Pip in Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations
After reading the compelling ‘Great Expectations’ by the famous writerCharles Dickens, I can gather that it is based upon his ownpsychological insight to life. He makes connections in relation to aspecific character or event in the storyline, which were critical inhis own expectations. Also Dickens moulds his selection of charactersvery well into the desired settings he’d created, that matched what heknew only too well throughout his childhood.
‘Great Expectations’ not only satires the issues of Victorian society,yet centres on the rites of passage that marks an important change ina person’s life. Dickens’ issue of contentment is something thatconcerns many human beings; this is what Pip wants most. However henever really accomplishes this until the closing stages of the book.
So what exactly is contentment? The dictionary defines it as a ‘peaceof mind’, where the person is ‘satisfied with things as they are.’Therefore contentment means to be happy and in Pip’s case, happy withhis life. The purpose of ‘Great Expectations’ is how contentment isachieved, with it being linked to Jeremy Bentham’s answer of this.Bentham was a well-known philosopher and he said: ‘humans strive toachieve self-fulfilment through the seeking of pleasure and theavoidance of pain.’ Dickens relates this to Pip, in the sense that Pipwants to become a gentleman, who need not work and who can avoid thecertain stresses of life.
Dickens’ early life is reflected by his main character in the novel.Through Pip, he presents a young and innocent boy, who changes hisaspirations whilst growing up. Pip is often indirected by the themesof identity, love, money and class when …
…elates Pip’s struggles to the ones he faced in his own life,in order to achieve contentment such as family problems, debt andeducation. Problems like these are overcome by sticking to a moral setof values, dispelling all the materialistic values which in the endleave a person unhappy. There is a clear message in the novel that thebest way to achieve contentment is to live your life and learn fromthe positive and negative experiences of it. You must listen to thepeople who are close to you and their advice that they give, becausethis was one of Pip’s downfalls. Even though ‘Great Expectations’ waswritten almost two centuries ago; we as readers know how to achievecontentment with our own lives, by controlling and getting rid of ourfantasies and phobias whilst being aware that wealth and higher classdoesn’t necessarily mean a better way of life.