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Moral Influence in Great Expectations Essay

Show the Moral Influence on Pip in Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations Symbolism as it is used in literature aims to project the internal aspects of an individual’s character through the external aspects in reality. Charles Dickens, in his novel, Great Expectations uses symbolism in order to reflect other individuals’ moral influence on Pip. Consider for example the following instances. In the novel’s initial chapter, one is presented with the character of Pip who is described as an orphan with a vivid imagination.

As he recounts his initial experiences in life, Pip mentions that his “most vivid and broad impression of the identity of things, seems…to have been gained on a memorable raw afternoon towards evening” (Dickens, 1992, p. 3). It was during this evening that Pip met the convict, Magwitch. The use of symbolism in his encounter with Magwitch is evident as Pip’s initial introduction to the villainous aspects of man’s nature, in the form of Magwitch, occurred during the transition from day to night.

One sees here how Dicken’s uses the shift from day to night as a means of shifting the mood within the novel in such a way that will prepare the reader for his encounter with an individual who is in possession of a questionable moral character. In addition to this, one perceives here the manner through which Magwitch’s moral character affects Pip’s moral disposition as Pip was introduced to committing morally questionable actions through his chance encounter with Magwitch.

As opposed to the use of darkness as a means of symbolizing the immoral aspects of man, Dickens also uses the light as a means of symbolizing the moral aspects of man. For example, one is presented with Pip’s initial encounter with Estella. Estella, which literally means star, is presented as an ‘angelic’ being who inspires Pip to desire for the finer things in life.

Reference Dickens, C. (1992). Great Expectations. London: Wordsworth Editions, 1992.


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