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Great Expectations Themes
Social Identity / bettering oneself
In the 19th century there was the industrial revolution and agriculture revolution
Lots of people getting rich quick and changing class ­ Dickens explores the idea of changing class through
Great Expectations
Mrs Joe tries to appear better than she actually is…

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o Estella ­ proud and haughty ­ insulting ­ snooty and snobby ­ crushes men ­ lonely ­ has no heart
o Compeyson ­ who is a gentleman ­ evil and corrupt ­ greedy and ends up as a criminal ­ "no varnish
can hide the grain of the wood;…

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Being a Gentleman
One idea in the novel, portrayed by the younger Pip, is that a gentleman has to have social status and this is
measured on his understanding of rules and social etiquettes, habits of dress and speech and the standing of
his family ­ also wealth is very…

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The Hulks (prison ship) loom over Pip's village as the theme of guilt looms over Pip ­ Pip lives in a guilt ridden
Mrs Joe says that people who go to prison `always begin by asking questions' ­ Pip feels it is in his nature to
end up in…

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o However Miss Havishams's whole existence and life revolves around and is controlled by the
wrongdoings that Compeyson did to her when he left her at the alter ­ her pain drives her to be very
o This leaves her pathetic and lonely at the end ­ begging for…

Page 6

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At the end of the novel Pip and Joe are reconciled, when Joe nurses him back to health ­ Joe tries to
apologise to Pip as he blames himself for their estrangement ­ Joe feels guilty for not intervening when Mrs
Joe was beating up Pip ­ both forgive each…


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