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What is the moral lesson in "Great Expectations?"I am having a hard time...

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floorhockeyrox | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 11, 2009 at 8:03 AM via web

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What is the moral lesson in "Great Expectations?"

I am having a hard time figuring that out.  Can anyone help me?

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ladyvols1 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted January 11, 2009 at 9:45 AM (Answer #1)

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The moral theme of “Great Expectations” is very basic.  It is an old moral theme that has been around as long as man has walked on this earth.  Pip, and the reader, learns that affection, loyalty, and conscience are more important than social advancement, wealth, and class. Charles Dickens creates this theme and the novel is based on Pip learning this very lesson.  Pip spends the novel exploring ideas of ambition and self-improvement. Pip is an idealist and if he can think it up, and if it is better than what he has, he wants it. When he first sees Satis House, he decides he wants to be a wealthy gentleman; when he thinks of his immorality, he tries to be better; when he realizes that he cannot read, he longs to learn how. Pip's desire for self-improvement creates “great expectations” about his future.

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sandydd | Student, Grade 9 | eNoter

Posted January 11, 2009 at 12:18 PM (Answer #2)

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There are many moral lessons in this novel. The main one is that wealth cannot bring happiness. and that appearances can misrepresent reality. When Pip visit the Satis House, everything contradicts what Pip's definition of rich. It is a worn-old house and sunshine never comes in the house. Estella has been raised to led an unhappy life, cruel and incapable of love. In later chapters, Pip will meet a convict, Magwitch. During that time, convicts are regard as being bad. However, Magwith turns out to be a compassionate man who works hard to give "expectations" to Pip in return for his kindness Pip shown when Pip give food to him many years ago.

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