imprisoned angle of human character Charles Dickens has presented in his novel Great Expectations mainly through its central and self inspired character of Pip.
Great Expectations (Dickens)
Charles Dickens is without a doubt one of the most finest and hugely admired of the British 19th century writers. To this popularity two factors mainly contributed, the first being the quality his writing. Secondly his work was widely adapted for both the stage and the screen. Additionally the writer was involved in an extremely triumphant second career as a public performer in recitals of extracts from his own writings. Great Expectations presents the world from an imprisoned angle.
With the book being titled Great Expectations the confidence within the writer surfaces along with the standard he has set for himself. The mastermind that Charles Dickens was it in unlikely that he selected the title as part of a marketing gimmick. It is rather more likely that the author felt within him the talent and capacity to meet such a benchmark. As history showed, the novel one of the shorter writing of Charles Dickens turned out to be one of the most influential.
The narrator and main character in the novel is Philip Pirrip, more commonly referred to as Pip. He lives with his sister and her husband Joe. The latter is painted to be a thoughtful and kind man who was very fair Pip. It is Joe who has build within Pip the characteristics of friendliness, loyalty, sincerity along with high moral values. With age Pip even though financially weak grooms to be a man of good traits and values.
When Pip is introduced to Miss Havisham's adopted daughter, Estella he immediately falls in love, but is imprisoned by the complexes of his financial standing and lack of social stature. On one hand is the very financially well off and beautiful Estella and on the other is himself. The balance between the two he feels is improper. He is humiliated by his standing within society and longs to be monetarily prosperous.
According to the way Pip visions the situation he needs to reach beyond his common mans standing and attain financial fluency. Money be believes is the first step. Once rich social standing will automatically come by. Once he has reached this stage he feels winning Estella's heart will be easy. This is Charles Dickens way of showing his character imprisoned by his own self and surrounding circumstances. Furthermore he delves into the impact of these complexes.
Pip's life turns on its head when an anonymous benefactor provides money and the opportunity to Pip to reside and be educated in London. According to Pip's imaginative mind the benefactor is none other than Miss Havisham. He imagines that she has decided to invest in Pip's life so that eventually she can marry Estella to him. Here another angle of Pip appears jailed. This time it is his dreams that have confined his imagination to only think in one direction. The world apart from Miss. Havisham and Estella are no longer apparent to him and even if they are visible they no longer matter.
To pursue his longing for Estella, Pip leaves his hometown in the next few days. He has great expectations from himself, i.e., to be able to achieve a life far superior than one he is living now. Once in London the fall of Pip's character begins soon. He becomes gluttonous, self-seeking and daft. Pip's aspirations for material gain create ambiguity in his life and huge debts. Here the imprisonment of his character by his love for Estella is obvious.
This incarceration of his childhood values as taught by Joe and love for Estella have made him a new man who lives life differently to say the least. His love and admiration for others is also suffocated. It was not just that he had lost his moral values but also respect for Joe. When Joe comes to London to meet Pip the conversation between the two men is very brief. Even though Joe's visit is short, Pip is able to identify and acknowledge the strong moral character and instantly recognizable decorum of Joe a small part of which was once part of Joe's character.
With Joe, a common man making an impact on Pip the chains of imprisonment seem to be becoming loose. When Pip looks deeper into his character in an attempt to search for his concessions it became evident to him what he is morally lacking. It began to grow on him that he has not been able to attain anything of significance to him in his life. Moreover, he begins to think that he would have been better off had be not met Miss Havisham and rather remained business partners with his bother-in-law, Joe.
Gradually his mental constraints begin to break and it becomes more visible to him that money brought no form of contentment or pleasure to him. To further enhance the process of breaking free Pip finds out that the financial support and opportunity to live and study in London had not been sponsored by Miss Havisham but rather by Magwitch. He was a criminal that had stressed and fraught Pip when he was a young boy. Initially fear and disbelieve set on him, a shadow of his captive past, but as Magwitch begins to narrate his own past Pip becomes more comfortable and believing.
One important aspect that Magwitch reveals to him is his abhorrence for a man named Compeyson who has been attempting to and is still determined to kill him. Here Magwitch is shown to be a caged man. The threat to his life has eaten away his freedom and allowed the fear of death to seep in. Now that Pip has been able to attain emotional freedom Charles Dickens shows him in a position to help others.
When Pip finds out that Compeyson is London he feels the want to help Magwitch escape to protection. To be able to help Magwitch he had to see what he was today and rather than what he had been in the past. Pip successfully takes this leap. While making a failed effort to escape, Magwitch kills Compeyson and is brutally wounded and hurt himself also.
Pip felt a responsibility towards his benefactor, Magwitch. In recognition of what Magwitch had done for Pip, Pip stays with him in the hospital. Here Pip informs Magwitch that his daughter Estella is still alive. Despite the efforts to save Magwitch he dies. Post his death Pip is taken into custody by the authorities for his unpaid debts. He is not however put in jail owing to bad health. At this point Joe comes to his rescues and nurse him back to health. Not just this but Joe also pays off his debts. In this way Joe supports Pip to resume the values that were once part of his character.
Once Pip has regained his health the two men, Pip and Joe undertake a rebuilding process. A route to recreate and re-establish their relationship. The two spend time conversing and in the process enjoying each others company. Pip remains with Joe till he has fully regained health and then leaves Joe with his new wife, Biddy to enjoy time. This time he that he had spend with Joe had a lasting effect on Pip mentally.
Through the time Pip had spend with Joe he was not only able to identify the powerfully morality in the latter's character but was also able to comparatively analyse his own values. This helped him mould his character further after he left. The most important lesson he learned was that financial ease and social stature were meaningless and useless if the individual lacked strong values and honesty.