How does a theme evident in Great Expectations work it's way through the entire novel?

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missy575 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The theme of identity is the greatest one sticking out to me. Pip starts in a graveyard looking at the names of dead family members. You have to believe he wonders at what he is missing out on and how he is going to be a different person for having been raised "by hand" by his sister.

When Pip begins to experience life at Satis House, he grows curious about what makes a person different or rich like them. His own morality comes into question after his times there encourage him to lie to his sister even more about what he does while there.

As he gets to London and begins to try to live up to his expectations, his inability to know his benefactor further complicates this theme. He wants to think that it is Havisham, but it isn't. When he discovers the true identity of this person, he is ashamed and feels even more strange about who this support is coming from.

For the greater part of the book, he thinks he has a destiny set with Estella, but time withers his hope and once again, what he thought about his identity was to be true, was once again gone.


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Great Expectations

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