What are Pip's three good character traits, does he get them or lose them gradually, and what quotes show these traits?

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ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Pip is a character whose traits are shaped by his changing circumstances. One of Pip's good traits is his ability to care for others. He first shows this trait when he brings the food to the convict,yet is also concerned about stealing from his sister. After Pip visits Miss Havisham's, that sense of caring is gradually strangled by Pip's own ambition and "expectations." He is very cruel to Joe and Biddy but towards the end of the novel, Pip regains this sense of caring. He sets up Herbert in business and later stays with Magwitch until his death. Secondly, Pip is able to learn from his experiences and not be bitter. He faces many obstacles in his long journey of self-discovery, but eventually learns the true value in people comes from their heart, not from their social station or money. Finally, Pip is brave. He shows this bravery at the beginning in the graveyard with Magwitch and towards the end when he risks his life to save his benefactor. He also saves Miss Havisham from the fire and then confronts her to ask her help for the Pockets. He is also finally brave enough to face his own shortcomings and admit he was wrong in his treatment of Joe and also, Biddy.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One salient trait is Pip's introspective acumen from which the reader learns moral lessons.  His humility in these introspections is also noteworthy.  Often at the end of a chapter, Pip looks inward. Here is one example early in the novel:

The fear of losing Joe's confidence tied up my tongue.  In a word, I was too cowardly to do what i knew to be right, as I had been too cowardly to avoid doing what I knew to be wrong.

And another, after he has been to Miss Havisham's for the first time:

That was a memorable day to me, for it made great changes in me.  But it is the same with any life.  Imagine one selected day struck out of it, and think how different its course would have been.  Pause, you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, or thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Pip learns from his mistakes, he is caring and he is passionate.  He is able to be introspective and look at his mistakes.  Although he does not always make the best choices, he does learn from them eventually.

Pip is caring, even in his arrogant and selfish stage.  He is deeply affected by Wemmick and the Aged, and what he witnesses at the Pocket house.  He does care about Joe, and realizes what he is becoming even before he is able to do anything about it.  In the end, he still cares about Estella despite who she has become.

Pip is passionate.  He is highly ambitious, which can be a good or bad form of passion.  He loves deeply.  While these can be negative traits, they can also be positive ones.

ajmchugh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I, too, think Pip's honesty is his best characteristic.  When I introduce this novel, I tell my students that Dickens develops Pip's character so artfully and so completely that readers are able predict his thoughts, feelings, and responses to so many of the situations he encounters.  It's important, for readers, to be able to trust their narrator.  And because Dickens is such a master at character development, we see Pip go from an innocent young boy to an arrogant young adult.  We never, however, call his honesty into question, as it is consistent throughout the work. 

amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

He is honest...doesn't want to steal the food from his sister's pantry or the file from Joe's blacksmith shop. 

He is loyal...he feels guilt for stealing these items and he also feels guilty for having made Joe feel like a lesser being when Pip has come into his fortune later on in the book.  He also takes a closer look at Biddy when he finally gives up on the idea of Estella, but by this time, Biddy and Joe have become a couple.


sandydd | Student

One of Pip's best traits is his compassion. His compassion is shown in chapter 1 when he looks back to the convict as the convict limp toward the marshes. His compassionate heart allows him to break against his guilt and steal food and wittles for the convict. However, he begins to lose this compassion when Pip meets Estella, where he wants to move into a higher status because he loves Estella. He starts to distance away from Joe, his true friend. When he realizes Magwith is his benefactor, he feels he cannot take his money anymore because a convict's money is tainted. Through this action, he loses his compassion. Near the end of the novel, he realizes how noble Magwitch is, and his once lost compassion returns back. He stands with Magwith on the trial day, and returns to Joe to ask for forgiveness.

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Great Expectations

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