You are on page 1of 5

“Great Expectations” Charles Dickens

-the theme of the Gentleman-

Văduva Ana-Maria

K. in "the afternoon of his life and glory". for example Pip wants to become a gentleman although he doesn’t really know what this means. even love. social class or ambition but one of the most interesting themes the novel deals with is the theme of the gentleman because this subject is the one that triggers the action. Dickens describes a world built upon appearances and a fake reality. the one that made Pip become another person. reveals the fact that the plot of the novel is established upon a tragic blend between appearances and reality. Therefore. such as the theme of the orphan. the tool that controls everything. a world in which things and people are not what they seem to be and where people noble and kind. the whole novel carries us on a journey – Pip’s journey of becoming a gentleman and his attempt of exceeding not only his social status but also his whole being. In the novel. In fact. an II Sectia Filologie. It is a bildungsroman. crime. the author makes us witness the drama of this fascinating character. but is not aware of the fact that this will not only bring him misery. The novel has a very complex and dense action. but will eventually lead him to become a false gentleman and 2 .Facultatea de Limbi si Literaturi Străine. As a result. according to G. which he finds shameful and unworthy of Estella’s love. from 1 December 1860 to August 1861. which cannot surpass his social condition. with many characters and covers many themes. Chesterton. written by Charles Dickens is one of the most representative pieces of the Victorian Literature and was first published in serial form in Dickens' weekly periodical All the Year Round. The social and psychological analysis of the novel. Pip finds himself very lucky when he is informed that he will receive a large sum of money from an anonymous benefactor and that he must leave for London immediately where he is to become a gentleman. “Great Expectations” represents Charles Dickens’ maturity as an author and was written. are teached to be ashamed of what they are because they don’t have money. Miss Havisham lives in a world of regret and sadness and transforms Estella into this cold lady. unable to feel love. Even the title of the novel contains a bitter irony: almost all of the characters have unreachable dreams. like Pip was when he was a child. or a coming-of-age novel which describes the growth and personal development of an orphan named Pip. Portugheză – Engleză Great Expectations.

had money but was no longer noble at heart. by only referring to his physical appearance: “coarse hands and common boots”. when he wanted to change everything and everyone he has: “I wanted to make Joe less ignorant and common. Money represent a powerful tool in the Victorian Society. when he showed kindness and mercy to the escaped convict. He thinks Estella and Miss Havisham are better than Joe because of their knowledge. I don't know why it should be a crack thing to be a 3 .” He talks about the true gentleman. although he doesn’t really know what this means or what consequences this thing will bring to him. People without money are worthless and are not seen for what they really are. she doesn’t see Pip as a humble and kind child but she talks about him. the ultimate snob. not money and power. "Biddy. and the more varnish you put on. "I want to be a gentleman. “I wished Joe had been rather more genteelly brought up." said I. the one that values respect and dignity. a true gentleman in manner.a sham and will make him feel ashamed of the life he had and the people who loved him (Joe. has Magwitch and Molly for parents. and was a brewer. We can understand from this quote that maybe Pip was more of a gentleman when he was a child. a gentleman. Biddy). since the world began. unearned money will bring misery and destruction. Miss Havisham’s father reveals us some of the values of the Victorian Society: "Her father was a country gentleman down in your part of the world.. ever was. and then I should have been so too”. Estella is no exception. which will become later on his secret benefactor. like a broken object as if “being a gentleman” is easy and all you have to do is try. He doesn’t appreciate Joe for what he is but he tries to fix him.. after binding her to secrecy. the more the grain will express itself." One of the most accurate description of the gentleman. because it dictates one’s value but. that he might be worthier of my society and less open to Estella's reproach”. The description of a gentleman. we can identify in the novel is the one that Matthew Pocket gives when he talks about Compeyson: “No man who was not a true gentleman at heart. the man who is noble. We can again observe here the irony: Estella. who does not put money above people and love. kind and generous.no varnish can hide the grain of the wood. than he was when he grew up. Pip’s mistake is that he wants to become something very vague. appearance and money. – Pip feels ashamed of the person who raised him.

In the end the true gentleman is revealed and is surprisingly the blacksmith Joe. This proves once again that the idea of what a gentleman is and does is very vague and can’t be truly described and understood. Estella has a failed marriage because she married for the wrong reasons. mostly because Dickens manages to create these unique and uncommon characters: Magwitch. The destructive potential of wealth in Pip's society is shown by his emotional and moral deterioration in becoming a gentleman. 4 . Miss Havisham. Dickens wants to prove something: having a pure." You were supposed to have a certain occupation in order to be a gentleman. The question simply remains: was Pip more of a gentleman in his childhood. Money come before human values. being a snob and judging people after external criteria – it means being a gentleman with your heart. You see it every day. when he showed compassion to the convict? Or is he a gentleman in London. Miss Havisham. Pip understands the fact that people need to be cherished and loved for what they are. To conclude with. simple and humble life is more powerful and rewarding than having all the money on Earth and that no matter what you do in life you have to. this tragic bride for which time stopped has her revenge in the end and realizes the mistakes she did with Estella. You can make beer and be a gentleman but you can’t be a blacksmith or a baker. Estella and her failed marriage with Bentley Drummle. cultural. where he didn’t earned intellectual. poor embarrassing Joe. although he is not a gentleman. by marrying Biddy and living happily and simple. when he was humble and good with the people around him. Beer before iron and baked goods.brewer. being a gentleman means more than having great expectations. Although Pip climbs the social ladder. be a human being. he finds a world very different from the one he dreamed about. but it is indisputable that while you cannot possibly be genteel and bake. you may be as genteel as never was and brew. above all. The action is full of twists and turns. Dickens. or spiritual values but where he managed to go into debt and become a snob? For Ch. the escaped convict becomes Pip’s secret benefactor and is in fact Estella’s father and a kind person. Charles Dickens uses the portrayal of the gentleman to show one more of society's destructive values. By choosing such an ending. who pays Pip’s debt and also the one who finds true happiness. relationships are built upon interest and people are not what they seem to be: Magwitch.

having a good and humble behavior and moral integrity. but also an amazing artist with a strength and spontaneity always fresh. He doesn’t grow old. Dickens is not only a historian of his Age and a thinker preoccupied with philosophical problems. but is timeless. 5 .