In the novel Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, what are the differend kinds of love and their roles in Pip's life?
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In his book, The Art of Loving, the renowned psychoanalyst, Dr. Erich Fromm discusses the types of love and the progression through which an individual should grow in his/her ability to love. Using these stages, we can trace Pip's growth in loving:
Fromm writes that the young child's concept of love is basically selfish as the child views the world in terms of himself. Thus, Pip finds comfort with Joe who dons his affection upon the boy, protecting him from the wrath of Mrs. Joe, encouraging him in his scholarly pursuits--"You're an uncommon scholar, Pip"--and in demonstrating a mature, unselfish love: "Ever the best of friends, eh, Pip, old chap?" Of course, Pip does not reciprocate Joe's love; he merely feels secure in this love. So, when he visits Miss Havisham's, Pip is stunned by Estella's coldness and cruelty. When, for example, she ridicules his appearance as coarse and his speech as backward, Pip becomes discomfited and questions the value of Joe's affection and love because it no longer makes him feel secure, and security if the value that Pip the boy places upon love.
After Pip is notified of his "great expectations" and he moves to London to become educated and instructed in the ways of a gentleman, he values the attentions of the beautiful Estella and feels that he is in love with Estella, even though she coldly rejects him. At this point, then, Pip's feelings are infatuation as he is only in love.
LOVE FOR OTHERS/UNSELFISH LOVE
Later, as he encounters Provis and tries to help him escape London, Pip grows in altruistic feelings for the old Magwitch who has worked to pay for Pip's becoming a gentleman, even risking his life to visit the boy who he envisions as one like he once was and could have been if he had had a benefactor. Realizing all that Magwitch has done for him, Pip risks his life for Provis, and stays by his side, comforting him with the history of his beautiful daughter as Magwitch/Provis lies dying. After he cares for Provis, Pip visits Miss Havisham and saves her from a fire; he also rescues Herbert financially, making arrangements for him to work for a banking concern. Finally, Pip returns to Joe Gargery and the forge, begging forgiveness from his true friend. As the model of real love, Joe instantly indicates that there is nothing to forgive by saying his usual, "Ever the best of friends."
From the selfish heart of a child who desires what he falsely views as valuable--becoming a gentleman--Pip returns to where his heart has always been and finds comfort in the true, unselfish love of Joe.
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