Great Expectations Questions and Answers
by Charles Dickens

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What is the central theme of the novel Great Expectations?

The central theme of Great Expectations may be summed up as “be yourself.” Throughout the novel, Charles Dickens stresses the importance of authenticity and personal integrity. Pip constantly strives to be someone he is not but is satisfied only when he realizes he must be true to himself. Joe, in contrast, has a strong sense of self, which enables him to maintain his integrity. This allows him to be the loyal friend on whom Pip can rely.

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A succinct statement of the novel’s central theme is "be yourself." Charles Dickens demonstrate how important it is to be authentic and maintain one’s integrity. The protagonist , Pip, is a child and an adolescent for much of the novel. Swayed by his windfall, he is constantly trying to be someone he is not. He finds himself believing that he deserves the largesse that he received through luck. His alienation from his roots makes him pine for Estella and be cruel to Joe. In the long run, it is Joe’s...

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