Illustration of Pip visiting a graveyard

Great Expectations

by Charles Dickens

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In Great Expectations, compare the Pip of the first few chapters with the Pip who leaves for London. How has he changed?

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In the first few chapters, Pip is an innocent child, but he is conflicted when he leaves for London. He is extremely happy that he's going to be given the chance to become a gentleman, but he also feels guilty for leaving Joe at the forge. Pip also knows the significance of money in a person's life. A person who is wealthy is treated better than a poor person. Pip has seen this in Mr. Trabb and Mr. Pumblechook. All of this leads Pip to accept the false values of the rich when he gets to London, replacing the spiritual values he's been raised with.

Pip also has his first argument with Biddy when he asks her to improve Joe. Pip sees himself as superior to Joe and Biddy because he's going to London to become a gentleman. When Biddy refuses, Pip accuses her of being jealous, but he doesn't realize that Biddy already knows that money and social standing don't necessarily make a person good or happy. Pip assumes that Joe and Biddy want to be rich and to have the opportunities that Pip is going to have in London. At this point, Pip believes nothing is more important than having money to buy the things he wants and being a member of the upper class.

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