Pumblechook’s changed attitude to Pip when he has money is a reflection of Pip’s changed attitude towards Joe. When Pip was given the opportunity to become a gentleman he forgot about all his friends and became ashamed of his background. Pip was accepted into upper class society because of his riches. However Pip found it hard to settle in, as he had been brought up by different standards. Pip had to learn to become upper class, which he did through the guidance of Herbert Pocket, Jaggers and Wemmick during his life in London Jaggers is a much-respected London lawyer who is the key figure in the mystery surrounding Pip.
He first meets Pip in Satis House and later when he tells him he “will come into a handsome property. ” (Ch 18) Jaggers however is a working class crook that scares even the hardened criminals, but he cares for and respects Pip. Jaggers is the reason for Pip coming to London explaining about his secret benefactor. He is Magwitch’s agent and therefore a link between all parties. Jaggers seemingly cold and dispassionate way in which he carries out his professional responsibilities seems to embody the essence of the Victorian legal system.
Wemmick who is Jagger’s legal clerk, is a kind and sensitive man when he is away from his depressing working environment, he seems to live a double life: “No; the office is one thing, and private life is another. When I go into the office, I leave the castle behind me, and when I come into the castle, I leave the office behind me. ” (Ch 25) Wemmick introduces Pip to his deaf father whom he refers to as “the aged” and takes loving care of, this shows Wemmick is not worried about what class he is from and his background unlike Pip. Wemmick’s make-believe world is in stark contrast to the harsh reality of life in London.
This is a rare example of a happy home life in the novel. Pip takes an immediate liking to Herbert Pocket who strikes him as open, generous and cheerful. They become best of friends and are very loyal to each other. Pip confides in Herbert and tells him about his life in the forge. Herbert is a good role model for Pip’s desire to become a gentleman. He helps Pip by teaching him manners: “Let me introduce the topic, Handel, by mentioning that in London it is not the custom to put the knife in the mouth – for fear of accidents” (Ch 22)
Pip asks Herbert to teach him manners during their meal; Herbert gently correcting Pip regularly interrupts their conversation about handling cutlery and his eating habits. Mathew Pocket is Miss Havisham’s cousin and Herbert’s father; he tutors Pip and other young men to become gentlemen. Mathew is the only relative of Miss Havisham who is not interested in her money. Mathew Pockets wife is Mrs Pocket who is obsessed that there may be a slight possibility that she may be royalty; this shows that social class means a lot to her.
Pip begins the novel as a young boy loved and looked after by his Uncle Joe, however as he grows up he finds that his views on life change his feelings towards Joe. As Pip progresses in life, he becomes increasingly ungrateful to the people that have cared for him as a child. Joe’s attitude towards money is clear, he is an example of goodness and generosity but he feels that the money Pip has received becomes a barrier between them as it changes Pip. Pip not having seen Joe for a number of years, shows that he would rather continue his new prosperous life without having to associate with Joe.
Despite Joe’s kindness and caring, Pip remains unappreciative and ungrateful because now he is wealthy he does not want to talk to poor people in case it ruins his image. The disrespect that Pip shows towards Joe during his visit to London changes their once special relationship. Pip realises that status and wealth is nothing compared to the love that he had with Joe, it is only later that he feels very guilty. Pip’s first and only love throughout the novel is Estella. Estella is very cruel to Pip.
She bullies Pip but he continues to like her and does not stop loving her because he feels she has goodness inside her. As a child when she had called him a “common labouring boy” with “coarse hands” and “thick boots”, she later tries to explain to him that she did not have a heart. After many years, Pip who is now a gentleman sees Estella in London where he falls in love with her again. She explains that she cannot have any feelings for him. Pip almost gives up on Estella when he hears that she is engaged to his enemy Bentley Drummle.
However a couple years later when Pip goes to see Joe and Biddy he visits Satis House and finds Estella unwedded. Estella finds that deep down she does actually love Pip. Throughout Great Expectations, Dickens explores the class system of Victorian England, using characters such as the poor peasants of the marsh country like Joe, the middle class like Pumblechook and the very rich like Miss Havisham. The theme of social class is the novel’s main plot. Pip is one of the many characters in the novel, which aspires to gain wealth. Pip’s aspiration to become a gentleman is fuelled by wealth.
Pip is at his most worthless when he is obsessed by becoming a gentleman and despises common people. Dickens does not object to wealth and social position only to people’s false beliefs that make them try to improve their breeding and riches forsaking everything else. Pip grows to realise that wealth and social class are less important than respect and loyalty. Pip achieves this realization when he is able to understand that despite the respect he has for Estella, someone’s social status is in no way connected to someone’s real character.