he had ever thought possible, and it goes straight to his head, causing him to act foolishly. He is ashamed of his past and attempts to distance himself from it as much as possible. He is embarrassed by Joe s visit, even though Joe was like a father to him:
Not with pleasure, though I was bound to him by so many ties; no; with considerable disturbance, some mortification, and a keen sense of incongruity. If I could have kept him away by paying money, I certainly would have paid money.
Pip s disdain for his past is caused, in part, by his belief that money and possessions are of the utmost importance in life. He cannot see that these things will not bring him happiness, and so evaluates people s importance based on their material possessions and their place in society. Pip sees himself as being superior to people such as Joe and Biddy. He feels that he is now good enough for Estella, and quickly forgets how she insulted and treated him poorly in the past. Pip continues to think and act this way until, once again, his circumstances change.
In the end, Pip reaches a point of maturity and realizes that he has misjudged Joe, and that there is no reason to be ashamed of his past. After his benefactor is no longer able to provide Pip s living allowance, due to unfortunate circumstances, Pip realizes that he must fend for himself. The loss of wealth, and therefore the loss of the life of luxury, force Pip to
re-evaluate his lifestyle. He now understands that his wealth was not acquired through hard work, and that he really did not deserve what he was given. Pip is remorseful, and knows that he must change his ways:
I can do it now. There have been sore mistakes; and my life has been a blind and thankless one; and I want forgiveness and direction far too much to be bitter with you.
Pip finally returns home, knowing that what is truly important can be found there. He has regained the state of contentment with his life that he lost as a child. Pip has finally matured into a man after a period of blindness to the world around him, and has accepted his circumstances for what they are.
Over the course of the novel, Pip develops from a na +ve young boy to a mature man. Pip s maturity is gained through many experiences which have a profound effect on his development. He does not always react well to these situations, but he eventually learns from them all. Sometimes people manage to see beyond the surface of a situation and understand its meaning instantly, and other times they must wait a while before discovering the truth. Pip had to wait for the truth to appear, but he was able to see it, and realized his mistakes in time to learn from them, and to alter the course of his life for the better. Pip matured as all people do, through trial and error, by making mistakes, and through experience, although his journey is rough at times, he manages to come through it changed for the better, and with a respect and understanding of life.
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