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In the first stage of Pip's expectations, what adjective would you use to describe...

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alrandye | Student, Grade 11 | eNoter

Posted January 17, 2014 at 12:30 PM via web

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In the first stage of Pip's expectations, what adjective would you use to describe Pip's relationship with Miss Havisham?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 17, 2014 at 1:00 PM (Answer #1)

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I think that one adjective that can describe Pip’s relationship with Miss Havisham would be “aware.”  Pip becomes aware of much with his initial introduction to Miss Havisham.  Simply observing the world in which she lives and the world from which he hails makes him aware:  “I took the opportunity of being alone in the court- yard to look at my coarse hands and common boots.”  In his first interaction with Miss Havisham, Pip becomes aware of his own being in the world.  He recognizes that reality which Estella uses to undercut him.  Pip is of a different world, a socially stratified condition.  He was not fully aware of this before.  Yet, in his initial interaction with Miss Havisham, he becomes cognizant of his own condition in the world.  As if emerging from a cave to see light, Pip understands that he is fundamentally different.  This awareness will motivate him, making him far from “satis”fied with his own place in the world.  Being  a “common laboring- boy” has dawned upon him and will forever change his perception of the world and his place in it.  This becomes a consequence of his initial interaction and the relationship with Miss Haivsham, something that dawns on Pip himself:  “I was much more ignorant than I had considered myself last night, and generally that I was in a low- lived bad way.”  Pip becomes aware of the social condition that “rich is right” and “poor is bad” as a result of his initial interaction with Miss Havisham.  He internalizes this to be the truth.

“Driven” would be another adjective to describe Pip’s relationship with Miss Havisham.  Pip initially does not see Miss Havisham as cruel or insane.  He notices the world in which she lives and does not question it.  Rather, he questions himself and criticizes his own condition.  As a result of his relationshio with Miss Havisham, social acceptance drives Pip.  Pip is driven to improve himself, to be seen as acceptable by the world in which Miss Havisham lives.  He wants to improve his education and wants to be “more” than what he is.  For Pip, the need to be socially “better” is one of the results of his relationship with Miss Havisham.  Dickens shows Pip to never question the condition of Miss Havisham’s being in the world.  Rather, Pip blindly accepts it and wants to become something he is not.  This driven aspect of his personality is something that emerges as a consequence of Pip’s relationship with Miss Havisham. 


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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 17, 2014 at 10:05 PM (Answer #2)

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Used as an adjective, the past participle of the verb exploit certainly applies to young Pip in his relationship with Miss Havisham. For, Pip is clearly exploited as he is brought to Satis House to be a playmate for Estella; in fact, Miss Havisham summarily orders Pip to play in Chapter VIII. When Estella disdainfully objects, "With this boy? Why, he is a common labouring-boy!” Miss Havisham whispers, "Well? You can break his heart," indicating her real purpose for having called for a boy in the neighborhood.

After the children finish playing, Miss Havisham haughtily dismisses Pip, instructing Estella to take him downstairs.

"Let him have something to eat, and let him roam and look about him while he eats. Go, Pip."

When Estella returns with some bread and meat, she sets it down on the stones of the yard and hands Pip the bread and meet, as he narrates,

...without looking at me, as insolently as if I were a dog in disgrace. I was so humiliated, hurt, spurned, offended, angry, sorry, that tears started to my eyes.

Later, in Stage I after Pip is apprenticed to Joe, Miss Havisham calls Joe Gargery with Pip to Satis House where she tells Joe, "Pip has earned a premium here. There are five-and-twenty guineas in this bag. Give it to your master, Pip. With this, she dismisses Pip, telling him Gargery is "your master now," with the implication that heretofore she has been.


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