How does Pip's narration of Great Expectations show the gradual increase of wisdom and the value of hindsight?Just like the above question states.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Perhaps because "Great Expectations" was serialized, Dickens often has his narrator, Pip, end sections with almost jounal-like reflections.  For example, at the end of Pip's first visit to meet Miss Havisham and Estella, Pip reflects,

That was a memorable day to me, for it made great changes in me.  But it is the same with any life.  Imagine one selected day struck out of it, and think how different its course would have been...[This day was] the formation of the first link...

At the end of the First Stage, Pip records his feelings  regarding his parting from Joe and Biddy to London:

I walked away at a good pace, thinking it was easier to go than I had supposed it would be.  The village was very peaceful and quiet, and all beyond was so unknown and great that in a moment with a strong heave and sob I broke into tears.  I was better after I had cried than before--more sorry, more aware of my own ingratitude, more gentle....And the mists had all solemnly risen now, and the world lay spread before me.

From this world "spread" before him, Pip learns to forgive Miss Havisham for having made Estella so heartless:  "I want forgiveness and direction far too much to be bitter with you."  From Magwitch Pip learns that goodness can come from the wretched of the world.  In gratitude Pip tells the Magwitch, "I will never stir from your side...I will be as true to you as you have been to me." Pip's gratitude extends to Herbert:

We owed so much to Herbert's ever cheerful industry...that I often wondered how I had conceived that old ideas of his inaptitude, until I was one day enlightened...that perhaps the inaptitude had never been in him at all, but had been in me.

And, of course, Pip returns to the forge to give Joe his "penitent remonstrance.

troutmiller's profile pic

troutmiller | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

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Throughout the novel, Pip gets his education from his experiences in life, not from his lessons with either Biddy or Mr. Pocket.  When these expectations are presented to him, Pip assumes that Miss Havisham is behind it all.  She also leads him to believe that she is the benefactor; however, she is not the person behind the money. 

In the progression of Pip's life, he gains money only to waste it on meaningless items and servants.  The only thing that he does that's somewhat heroic with his money is when he helps Herbert out with his business.  Other than that, Pip is materialistic and completely neglects his true friends, Joe and Biddy.  Through his narration, we finally see Pip gain insight into his life and the decisions he's made, and the mistakes he's made.  At the end, he is older, has a decent job, and he runs into Estella. 

His narration shows us not only how he's changed, but it shows how Estella has matured as well.  She wants his forgiveness.  She says, "There was a long hard time when I kept far from me, the remembrance, of what I had thrown away when I was quite ignorant of its worth."  She didn't realize what she had until it was gone.  This is just like Pip when he went to confess his love to Biddy.  He found that she was marrying Joe.  Neither Pip nor Estella realized what they had until it was taken from them. Now, at the end they are older and wiser, and will be able to find happiness together.

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