What are a few examples of Pip's being lonely through his own fault in Great Expectations by Charles Dickens?

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

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In this novel, Dickens explores the theme that money does not lead to happiness.  Pip is born poor, but he does have a family.  Although his sister is abusive, his uncle Joe is kind and caring.  When Pip encounters his first opportunity, visiting Miss Havisham to “play” with Estella, he takes it to help his family but also to escape them.  He misses his parents and his siblings, all dead.

When Pip is offered the opportunity to leave and become a gentleman, he takes it without looking back.  He has a chance to become a gentleman, and leave poverty behind.  He is also leaving Estella behind, but he does not realize it.  Since Miss Havisham is the only person he knows with money, he assumes that she is his benefactor and he is being groomed to be a mate for Estella.

Estella is the first example of the lonliness of Pip’s new life.  Although he is hired to be her companion, he is really being used by Miss Havisham to teach Estella how to be cruel to men.  She is learning how to break hearts, as Miss Havisham’s was broken so many years ago.  Estella is a constant tease, and Pip falls in love with her but it is a one-sided and unsatisfying relationship.

When Pip reaches London, he encounters true loneliness.  Jaggers looks out for him because he is paid to, and Jaggers is another completely unfulfilling relationship.  Jaggers is so carefully guarded that he does not become close to anyone, and although he does keep Pip close it is out of obligation and not friendship.  Pip meets some good people in London, including Herbert and Jaggers’s clerk, Wemmick.  Even Wemmick is faily guarded though, because he only shows his true nature at home and not around Jaggers.

Pip makes few real friends in London, and encounters the false friendships of “gentlemen” more and more often.  He is constantly teased by Estella, and still harbors hope of marrying her.  He rejects his real family, including Joe.  He later regrets this, wishing he had found someone like Biddy rather than hopelessly fawning for Estella.

When Magwitch comes back into Pip’s life, the gig is up and everything turns to chaos.  Pip loses every connection to the world of gentleman, but in the end he is relieved.  He realizes that family is what’s real, and what’s important.  Whichever ending you go by, it is safe to say that Pip continues to leave a pretty lonely life.

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