Compare Belinda Pocket's obsession with social status and nobility with that of Pip's quest for social status and becoming a gentleman?Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is apparent that there are parallels between the frivolous Belinda Pocket and Pip in Charles Dickens's Great Expectations.  In Chapter XXIII, Mrs. Pocket is clearly the object of Dickens's satire as she is a characterization of those who aspire to the upper class.  She has servants performing all the womanly skills that she has never learned; she sits and reads her book that is "all about titles" while her baby becomes trapped under her dress, and nearly escapes harm, or, again, it nearly puts its eye out with a nutcracker.  When her eight-year-old daughter warns her, Mrs. Pocket scolds the girl, "You naughty child. How dare you?"

Like Mrs. Pocket, in his aspirations to be a gentleman, Pip ignores the advice of Mr. Jaggers and spends his money much too freely, hiring a servant and lavishly furnishing the appartment he shares with Herbert Pocket.  Pretentious after a while of spending freely in London and seeking the society of Estella, Pip neglects Joe; even when Joe visits, he is rude to him.  Similar to Mrs. Pocket, Pip pursues an illusionary status while ignoring what is truly of value, his family. In his efforts to appear as a gentleman, Pip also seeks the unattainable as does Mrs. Pocket.  While she covets a title, Pip desires the "star," Estella. 

Pip's involvement with the appearances of things clearly parallels the superficiality of Mrs. Pocket who pursues her attainment of a title which will make her appear to be somebody.  For, like Mrs. Pocket, Pip loses sight of the real values, such as genuine love and family. 

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Great Expectations

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