Charles Dickens and Great Expectations

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Thomas Woodford

Mrs. White

Honors English

September 16, 2014

Enough Is Enough

The 1900s were a very difficult time. A very significant number of people living in poverty set the tone for most of that century. Some people did have enough to satisfy themselves and keep their family alive. In Great Expectations, Charles Dickens reminisces on his own life to show that people have to learn the hard way, through their development, love life, and sacrifices, that their social status and what they already have in life is sufficient.

Phillip Pirrup, commonly known as Pip, discovers early in his life that things do not come easily. As a very young child, Pip lost both of his parents, and, subsequently, his sister, Mrs. Joe, and her husband, Joe Gargery "[bring] [him] up by hand" (Dickens 7). Instead of having a normal childhood being raised by his parents, Pip's abnormal childhood, filled with abuse from his sister and the knowledge that he would never know his parents, creates a very gullible person.

His childhood causes Pip to trust people that he should not trust, especially Miss Havisham with her evil plan to cause the male sex to suffer. Similar to Pip, Charles Dickens had an irregular childhood in which he was "plagued by frequent illnesses" (Napierkowski 89). Later in life, when he was twelve, Dickens and his family moved to London. Shortly after their arrival, Dickens's father was imprisoned for his debts and the rest of his family moved into the prison with his father. Dickens rented an apartment near a blacking factory where he "made polish for shoes, stoves, and fire grates" (Maltz 16). After several months of working in the factory, Dickens's father scrounged up enough money, along with what Dickens made,