Charles Dickens novel Great Expectations (1861) has great significance to the plot. The title itself symbolizes prosperity and most importantly ambition. The main character and the protagonist, Pip (Philip Pirrip) was born an orphan and hand-raised by his sister Mrs. Gargery and her husband Joe Gargery. Pip was a young boy when he was threatened by a convict, Magwitch, at his parents’ grave to aid him. Pip nervously agreed to lend him a hand and was haunted day and night of the sin he committed which involved stealing food and tools from his Mr. and Mrs. Gargery’s house. Later on, he is called for at the Satis Manor by a rich woman, Miss Havisham. There he met a beautiful young girl, Estella, to whom Pip falls in love with. The novel being divided into three volumes, Pips great expectations arise soon after visiting the Satis Manor.
Expectations for Pip are fortune and the desire to become a gentleman as he discusses with Biddy, his private tutor: “I want to be a gentleman on her account” (Dickens, 117). Estella, albeit her bitter attitude towards Pip, changes his view that results in him longing to become a gentleman. His approach in becoming a gentleman is becoming apprenticed to his brother-in-law, the blacksmith. His initial stage of expectations is from Mr. Jaggers, Miss Havisham’s lawyer. The lawyer’s deliberately informs Pip “that he will come into a handsome property…be brought up as a young gentleman” (Dickens, 125). On hearing Mr. Jaggers, Pip was both astonished and excited because he yearned for such status. When Mr. Jaggers explained of Pip’s great amount fortune and significance, he automatically assumed his benefactor to be Miss Havisham. In his first expectation, Pip is to be professionally educated by Mr. Pocket,…
…y bride’s dress on the bride’s table… so much the better if it is done on this day” (Dickens, 81), and this plan of hers also fails.In conclusion, Dickens portrays the novels title, Great Expectations, through Pip’s desires and dreams and luck. Once he finds out his secret benefactor was Magwitch, he is surprised. Pip has had many great expectations which he was able to fulfill through the aid of Magwitch. Apart from Pip’s expectations of riches and importance of being a gentleman, the readers have expectations of the novel having many turning points due to Dickens ability to craft a consistent plot in which there is a fluency in all angles. Pip had high hopes, or Great Expectations, for everything which blindly seems right to him were not carried out.
Dickens, C., & Cardwell, M. (2008). Great expectations (New ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.