What "Great Expectations" reveals about the true nature of a gentleman.

Essay by pink_lloyd September 2003

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Trace the moral development of Pip and discuss what "Great Expectations" reveals about the true nature of a gentleman.

Charles Dickens' novel, Great Expectations is in a sense a mystery story because the reader wants to find out who the benefactor was but perhaps the biggest mystery of all is who is Pip? The story is about moral maturity and the main character, Pip undergoes a constant moral maturing. Pip's original childhood innocence was stripped of him when he began to desire material wealth and influence. His fear of certain characters like Mrs. Joe and Magwitch inspired him to do some undesirable things. Next when Pip was in London being supported by his convict, he spent his money recklessly in an attempt to gratify himself. Finally, after Pip realized the truth about people, his formerly selfish attitude turned selfless and he accepted others for who they are: not for what they look like, seeing characters and himself in moral terms, as a gentleman, rather than in social terms.

The plot also resembles one of a fairy story pattern - humble hero turns out to be a prince because Pip comes into a fortune, Miss Havisham is the fairy godmother and Estella is a princess. However this is far from the truth as we discover and then and the Pip also learns that reality is that Estella is callous and Miss Havisham is more of a witch than a fairy godmother. Pip learns that life is not a fairy story, even when you have money. Pip begins to see that life is not a fairy story where it all ends 'Happily ever after' but begins to realise that he has to make his own way in life and the only way he can achieve this happy ending is to...