In Great Expectations, why have Trabb and Pumblechook changed their attitude towards Pip?

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The simple answer is money.  Before Pip's acquisition of wealth, Trabb and Pumblechook didn't give Pip a second thought, and even treated him with a bit of derision.  When Pip comes into his money, Trabb and Pumblechook decide that he might be worth their time.  Pip goes into Trabb to buy some new clothes, and remarks that Trabb "did not think it was worth his while to come out to me."  At this point, Trabb did not know that Pip had money; he was eating his breakfast and didn't even stand up to help Pip.  However, when Pip tells him of his wealth, Trabb immediately sets down his breakfast and Pip remarks, " a change passed over Mr. Trabb."  Trabb then goes out of his way to behave respectfully.  The only difference here was the fact that Pip had money.

It is the same with Pumblechook.  Before Pip's money, Uncle Pumblechook was a bully to Pip; he teased him, scorned him, called him names, and beat up on him a little.  After Pip received his money, Pumblechook changed his tune.  All of a sudden Pip was "my dear boy," and "my dear young friend."  He becomes submissive, asking Pip's permission for everything, and goes out of his way to feed him and be polite and solicitous.  Again, the difference here was Pip's money.

It just goes to show how much power money can have; it also shows a rather unflattering side of human nature, one that indicates we will do quite a bit for money.  I hope that those thoughts help; good luck!

davmor1973 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Trabb, like any small businessman, wants to make money. And when Pip, on his way to London to become a gentleman, enters his tailor's shop, he starts seeing pound signs (£) before his eyes. Money talks, and so when Pip casually produces some shiny new guineas from his pocket, Mr. Trabb becomes incredibly interested, all of a sudden. Ever the businessman, he sees Pip's patronage as potentially leading to even better things. So, Trabb seizes his opportunity and asks Pip if he'd be so kind as to recommend him to any London gentlemen he may encounter.

Uncle Pumblechook is also highly delighted with Pip's sudden good fortune. But like Trabb, his motives are far from being disinterested. He regards himself as being ultimately responsible for Pip's becoming a gentlemen, the "humble instrument" who helped make it all happen. After all, he was responsible for introducing the young man to Miss Havisham, and like Pip himself, Pumblechook automatically assumes that she is Pip's benefactor. Pip is very much a feather in Uncle Pumblechook's cap. He sees Pip as his protege. He hopes that Pip will be grateful for having started him off on his journey towards gentility. And once Pip is finally established in London, perhaps he will be so kind as to remember his old Uncle Pumblechook and share some of his good fortune with him. It is not just Pip, then, who has "great expectations."

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Great Expectations

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