Social Class and Power in the Novel “Great Expectations”

Decent Essays
Social class played a major role in the society depicted in Charles Dickens 's novel “Great Expectations”. Many characters were treated differently because of their social class in the story. Seeing the contrast between how the poor and the rich were treated will give a clearer understanding of how much social class mattered. During the nineteenth century, British society was dominated and ruled by a tightly woven system of class distinctions. Social relations and acceptance were based upon position. Charles Dickens utilizes “Great Expectations” as a commentary on the system of class and each person 's place within it. In the character of Pip, Dickens demonstrates the working class ' obsession to overthrow their limitations and re-invent…show more content…
Realizing this will play a part in proving that social class did matter in most but not all cases. For example, the lowest class people were Joe, Biddy, Magwitch, and Orlick. Joe and Biddy were very poor but had very good hearts. Joe was always there for Pip and Biddy had moved in to help Mrs. Joe. Magwitch was a dirty convict of the lowest class, but he turned out to be a very caring and generous man. Orlick was low class and his character also turned out to be very low because he was a murderer. The fact that there are both good and cold hearted people in the lower class shows that class has no connection with how people really are. Another example is the richer class. This includes Ms. Havisham, Estella, Herbert, Jaggers, and Wemmick. Ms. Havisham and Estella were both very wealthy but they had no heart and their intentions were to bring hell to all men. While Herbert was the opposite, he was a true friend to Pip and always stayed by his side. Jaggers and Wemmick also in the higher class had supported Pip through his gentleman years. Being aware that not all of the high class were necessarily good people states the fact that class does not determine character. Even though class mattered in most things, this is an example it did not take part in.

The theme of social class is central to the novel’s plot and to the ultimate moral theme of the book. Pip’s realization that wealth and class are less important than affection, loyalty, and inner worth. Pip
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