What are the three stages of Pip's expectations?Comment on them.

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Pip’s expectations are broken down into a cycle of how he experiences the world.

Stage One: Childhood and the Rise to Riches

Pip has almost no expectations when the book opens.  He agrees to help the convict Compeyson because he is afraid of him, and because it is the right thing to do.  This simple generosity seals his fate, but it is a childish generosity born from a simple life.  When Pip is removed from this life, his values change.

The other key element of Pip’s first stage is the careful grooming at the hands of Miss Havisham.  She chooses him because he is a coarse, easily manipulated boy and she needs him as a plaything for Estella.  Pip learns some important lessons about living life in the upper class, but these lessons are accompanied by ridicule and confusion.

Stage Two: Becoming a Gentleman in Name Only

Pip goes to London and meets a new cast of influences, including the macabre Jaggers, the enigmatic Wemmick, and the eternally cheerful Herbert Pocket.  The new stage is carefully woven with the old one though, and Pip assumes that he is being tutored and trained to be an equal match for Estella.  He is confused by her cold treatment of him, and her association with other less desirable men.

At this stage, Pip learns very little.  Having money for the first time, his spending is wasteful and he has no control of his finances.  His choice of friends is even worse, as he associates with the supposed gentlemen of the Finches of the Grove and Mr. Pocket’s tutees.  His ego grows, and he comes ashamed of his home and simple values.  While he becomes a gentleman, he also becomes a jerk.

Stage Three: Reality Comes Crashing Down

When Magwitch re-enters Pip’s life, the fantastical journey ends.  The curtain is lifted, and all of the mysteries are solved.  Estella marries, then is widowed.   Pip loses all of his money, and loses Magwtich.  With Miss Havisham gone, both Pip and Estella are free.  Pip grows up.  He puts his priorities in the right place, and he tries to help Magwitch, let Herbert live the life he wants, shows appreciation for Joe and Biddy, and becomes friends with Estella.


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Great Expectations

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