How does Great Expectations by Charles Dickens not represent society, but rather produce a powerful criticism of a particular society?

Expert Answers
gpane eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This novel is intended by its author to be a critique of the type of society that is obsessed with money-making and commercial enterprises. It is the desire to grow rich that takes Pip from his humble rural beginnings and the faithfulness and loyalty of his true friends Joe and Biddy, to an essentially unfulfilling life in commercial London. Pip's pursuit of wealth and the girl he can't have, Estella (whom he thinks is above him socially, although she turns out to be low-born) turn him into a snob and end up almost ruining him altogether.

However, as well commercial society it should be noted that the humble country life into which Pip is born also comes in for criticism; it is shown to be quite a poor, rough, and backward environment. Pip receives a paltry education and is ill-treated by his sister, and we are told his siblings died young.

Read the study guide:
Great Expectations

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question