Great Expectations Themes

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  • Themes
    • Gentlemen & Gentle Men
      • Pip learns as Satis house that he is nothing but a common labouring boy
        • hence the life long pursuit to become a gentleman and win Estella
        • Money seems to buy Pip the status of a gentleman
          • earns respect from Trabb & Pumblechook but not from those who love him
          • pip learns the habits of a Gentleman but does not behave Gentlemanly when Joe visits him
            • Nor does he behave well to Trabbs boy
      • Herbert Pocket & father have tactful instincts as Gentlemen (even though poor)
        • Herbert corrects Pip on his behaviour
        • Drummle clearly a stupid cruel man - though a gentleman in social terms
      • Dickens shows that life of a Gentleman can be dissipated - corrupting Pips better instincts
        • 'Brought up london gentleman' (Chap 39)
      • Joe is an instinctivelygentle man
        • 'a gentle christian man' (chap 57)
    • respectability & crime
      • because of his theft pip feels kinship with the convict
      • pips stuggles for gentility are shadowed by his own sense of criminality
        • ironic how his money/gentility does come from Magwitch (convict)
          • more ironic how magwitch is Estellas father - he 'rose' for her when in reality she was socially beneath him
        • when pip goes to london his past follows him
      • Dickens shows that the riches and privileges of the few are gained by the exclusion and exploitation of the many

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