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PIP’S PERSONALITY CHANGE
Most people would assume that through age and maturation, a boy with a wonderful heart and personality would further develop into a kind hearted, considerate gentleman. In Great Expectations, Charles Dickens provides his readers with an example of a boy who regresses in certain aspects of his personality rather than progressing as one would expect. Pip, a person who had loved and revered his uncle Joe as a child, while maturing, finds that his perspective on life has shifted.
This boy, beginning life with a caring, generous heart, regresses becoming a superficial, ungrateful man who is ashamed of what he had once been.
Pip and Biddy had become the best of friends and felt very strongly towards each other. However, once Pip had been introduced to Estella, he was overcome by her beauty, and would never again be able to look at Biddy, without feeling critical towards her.
Slowly, after coming into contact with Estella, Pip was becoming superficial, as he was only interested in a girl’s appearance. Thinking of Biddy, Pip thought to himself, “She was not beautiful She was common and could not be like Estella…” (p 600)
Estella’s beauty had made Pip blind as to what was really important in a person. No matter how coldly Pip was treated by Estella, he went on loving her only because of her astounding beauty. As Pip progressed in life, he became increasingly ungrateful to the people that had raised and cared for him as a child.
His disrespect was most strongly shown towards Joe. Having not seen Joe for a number of years, Pip shows that he would rather have continued his now prosperous life without having anything to do with Joe, when he thinks, “Let me confess with what feeling I looked forward to Joe’s coming… Not with pleasure though I was bound to him by so many ties; no, with considerable disturbance and some mortification.” (p 630)
Despite Joe’s kindness and caring, Pip remained unappreciative and ungrateful, for now Pip was wealthy and did not care to have contact with a poor man. Pip’s most unfavorable quality was the fact that he was ashamed of his past and his family. By now, the only thing Pip was interested in was impressing Miss Havisham and Estella with his new wealth and high status.
If he was seen with a poor, unintelligent man such as Joe, he would be mortified. Pip was also worried that enemies of his would see him with Joe. “I had little objection to his being seen by Herbert or his father, for both of whom I had respect; but I had the sharpest sensitiveness to his being seen by Drummle…” (p 630) Pip was worried that Drummle would harass him if he was seen with a poor, lowly blacksmith. Pip’s disrespect shown towards Joe during his visit to London, forever changed their once special relationship with each other. In conclusion, Pip’s unfavorable qualities brought him nothing but grief. Being superficial caused Pip to have an unending love for a woman who showed him no respect and had no feelings for him. His ungratefulness and the fact that he was ashamed of his poor family caused his relationship with Joe and Biddy to forever change. When Pip finally realized that status and wealth were unimportant, it was too late. He had already damaged his relationship with the two people who were most important to him, Joe and Biddy. This simply shows that every person should be proud of his/her background and should never try to be something he/she is not.
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