What insight are we offered into Pip's character in chapter 14 of Great Expectations?

1 Answer | Add Yours

litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Now that he is apprenticed to Joe, Pip is a little older and his personality is beginning to show.  He is an ungrateful young man.  He regrets his lower social status and dreams of being a gentleman.  He is ashamed of being a blacksmith.

An older Pip, looking back, begins the chapter with this comment.

IT IS A most miserable thing to feel ashamed of home. There may be black ingratitude in the thing, and the punishment may be retributive and well deserved; but, that it is a miserable thing, I can testify. (ch 14, enotes etxt p. 45)

Although Pip does love and care for Joe, he does not respect him.  He is afraid that Estella will not see him as a potential love interest because he is going to be a lowly blacksmith.  He describes himself as “quite as dejected” at this time in his life.  Miss Havisham believes she is doing Pip a favor by giving him a trade, but Pip is ungrateful to both her and Joe.

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. (ch 14, enotes etxt p. 45)

The adult Pip looks on his depression and is ashamed of it.  He describes his feelings as “ungracious” because as an adult he has the benefit of hindsight and experience to tell him he actually had things pretty good at this time.  If he had not had wishes to live above his station, and if he had not tried to win the unwinnable Estella, he might have actually been happy.

Pip does not benefit from having money.  At this time in his life, all he wants to be is a gentleman.  Yet we can tell that even after his expectations things did not work out for Pip.  Money did not buy him happiness.  He is ashamed of his feelings toward his home.  He should have appreciated what he had, but he does not realize this until later.


We’ve answered 318,028 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question