In Great Expectations, besides Joe and Estella, what other characters influence Pip? What do they do and how do their actions influence him?

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A most impressionable boy and young man, Pip is affected by all with whom he comes into contact--from the pitiable, shivering convict to the "basest of swindlers," Uncle Pumbllechook, the bizarre Miss Havisham, the menacing Bentley Drummle, the sanguine Herbert, the blustering Mr. Jaggers, and kindly Mr. Wemmick.

From the first time that he encounters the convict Magwitch and the jilted bride, Miss Havisham, Pip feels sorry for both; he pities the cold, grey convict who shivers with ague, and he sympathizes with the woman whose heart has been broken.  In Stage 3 he tells Miss Havisham that, like her, his heart, too, has been broken.  But, he forgives Miss Havisham her cruelty to him in coaching Estella to become so cruel.  From Magwitch, whose declaration that he is Pip's benefactor repulses Pip, Pip later learns to forgive and to appreciate loyalty.  When Magwitch is injured and caught, Pip tells him," I will be as true to you as you have been to me!"

Friendship is the value that Pip learns from Herbert as well as from Joe and Biddy.  Herbert is a loyal friend and agrees to help Pip.  Because of his friend's loyalty, Pip later pays Herbert's debts.  Pip has learned gratitude.  And, it is gratitude for his kindnesses that Pip learns from Wemmick, as well.  When Pip is troubled, Wemmick welcomes Pip to his home where he tenderly cares for his Aged Parent, also showing Pip the meaning of love.

And, most of all, Mr. Jaggers's lesson of "not taking things on appearance" has been invaluable to Pip.  For, he realizes  that goodness and love are not class conscious and can be found right at home or in the heart of a poor man, just as much as it can in a gentleman.

Read the study guide:
Great Expectations

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question