Pip's False Expectations In Charles Dickens' Great Expectations, the reader is taken through the journey of a little boy as he pursuits his dream and great expectations beyond his common self. Pip's, the protagonist, dream of becoming a gentleman is realized upon his meeting of Estella, the love of his life. Pip changes from an innocent, sensitive and common young boy to a selfish, rejecting adolescent. He is led into making grave mistakes based on his false expectations of marrying Estella and being a gentleman. In the end, he learns that all his aspirations have been based on false presumptions and expectation of his ability to rise above his past and become something better. Joe Garg ery is married to Pip's sister, Mrs.
Joe. Although Mrs. Joe treats Pip with resentment and constantly reminds him that he is a burden, Joe is a loyal friend and ally to Pip. Joe loves and supports Pip even when Pip is ashamed and abandons him. In Pip's childhood, Joe is the only one who shows him love.
Their relationship is based more in equality than of father / son which allows Pip to ask questions and experience some sort of communication with another person. Mrs. Joe treats Pip harshly and never shows him any love. Pip eventually becomes embarrassed of Joe and his home.
The first visit to Miss Havisham's house is also the first encounter with Estella for Pip. He believes that she is much older than he is and is intimidated by her upon meeting. He observes her to be haughty, contemptuous and cold-hearted, yet beautiful. She constantly refers to him as 'boy' which emphasizes Pip's inferiority to Estella. Estella instills in Pip a shame of himself and his commonness.
During Pip's first meeting with Estella, they play cards and she states, 'He calls the knaves, Jacks, this boy! And what coarse hands he has. And what thick boots (Dickens, 59) ' to point out her observation of his common hands and boots. Pip reflects upon this insult with 'I had never thought of being ashamed of my hands before; but I began to consider them a very different pair (Dickens, 59) ', which accentuates the beginning of Pip's embarrassment of his home, Joe and his commonness and his greater expectations of himself. Pip starts to believe his life and his home to be coarse and common, as well.
After years of visits to Miss Havisham and Estella, Pip develops the notion that he must become a gentleman in order to worthy of Estella's love. However, Pip brings Joe to Miss Havisham, on her request. Pip is embarrassed of Joe's clothing, the way he fiddles with his hat and how he walks on his tiptoes as they enter the house of Miss Havisham. He comments that Joe's dialect seems unusually strong and illiterate. As Miss Havisham questions Joe about starting Pip on his apprenticeship, Joe directs his answers towards Pip, who continually tries to make Joe address Miss Havisham. He is embarrassed of Joe and for Joe.
Pip is now the apprentice to Joe, a blacksmith, and is sent home with no more welcomed invitations to Satis House. He reflects on his new job, 'I was truly wretched, and had a strong conviction on me that I should never like Joe's trade. I had liked it once, but once was not now (Dickens, 104) ' to explain the humiliation of his new 'common' job and his future of becoming a blacksmith. The next point in Pip's life that changes his attitude towards Joe and Biddy is his new found wealth granted to him from an unknown benefactor.
Pip learns that he is endowed to a fortune, which will lead him to London to become a gentleman. His happiness for this endowment is unfathomable. The money changes his life as apprentice, as well as blacksmith, which he does not desire as he points out to Biddy, ' I am not at all happy as I am. I am disgusted with my calling and with my life (Dickens, 142) '. Pip is instructed to buy new clothes for his stay in London, which makes Pip very excited.
He decides to send his clothes to Mr. Pumblechook's home because he does not want to be stared at by all the people who live near him. Pip begins to establish himself as higher than those he has been associated. He is more wrapped up in himself and his self-image that he does not see that he hurts Joe and Biddy. He believes that the benefactor is Miss Havisham and that his destiny is to be trained a gentleman and come back to marry Estella. These great expectations of Pip lead him into believing that he is better than Joe and Biddy.
His new found wealth changes his feelings and attitude towards Joe and Biddy. Upon his departure, he tells Joe that he wishes to walk away alone. Although Pip knows this hurts Joe's feelings and knows that he should take back this request, he leaves the house alone. He reflects, 'I had been so innocent and little there, and all beyond was so unknown and great (Dickens, 157) ' that he used not understand that beyond Joe, Biddy and the marshes, was so much more greatness for him. As an innocent child, he understood Joe's loyalty and love.
But, now, as he walks away believing he is destined to become a gentleman to marry Estella, his ambition of becoming a gentleman produces arrogance, unkindness and ungratefulness. After Pip settles into London with his new friend Herbert, his expectations of marrying Estella increase and he becomes more selfish. He feels a sense of regret that he has not visited Joe and Biddy, but like his regret of walking alone, he does not do anything for his guilt. He receives a letter indicating from Biddy that Joe is coming to London. Pip confesses to himself his feelings of Joe's visit and says, 'Not with pleasure, though I was bound to him for so many ties; no; with considerable disturbance, some mortification, and a keen sense of incongruity (Dickens, 215) '.
