Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

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Discuss the sociological problems in Great Expectations.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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From a sociological point of view, there is much in Dickens' work that talks about the presence of money in one's life. The fact that Miss Havisham was abandoned by her suitor caused sadness.  His cheating her out of money causes her to be bitter about things, transferring this to Estella.  The stealing of food for Magwitch in the opening section of the novel reflects the condition of needing to steal food, a lack of resources dominating one's state of being in the world.  The industrialized context had caused a significant change in sociological reality, something of which Pip is a part in the context of the novel.  Pip recognizes the need to improve himself and his standing so that he is more economically viable in this setting.  Pip understands that the industrialized setting in which he exists is one where success is defined by money and the possession of material wealth.  This sociological condition is not one that Pip seeks to actively change, but rather a set of conditions that he seeks to appropriate.  In the end, I think that this becomes the sociological reality that surrounds Pip and a fundamental paradigm that Dickens critiques in the novel.

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