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Great Expectations

by Charles Dickens

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Is Pip content with his common life and blacksmith work in Great Expectations before meeting Estella and Miss Havisham?

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When the story first opens, Pip is quite young.  He is satisfied with his life.  He does not seem ashamed of himself, and does not really complain about being the nephew of a blacksmith.  When Pip visits Miss Havisham, everything changes. 

When Pip meets Estella, she immediately begins making fun of him.  He beings to look at himself differently.

I had never thought of being ashamed of my hands before; but I began to consider them a very indifferent pair. Her contempt for me was so strong, that it became infectious, and I caught it. (ch 8, p. 42)

Pip never longed to be rich until he met Estella.  Estella made him ashamed of himself.  He suddenly longs for wealth, so he can be her equal.  Estella does not reciprocate his love, and “the more Pip loves her, the more Estella seems to enjoy torturing and manipulating him” (enotes character analysis, Estella).  Yet he continues to want to better himself for her.

For more on Pip and for the full text of Great Expectations visit the links below.

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