Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Dickens reveals Essay

Dickens reveals the extent of Pips moral decline when Joe comes to see him: Pip is far more arrogant and condescending. He hires a servant to announce Joe’s coming and dress himself up as well. He greets Joe with â€Å"Joe, how are you Joe? † very haughtily because Joe repeats it as Pip said it – â€Å"Pip, how AIR you Pip? † Joe is completely thrown and does not know how to react to the furnishings, decor, clothes and aura that Pip obviously thinks a gentleman should have. Pip regards Joe’s table manners with great disdain and embarrassment in front of Herbert as Joe â€Å"sat so far from the table, and dropped so much more than he ate, and pretended that he hadn’t dropped it† Dickens is showing how egotistical Pip has become because it wasn’t so long ago that he had exactly the same manners. Pip feels â€Å"impatient of him and out of temper with him. † Joe also notices Pip’s change and is aware of the gulf that is growing between them, Joe knows he’s â€Å"wrong in these clothes†¦ out of the forge†¦ the kitchen, or of th’marshes. † Joe doesn’t belong in Pip’s clothes in the same way that Pip doesn’t belong in his old world. By this time Pip is at the height of his self-important, arrogant, smug life. In Chapter 34 Dickens presents the start of Pip’s gradual moral recovery, although this is slow to begin as Pip and Herbert join the Finches of the Grove, a very expensive gentleman’s club who dined luxuriously and â€Å"spent a lot of money as we could, and got as little for it as people could make their minds up to give us†. They had no purpose apart from self gratification. Pip finally understands as he gets more and more into debt the effect this is having on Herbert: â€Å"My lavish habits led his easy nature into expenses he could not afford, corrupted the simplicity of his life and disturbed his peace with anxieties and regrets† As Pip grows accustomed to his great expectations he’s not comfortable and battles with his conscience over actions and feelings towards Joe and Biddy; he becomes wistful for his old life and thinks: â€Å"With a weariness on my spirit, that if I should have been happier and better if I had never seen Miss Havisham’s face, and had risen to manhood content to be partners with Joe in the honest old forge† He yearns for the forge fire instead of his fire in his gentlemanly residence, and wants Joe and his old life back although does little to achieve this. In contrast Dickens himself did not inherit his wealth but publicly strived and worked hard to achieve his goals, in fact one of the factors of his death was over working and so possibly didn’t approve of the idle rich’s lavish lives and spending. Dickens uses Magwitch’s revelation and Pip’s reaction to show Pip’s moral degeneration. When Pip first discovers that his benefactor is not Miss Havisham but Magwitch the convict he is aghast, he â€Å"seemed to be suffocating† such was the â€Å"abhorrence† of him and â€Å"the repugnance with which I shrank from him. † Pip has to swallow the bitter pill that his rise to the status of gentleman was caused by someone so low in society, and that cost him his relationship with Joe. He feels guilty and full of shame, but maybe if Pip was less concerned about his social status he would have been more sympathetic to the habits and needs of Magwitch. However, the convict holds power over Pip because Magwitch is his benefactor, its Magwitch’s money that has funded Pip’s life of comfort and luxury and Pip has become totally dependant on that money and in turn on the convict: â€Å"I began fully to know how wrecked I was, and how the ship in which I sailed was gone to pieces. † In Pip’s conversation with Herbert, following the revelation by Magwitch, Pip displays the growing awareness of his failings: â€Å"I am heavily in debt, very heavily for me, who have now no expectations and I have been bred to no calling, and I am fit for nothing. † Pip’s attitude now changes to Miss Havisham when he learns that she is no longer his benefactor and that she has hurt him on purpose in her attempt to antagonise her relatives. He becomes direct in talking to Miss Havisham and wants to know the truth and is quite confrontational – â€Å"when I fell into the mistake I have so long remained in, at least you led me on? † He questions Miss Havisham pushing her to admit that she deceived him and we now see that he is willing to stand up for what he believes and not be just a passive victim. Estella reports to him that she will be married to Drummle, Pip’s enemy, and at first he is grief-stricken but then he becomes earnest and selfless (the moral qualities of a gentleman) putting her happiness before his own, and pleading with her that she marry someone worthy of her, but not Drummle. Finally he blessed her in which ever path she takes and this is very thoughtful and generous of him, he asks her â€Å"don’t take him, and I can bear it better, for your sake. † Pip discovers that Molly is Estella’s mother and Magwitch is he father so it is ironic that