Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

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What are some of the character traits of Pip and Estella from Great Expectations by Charles Dickens?

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althair eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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This is among my favorite novels and is the novel I think best serves as an introduction to reading Dickens.  Just to add a few ideas to the excellent answer above, here's a few things to think about:

Very early in the novel, at the Christmas dinner, Uncle Pumblechook (what a great name for a character who is a bit of a jerk) tells Pip to especially "be grateful, boy, to them which brought you up by hand" (chapter 4).  This is really a supreme example of Dickens's genius, because the reader has by now divined that Pip is an abused child, somewhat protected by Joe, but psychologically and physically abused by his sister.  And the "by hand" expression, which Mrs. Joe brags of constantly, comes to mean specifically by beating you.  So the reader sees this advice from Pumblechook, whom I have already described as a pompous rear portion of your anatomy (all right, I just said "jerk" earlier) as asking Pip to be grateful to those who are beating him!  However, that is just irony ; that is...

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mwestwood eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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