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Great Expectations

by Charles Dickens
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Does Pip get his great expectation in Great Expectations?

Great Expectations is not merely a bildungsroman (a novel of education) but also a künstlerroman (a novel of artistic development). The novel emphasizes the tension between Pip's desire to become a gentleman and his fear of losing his identity, his roots in the working class, and his close relationships with Joe and Biddy. Pip realizes that he grew up in Joe's forge, where he was taught how to treat people. He gains an understanding that what is important in life are people, not wealth or social standing.

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When Pip finds out a secret benefactor is financing him to become a gentleman—the "great expectations" of the novel's title—his expectation is that this is the work of Miss Havisham. He expects that she wants to raise him up in wealth and social class so that he can marry Estella.

This expectation is utterly dashed: Pip learns that Magwitch, the convict, is his benefactor, and that Miss Havisham has nothing to do with his elevation. She has raised Estella to break hearts, not gain Pip's heart.

Pip also has the secondary expectation that his life will be better once he becomes a rich gentleman, but that expectation too turns out to be false. Pip only regains a sense of self and wholeness after he is humbled, loses his money, has Joe pay his debts, and comes to realize that living an honorable and simple life is better than being a rich snob.

None of Pip's expectations come to pass, but he nevertheless becomes a better, kinder, and wiser person due to his experiences.

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I would say that Pip gets some of his great expectation, but not all of it.

The main part of Pip's great expectation is that he will become a gentleman and a man with money.  This part of his expectation comes true as he becomes much more (economically and socially) than he was at the start of the book.

However, Pip does not get this in the way he expects.  He gets it because of the help of a convict, not Miss Havisham.

In addition, Pip does not get Estella the way he thinks he will at the beginning of the book.  He starts out thinking they will marry, but that does not happen.

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