her background is very similar in status to the life he was tempted away from. Despite the breeding of Estella and Miss Havisham they both chose in Drummle and Compeyson to marry men with none of the moral qualities that a gentleman should have. Pip is so concerned for Magwitch that he and his companions put together an escape plan, Pip’s willingness to do anything to save his friend who has â€Å"changed and softened† as much as Pip has is very clear and yet another attribute of a gentleman that Pip has gained. The reality of their situation is very obvious to Pip and â€Å"I thought of the night of his return when our places were reversed, and when I little supposed my heart could ever be as heavy and anxious at parting from him as it was now† All Pip’s repugnance of Magwitch has gone and in its place is love, care and compassion for a friend and father figure, virtues not apparent when Pip was rich with wealth but not morals. He stays with Magwitch after they are caught instead of trying to separate himself from the criminal character which used to disturb him so much at the height of his expectations. â€Å"In holding the hand that he stretched forth to me†, despite Magwitch’s request for Pip to disassociate with him at the trial, Pip shows his true morals by vowing to stay by his side. Pip publicly displays his support to his friend and doesn’t care who sees it or who doesn’t; all that matters to him is Magwitch. While caring for the sick convict in prison Pip waits out side before visiting hours and is allowed, by the guards, to stay after hours with Magwitch, which shows that event the guards who don’t know Pip, are touched by his behaviour. After Magwitch’s death Pip falls ill from the stress and Dickens uses the imagery of the fever burning away any snobbery and negative areas of gentlemanliness that hasn’t been removed already; this is a real push forward in Pips moral recuperation. He refers to Joe, who is caring for him, as â€Å"a gentle Christian man† and this implies what Dickens thought a gentleman should be: a man with Christian standards and morals at his centre. Pip is so overwhelmed by Joe’s kindness and feeling that he doesn’t deserve to have it, he demands that Joe: â€Å"look angry at me. Strike me, Joe, tell me of my ingratitude. Don’t be so good to me. † When Pip is well again he travels back to the marshes to marry Biddy, but he finds Joe and Biddy happy on their wedding day. He is happy for them instead of angry or depressed and is relieved that he never mentioned proposing to Biddy to Joe. Dickens uses Pip’s reaction to Joe and Biddy’s wedding day to portray the extent of Pip’s moral growth. This further reinforced Pip’s selflessness and there fore even more personal moral improvement. In my opinion Dickens wanted to Pip to continue moving forwards with and his new life with Herbert, his job in the east instead of moving backwards to the marshes and forge after his hard-learnt transition. At the end of the novel Pip has a new sense of purpose in his new life with Herbert and a new job, his values now are genuine and honest. When Pip comes back to the forge eleven years on he finds that Joe and Biddy have had a son who is called Pip after him, underlining that Pip has turned onto a well respected gentleman in the moral sense. Big Pip takes Little Pip to the church yard and this is exactly the same turn of events that Big Pip experienced all those years ago. It symbolises a new beginning for Little Pip and that Big Pip will take the place of Magwitch as a guardian angel and second father to Little Pip just like Magwitch was to him. It is ironic that at the start of the novel that Pip was repulsed by the convict but now at the end of the novel he loves him and is taking on Magwitch’s role and persona. Dickens again presents the image of Satis house has being torn down to symbolise the end of Pips moral diversity. Dickens uses the ivy as a symbol of Pip’s new start in the east and his reassessed morals. Like the ivy, Pip â€Å"had struck root anew and was growing green on low quiet mounds of ruin† Another new beginning is Pip being reunited with Estella, in the previous era she was untouchable even with Pip’s money and luxurious life, but now Estella has understood that being a gentleman is not all about money but about the good morals and experience that Pip has developed through out the novel. I feel that at the end Pip is a real gentleman, but in today’s standards, he values love, friendship, sincerity and kindness more than social status, he is living a life of his own making and that he earns honestly. He was only a gentleman in Victorian, upper-class eyes when he had great wealth and expensive habits and didn’t necessarily have any standards. This gives us an indication that although Dickens was a Victorian he thought that a gentleman should be like the later Pip and he presents and demonstrates this view by the way he presents Pip’s moral development during the novel in the relations between Pip, Joe, and Magwitch.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.