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What are some examples of Pip's expectations for himself changing when introduced to...

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dlauria | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 26, 2012 at 4:45 AM via web

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What are some examples of Pip's expectations for himself changing when introduced to Miss Havisham and Estella?

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 26, 2012 at 5:41 AM (Answer #1)

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Pip is born into a common, lower-class family.  His parents are dead, and all of his siblings are dead except for the adult sister who takes care of him.  His uncle is a blacksmith, so he makes a trade living.  Pip does not have high expectations for himself.  He assumes that he will someday become a blacksmith like Joe.  Mrs. Joe does not think highly of his being a blacksmith.

“Perhaps if I warn't a blacksmith's wife, and (what's the same thing) a slave with her apron never off, I should have been to hear the Carols,” said Mrs. Joe. “I'm rather partial to Carols, myself, and that's the best of reasons for my never hearing any.” (chapter 4)

Since Pip has listened to her complain constantly, he probably does not think highly of being a blacksmith either.  However, Pip is neither prideful nor greedy.  As a child, he accepts things as they are.

When Pip meets Miss Havisham, everything changes.  He is struck by Estella making fun of him for being “coarse” and he begins to be ashamed.

I had never thought of being ashamed of my hands before; but I began to consider them a very indifferent pair. Her contempt for me was so strong, that it became infectious, and I caught it. (ch 8)

Pip begins to be ashamed of himself more and more, and the shame simply grows with his association with Estella.

When I got up to my little room and said my prayers, I did not forget Joe's recommendation, and yet my young mind was in that disturbed and unthankful state, that I thought long after I laid me down, how common Estella would consider Joe, a mere blacksmith; how thick his boots, and how coarse his hands. (chapter 9)

Even before Jaggers arrives with Pip’s expectations, Pip is beginning to see a different life for himself.  He is also falling hard for Estella.  He is not happy with the way things are in his life anymore.

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)

When Jaggers tells him he has “great expectations,” he figures he is set.  He can finally become a gentleman, and he will never be a blacksmith.  He will become refined, and marry Estella.

 

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