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How does Pip's personality change throughout the novel, Great Expectations?

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dean2356 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 3, 2008 at 8:53 PM via web

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How does Pip's personality change throughout the novel, Great Expectations?

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 4, 2008 at 12:48 AM (Answer #1)

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Pip begins the novel as a humble and loving young lad living in the house of Joe, the blacksmith, and Mrs. Joe, Pip's sister.  Mrs. Joe rules the home with an iron fist (even Joe seems a bit wary of her and her temper) and Pip tries very hard to please her and obey.  Pip is to be apprenticed to Joe and become a blacksmith himself, and we understand that he is pleased with this since Pip loves spending time with mild-mannered Joe in the shop.  He is happy with his life and content with his future.

When he helps a convict in the graveyard, Pip feels guilty about stealing a pie and other items from Mrs. Joe and a file from Joe to help with the convict's leg irons.  He has told lies and stolen, which plague him and tell us that he is a good moral character.

The convict, unknowingly to Pip, arranges for Pip to go to school and become a gentleman.  Pip begins to visit Miss Havisham and Estella regularly.  He goes to London to be educated and find a profession that suits a "gentleman" of his character.

Pip begins to get too big for his britches and looks down upon the dirt and filth of the blacksmith and the fact that Joe hasn't learned to read.  He is not the loving, humble, and content young man he once was.  Pip allows this to get between him and the ones he loves--namely Biddy and Joe.

Once Pip realizes that Miss Havisham is not his benefactor and he will not marry Estella, he once again nourishes his humble upbringing.

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