How does Pip feel about himself as a gentleman when he no longer has money? What values of Pip's society is Dickens criticizing by calling attention to Pip's feelings? 

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Michael Foster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Pip’s hopes in being a gentleman were wrapped up in his status as a “man of leisure,” meaning that he need not work for a living. To be a wage laborer, such as a clerk, was not within the realms of possibility for a gentleman, but its definition in the Victorian society in which Pip lived. More than education, more than parentage, it was the source of money (even more than the amount of money) that had become the identifying mark of a gentleman. It was not even his burdensome debt load that made him less than a gentleman, since this was almost common for the leisured class at that time. The fact that he would now have to find a job, such as he had provided for Herbert Pocket, meant that his “great expectations” had now come to an end.

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Great Expectations

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