Pip is embarrassed that Joe is coming to visit because he believes that his own life and expectations are far more important than Joe's status. He observes Joe's clumsy behavior and his tendency to call Pip 'sir'. Instead of the comfortable companionship they used to have, they were both awkward with one another as if Pip was older than Joe. Joe's departure enhances Pip's remorse because of Joe's speech as he leaves. He tells Pip, 'You and me are not two figures to be together in London; nor yet anywheres else but what is private, and be known, and understood among friends (Dickens, 222) ', which conveys Joe's tenderness and ache from Pip's expectations of becoming something better than Joe and his past. Joe also informs Pip that Estella is at Satis House and wishes to see Pip.
He hurriedly prepares to visit Estella, excited by the prospect of seeing her now that he is gentleman. Pip rushes to see her even though she has always treated him cold-hearted ly and lowly. He believes he is going to charm her with his new wealth and manners and that Miss Havisham is going to announce their wedding. However, upon making eye contact with his Estella, he observes, 'I fancied, as I looked at her, and I slipped hopelessly back into the coarse and common boy again (Dickens, 232) '. Estella makes Pip feel as common as he really is and takes away the gentleman he believes he has become. Pip fawns over Estella and decides that he will not visit Joe on the trip because he thinks it will please her.
She confesses that she can never love him and Pip is convinced it is because of his association to his past, which leads him no regret in abandoning his past and Joe. Pip's great expectations and luxurious lifestyle begins to cause him considerable financial strain. Pip returns home for the funeral of Mrs. Joe and stays at the Blue Boar instead of his old home.
The significance of Pip's stay at the Blue Boar is that he believes he is too good to stay at a lowly blacksmith's home and that he deserves more of a higher-class accommodation. He conveys a sense of guilt for not visiting and attempts to convince Joe, Biddy and himself that he will return. Their love for him is strong. Pip is troubled by his own shortcomings, but is so caught up in his great expectations and love for Estella that he does not know how to handle his own downfall. Pip continually believes that Miss Havisham is his benefactor and expects he will soon marry Estella. Until one night, his convict, Magwitch appears and informs Pip that he is the benefactor.
The foundation of assumptions and expectations on which he has built his life is completely shaken by this news. He always believed that Miss Havisham was his benefactor because she deliberately leads him onto believing her. The climax and fall of Pip's great expectations is when he learns who the true benefactor is. In that moment, all his great expectations dissolve into shame of the convict and disgust for himself for his gradual change.
He knows that he is not destined to marry Estella, or is he any less common than he was as a blacksmith's apprentice. Pip, with his great expectations, has become a gentleman and has been allowed to take part in the world of wealth and manners. He now realizes that his opportunities and ascent was given to him by a criminal sentenced to death who asks Pip for help. Pip realizes he is obliged to protect his benefactor out of loyalty and gratitude. Pip lays aside his expectations of greatness and protects his benefactor. He recognizes that this convict has been more loyal to him than he has been to Joe.
In Pip's efforts to help Magwitch escape, he is caught and taken away by the police. Pip is a loyal protector for Magwitch; despite his own feelings about the ordeal and reflects about this experience: For now, my repugnance to him had all melted away, And in the hunted wounded shackled creature who Held my hand in his, I only saw a man who had meant To be my benefactor, and who had felt affectionately, Gratefully, and generously, towards me with great constancy through a series of years. I only saw in him a much better man than I has been to Joe. (Dickens, 441) Pip has learned a great but painful lesson. He has acted out of no 'great expectations'; Magwitch, now, has nothing left for Pip to take.
Pip makes sure the money is not his anymore, and then his actions stand solely in light of his character, not greed or ambition. Magwitch's death depresses Pip, as well as his heavy debt and lack of money. Pip becomes very ill and cannot move from his bed. In a state of delirium, he believes Joe is nursing him back to health. The character of Joe once again comes to Pip's rescue.
He pays off Pip's debts and helps him back to good health. Pip is extremely ashamed of the way he treated Joe the last time. But Joe has forgiven and forgotten it all. They share old memories and go for long drives and Pip relives the world of childhood with his best friend Joe. He realizes his own faults of believing that fortune would lead him to become a gentleman and marry Estella. He hurt and deserted those who loved him for the world which he was not destined.
Pip's great expectations turned into false presumptions of a life he left behind. Pip, after understanding his own greed and snobbery, returns back to the marshes to apologize to Joe and Biddy for his lack of loyalty to them. Biddy and Joe welcome him with open arms. Eleven years pass, Pip begins a new job and he only thinks of Estella. He hears she has led a miserable life, but is still curious of her state. When he does see her, they are able to part as friends.
Pip comes to the understanding that his life was not meant to be equal to Estella's. He was raised to be coarse and common and not a wealthy gentleman. Estella instilled the great expectations into Pip, which created his disloyalty and selfishness. Since Pip's distance from Estella and consciousness of his false expectations, he is able to part as friends without any sense of regret.
Pip is able to mend his ways of life and return to his good-natured self, more mature as result of his experience. His discovery that his wealth came from convict and not Miss Havisham dissolve in the realization that things are not as he had thought. He learns that all his aspirations have been based on false assumptions and expectations that he could rise above his past. His great expectations were derived from a criminal who wanted Pip to have a better life than himself. He was not becoming a gentleman for Estella, but rather a gentleman for his own sake.
He discovers that true wealth and worth come from inside a man and turns away from his once great expectations.