Dickens has used crime in most of his novel plots.  Discuss criminal wealth and respectability in refrence to Dickens' ideas in Great Expectations.

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Susan Woodward eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Great Expectations, Pip becomes suddenly wealthy when a mysterious benefactor decides to provide for his becoming a proper gentleman.  Pip belives that his benefactor is Miss Havisham and that she wishes to make him a suitable match for her adopted daughter Estella.  He accepts the money under these false assumptions, but is later horrified to learn that the benefactor is really Able Magwitch, an escaped criminal.  In his childhood, Pip had helped Magwitch after running into him in the cemetery on Christmas.  The boy had provided food and drink as well as not telling what he saw when the police came searching for a pair of escaped convicts.  Magwitch had made a new life for himself in Australia, and he wished to repay Pip's kindness by making him into a gentleman.  After learning the truth, Pip acted as if everything he'd gained was tainted, and he initially felt ashamed.  He does, however, attempt to help Magwitch escape England once again, but the criminal is caught.  Pip spends every moment he can with the man who had shown him so much kindness, and he no longer feels ashamed of his association with Magwitch.

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Great Expectations

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