In the novel Great Expectation by Charles Dickens

By January 31, 2019 General Studies

In the novel Great Expectation by Charles Dickens, social class plays a great role. When Pip is a child, he first realizes the presence of social class when he goes to Miss Havisham’s house. He respectfully calls Estella “miss” while she rudely calls him “boy.” When Miss Havisham tells Estella to play cards with Pip, she exclaims, “With this boy? Why, he is a common labouring-boy!” (Dickens 66). Estella feels so superior to Pip that she is surprised Miss Havisham asks her to play a game with him. Later on in the novel when Pip becomes a wealthy gentleman in London, he feels ashamed of Joe when he comes to visit Pip by his bad grammar and clothes. Joe was the only person who truly loved Pip as a child, and Pip was ashamed of him because he was of a lower social class. When Pip learns that Joe is coming to London, he comments, “If I could have kept him away by paying money, I certainly would have paid money” (Dickens 241). At the end of the novel, Pip goes into debt. When Joe pays off Pip’s debts, Pip realizes that it is not one’s social class that determines if they are gentleman, but rather their personality.

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