Great Expectations is a coming-of- age story. In other words, at least one of the characters grows up during the course of the novel. In this case, it is Pip who grows from a boy, with boyish fears and expectations to a man, who can reflect on the world in a more mature way. Pip begins the story as a poor young boy who becomes terrified when confronted by Magwitch, the prisoner. His expectations in life seem to be to follow Joe and be a blacksmith Once he sees Estella and then gains an unknown benefactor, his expectations change and and he develops into a rather snobbish young gentleman. After discovering the truth about his benefactor and loses that benefactor, he is forced to realize the truth about himself and becomes a clerk in Cairo. During the eleven years in Cairo, he matures, realizing what a snob he had been and develops into a more thoughtful young man. When he returns to England after 11 years, he is able to face Estella at her old home, Satis, and, although the ending is unclear, the popular interpretation is that they stay together as equals. Thus he has changed from a frightened boy to a rather self-confident young man.
A 'round character' is a character who undergoes both physical and mental and emotional changes through the course of the novel: "Aspects of the Novel" by E.M.Forster (1927).
1. From Ch 1 to ch 6 Pip is a small boy who is six or seven years old.
2. In Ch.7 he is "old enough to be apprenticed to Joe," that is, about 14 years.
3. When his "expectations" are announced in Ch.18 he is about 17 or 18 years old.
4. In Ch 36, Pip "comes of age" and he celebrates his "one-and-twentieth birthday."
5. In Ch.39, he is "three-and-twenty years of age."
6. In Ch.59, Pip tells Biddy that he is "already quite an old bachelor."
Mental and emotional:
1.At the end of Ch 9 Pip confesses to Joe that he had told lies about what he saw in Miss Havisham's house. Then Joe advises him never to tell lies, and Pip remarks, "that was a memorable day to me, for it made great changes in me."
2. In Ch 14 Pip tells us how he once looked forward to being apprenticed to Joe, but now after he has become infatuated with Estella he hates it, "as if a thick curtain had fallen on all its interest and romance."
3. In Ch 39,when he meets Magwitch and realises that it is he who is his real benefactor and not Miss Havisham, Pip is completely repulsed by Magwitch. However, later on, Pip sympathises with him and arranges for his escape. In Ch 56, Pip like a son holds Magwitch's hand as he breathes his last.