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"The sinister plot line of the novel Great Expectations runs parallel to to a journey...
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Pip’s expectations are like those of every man who dreams of having wealth and then somehow manages to get it—not unlike those of the great Gatsby in the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Every man thinks he will be happy, that he will meet wonderful people who will enrich his life with their culture, manners, and wisdom, that he will learn to enjoy music, drama, travel, fine food, and the company of fascinating women. He thinks that he himself will be transformed into a finer person. Pip, like many another man who has risen from rags to riches, discovers that much culture is bogus, fine manners are mostly affectations, travel is tiresome and disappointing, money can’t buy you love, and such things as music, drama, and museums exist mainly to relieve the boredom of having nothing important to do with one’s life. Pip is transformed, but not into a finer person. He is more of a wastrel and a fop, a disillusioned and disappointed person, and one who realizes how insignificant he actually is. Dickens’ heroine Little Dorrit has many of these same insights when her father inherits a fortune and is released from debtors prison.
The great German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) expresses the same bitter truths:
O for an Asmodeus of morality who for his minion rendered transparent not merely roofs and walls, but also the veil of dissimulation, falseness, hypocrisy, grimace, lying, and deception that is spread over everything, and who enabled him to see how little genuine honesty is to be found in the world and how often injustice and dishonesty sit at the helm, secretly and in the innermost recess, behind all the virtuous outworks, even where we least suspect them. ….And so young men should be taught that in this masquerade the apples are of wax, the flowers of silk, the fish of cardboard, and that everything is a plaything and a jest.
Posted by billdelaney on August 19, 2012 at 3:15 PM (Answer #1)
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