The Battle between Passion and Responsibility in Great Expectations

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How do passions and desires eight in against duties and responsibilities? It is a personal battle that many people fight every day. In Great Expectations, young Pip fights this battle with himself. Charles Dickens portrays Pip as a young lower middle class boy in Victorian Era England. Pip is a blacksmith-to-be and early on is satisfied with his life. As Pip’s life progresses, he is confronted with opportunities and situations that challenge his very integrity. Pip is given the ability to pursue his passions, but perhaps he is given this ability before he developed the responsibility and judgment to use them wisely. A reader may trace Pip’s conflicts of passion and responsibility through the three stages of his life in order to discover…show more content…
The happiness and absolute bliss Pip feels tell the reader that the innocent, kind, Pip from the beginning of the novel is still somewhere within the new Pip, and seems to be making a comeback. As Pip thinks about Joe, he sadly proclaims, “But, [the] sharpest and deepest pain of all… [was when] I sat thinking that I had deserted Joe” (349). As Pip’s fortune dwindles, Pip looks back in retrospect and sees the horror of the cruelty with which he treated his loved ones. Pip’s passions begin to be outweighed by his responsibilities as Pip matures into an adult, showing the growth Pip experienced as a person. Pip’s fortune, which once fueled his passions, faded, and, almost like a lifting fog, revealed to Pip the error of his ways and path to personal redemption. In the end, Pip was able to shake of his juvenile desire and act responsibly. The growth Pip experienced as he broke free of the chains of Satis House and Estella is immense and life changing. Pip finally realizes the appalling behaviors he has shown to those that gave him nothing but love. As a pensive pip states, “…The inaptitude had never been in [Joe] at all, but it had been in me” (516). When Pip loses his status and wealth, he realized that they were just material things, and never as important as he thought they were. Pip’s fight with passion and responsibility is finally won by
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