The Theme of Expectations in Charles Dickens' Great Expectations

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The Theme of Expectations in Charles Dickens' Great Expectations In "Great Expectations," the main theme is the theme of expectations. Dickens illustrates this theme through the character of Pip, by exploring the idea of ambition and self-improvement. The idea of expectations is the psychological mechanism that encourages Pip's development, as he is full of ambition and has "Great Expectations" about his future. Pip's expectations in the novel take three forms: social, moral and educational. By Examining the character of Pip and his three forms of expectations, as well as minor characters, Joe, Magwitch and Estella, it can be seen that the theme of expectations is clearly illustrated through the characters in the…show more content…
I was haunted by the fear that she would, sooner or later, find me out, with a black face and hands, doing the coarsest part of my work, and would exult over me and despise me" Clearly he is embarrassed, and almost mortified at the idea of Estella thinking of him as being common. This again emphasises his discomfort with remaining poor, and lower class. Early in the novel, Pip believes that education is essential to becoming a gentleman, as illustrated by his attempts to teach Joe how to read and write, and his receiving of lessons from Matthew Pocket. When Pip receives the news that he is to go to London and become a gentleman he turns obnoxious and arrogant: "I am very sorry to see this in you. I did not expect to see this in you. You are envious, Biddy, and grudging. You are dissatisfied on account of my rise in fortune, and you can't help showing it." As well as being very rude to Biddy, he now thinks he is better than Joe and Biddy, due to his new status as a gentleman. However, Pip soon realises his moral inadequacies and appreciates that one's true worth is irrespective of social class. This again restates the theme of ambition. He first begins to realise his moral inadequacies as he is leaving for
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