What influences the change in Pip as a character in chapters 25 and 26?Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter XXV of Great Expectations, Pip resides with Matthew Pocket's family of whom Herbert is a part. While there, Pip makes the acquaintance of the surly Bentley Drummle, a crass and disagreable young man whom Jaggers later calls "The Spider." But, he makes friends with Startop, who is more gentle person than Drummle.  With Startop, Pip becomes interested in boating and they "pull homeward abreast of one another, conversing from boat to boat."  But, it is Herbert Pocket who becomes Pip's intimate friend with whom he shares secrets such as his love for Estella.

Knowing that he has acquired money, Pip, unfortunately, adopts expensive habits and becomes a spendthrift as he wishes to play the role of gentleman alongside Herbert, and not seem stingy and crass like Drummle.  Also, since he has left the forge, Pip searches for a paternal figure; this figure he finds in the congenial Mr. Wemmick, who invites Pip to come for dinner and stay the night.

In Chapter XXVI, in contrast to the dinner at Walworth where Wemmick lives with his beloved Aged Parent, Pip dines at Mr. Jagger's house.  There he again encounters Bentley Drummle in whom Jaggers takes a great interest, but he cautions Pip against the man.  At half past nine, Mr. Jaggers ends the party, but toasts Mr. Drummle, an upper class lout who insults Startop.  But, for some reason, Jaggers "followed him with the same strange interest." Pip, too, is interested in Drummle as a possible rival or threat since Jas has warned him to stay away from Bentley Drummle.

Certainly, Pip has been exposed to several types of people in London, people who influence change in him from the naive boy on the forge.  From Drummle, Pip learns to be wary of strangers; from Startop he sees gentleness, from Herbert Pip learns true gentlemanly behavior, but not how to budget his money. And, finally from Wemmick, Pip learns to dissemble his real feelings, and open himself only to those who love him.  He also sees genuine filial devotion by Wemmick.  Pip has come a long ways from child to gentleman.

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Great Expectations

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