Rich and Poor Theme in Charles Dickens’ Great ExpectationsThroughout the novel, there are many themes, one of them being richand poor. This theme is introduced by the background description inthe opening pages.
In this novel the attitudes of the rich relatives, (unclePumblechook), are a great contrast to those of lower financial class,- Joe and Mrs. Joe. Special food is reserved for when richer relativescome around; this is a motion of respect.
For the duration of the novel, Pip pursues wealth and when he finallyattains it he finds it’s useless as he sees its source as ‘tainted’,his wealth is acquired through Magwich. Greed is a significant factor.
During the novel, there are a lot of links comparing rich and poor,and we get representatives from both sides. Miss Havisham is rich, butlives a life of disorder, disappointment and dirt. In contrast tothis, Joe is relatively poor but is incredibly comfortable and contentwith his life, however, his wife Mrs. Joe is desires more.
Magwich becomes rich to facilitate people other than himself, – i.e.to ring Pip up into ‘a gentleman’. Although Joe is poor and at ease,poor is not good in itself as Magwich lives in atrocious poverty.
Joe Gargery provides for and supports his wife and Pip. Joe has givenPip a secure, stable and reasonably happy home. Pip is seen as Joe’sapprentice (while he is working as a black smith and at home), he istreated like a son.
Joe is a happy medium in connection with wealth.
Before Pip’s meeting with Miss Havisham he is made aware of the stateof her wealth.
There is a huge dissimilarity between Miss Havisham’s and Joe’s house.Miss Havisham’s house was a dark secluding place covered in cobwebs.
…ses it create happiness and splendor, for hisold father and his ‘castle’.
Herbert Pocket comes across as the incompetent type; he has indistinctplans but seems satisfied.
Estella’s wealth from Miss Havisham and her mercenary attitudesimmediately steer her towards a path of misery and anguish.
Pip’s journey throughout life was reasonably tough. He came from aworking class background, received riches and became a parasite whichleads to numerous mistakes, disclosure and rejection, and thankfullythe Courage to help Magwich to escape.
Although Pip’s journey began well, it went down hill once a wealthystatus was achieved; nonetheless, he still managed to find courage andwisdom, which proves that there is possible hope for the future. Thisshows that happiness is not always achieved by wealth and beingegotistical will not benefit you long term.