Charles Dicken's "Great Expectations".

Essay by Katherine1085High School, 11th gradeA+, September 2003

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Is it more important to be loved and honored or more important to be rich and powerful? That is the question that Philip Pirrip, better known as "Pip," in Charles Dicken's Great Expectations, must ask himself. Pip is a very ambitious young man who wants to become more than he already is. He comes from a poor background of which he is ashamed. He wants to become rich and powerful, but that does not seem likely. Then, one unexpected day, all of his dreams begin to come true, and his "great expectations" begin to be fulfilled. His ambition begins to take him in the positive direction. Or does it? Throughout the novel, Pip's ambition causes both negative and positive effects in his life.

Ambition is not a quality that the reader initially sees in Pip. In the beginning of the novel, the reader sees Pip as a kind, gentle, even scared little boy.

He lives with his older sister and her husband Joe Gargery. Joe is the local blacksmith and being a blacksmith means that Pip comes from a poor background. As the novel progresses, the reader's view of Pip changes. When Pip begins to see Estella, the rich, beautiful daughter of Miss Havisham, he starts to realize the difference in their backgrounds. Pip is the nephew of a poor blacksmith. He begins to feel ashamed of the place from which he comes. After meeting Estella for the first time, he walks home thinking that "he was a common labouring boy; his hands were course; his boots were thick; and generally, that he was in a low-lived bad way" (Dickens, 59). He begins to lose that kindness and gentleness that the reader initially saw, but not completely. While he is ashamed of where he comes from, he feels guilty...