Great Expectations Questions and Answers
by Charles Dickens

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What is the role played by money in Great Expectations?

Money plays a large role in Great Expectations. Pip's great expectations are financial, and his life changes radically when he receives a gentleman's allowance from a secret benefactor. Dickens shows that money warps relations between people, such as in Pip's growing snobbery towards Joe once he gains wealth. Pip matures when he realizes that a person's character is more important than their outward wealth or status.

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Money plays a very large role in Great Expectations. The title hints at this, for the great expectations that come to Pip are the expectations that he will become a wealthy gentleman due to the financial generosity of a mysterious benefactor.

Pip rises suddenly from being an orphan living with his sister and brother-in-law with no higher expectation than becoming a village blacksmith to a wealthy young man studying law in London. People treat Pip differently because of his wealth, and his own attitude towards others changes. Money has a warping effect on Pip, causing him to feel he is superior to people like the goodhearted Joe. He now avoids his old buddy.

Dickens shows money changing relationships between people, revealing the sheer power of financial status in the social order. However, we also see that where money comes from is important. Pip is filled with horror when he realizes that Magwitch, the convict he once helped, is his benefactor, rather than Miss Havisham. As he...

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