Pip a better life

Pip shudders when Magwitch comes close to him, he feels dread, and repugnance, and so shrinks back from him, as if he were ‘some terrible beast’, and recoils from him ‘as if he had been a snake’. The referral to animals reminds the reader about Magwitch’s mannerisms which were displayed in the early chapters. We know that the convict has more emotions apart from anger; love is shown, as well as happiness and astoundingly ‘…his eyes were full of tears’. The relationship of Magwitch and Pip has come to deeper levels, and it shows, almost contrasting to that of the first few chapters. Pip’s idle life has been the basis of a convict’s hard work.

Magwitch is his benefactor, who has financed and provided him with the fortune to provide him with an education; to make him a ‘gentleman,’ he feels chocked, it is a ‘violent blast’ . Becoming a gentleman is now isn’t possible; the fortune is ‘blood money’. The source of the money and the fact that the two aren’t related raises more issues. If Ms Havisham was the benefactor like Pip hoped, than he could certainly be a gentleman. Reality is that Pip has been educated by a criminal, even if indirectly. Magwitch justifies his actions and intentions, he is proud of his ‘achievements’. Magwitch: “You acted nobly, my boy… noble Pip!

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And I have never forgot it!”…’and at a change in his manner as if he were even going to embrace me’. This grateful, unforgotten act passed by Pip was the basis of Magwitch’s intentions of making a gentleman. He feels as this will compensate for the ‘noble act’ performed to help him. Not many people would stop to help a convict; they were looked down upon, and had the lowest status possible. Kindness shown to him spurred him on to reach this goal for Pip. As Magwitch is kissing Pips hands again, the narrative explains how while this is happening Pip feels as if his ‘blood ran cold within’ himself, despite having no contact for several years, Magwitch still came back to him. Magwitch has clearly missed him, however, Pip doesn’t return the affection, he is unhappy about the situation. However, gratitude is not the convict’s only motive.

Magwitch tells us that he is Pip’s second father. “I’m your second father. You’re my son-nor more to me than any son”. Magwitch doesn’t have a son, but treats Pip like he is. Magwitch goes on to explain why he has built up a fortune for Pip. “I’ve put money away only for you… I goes out in the open air to say it under the open heavens…if I gets liberty and money, I’ll make that boy (pip) a gentleman! And I done it.” Similarly, Ms Havisham uses Estella. In a sense, Magwitch has used Pip, as revenge on society which has pushed him to the bottom of the social hierarchy. Pip gains the readers sympathy because he is partly a victim. His vices have been partially forced upon him externally. The conflicting emotions and feelings Pip has at the end at this point are ones of anger and annoyance. This is shown through the repetition of the word ‘wretched’. Pip still refers to Magwitch as ‘my convict’ which shows that an emotional bond/relationship between them is still felt and is present.

Because of the double narrative Dickens chose to employ throughout the story, the reader never really loses sympathy for Pip. The relationship of Magwitch and Pip can be summed up as an emotional journey, facing fear and intimidation, gratefulness, and affection which have sprung from each stage. Magwitch is like Pip’s ‘second father’. He is seen as Pip’s father figure because he is making Pip become a gentleman. This is something most fathers want to do for their children, they love/care about them, want their children to be happy, and give them all that they can.

The issue with this is that Magwitch’s desire to give Pip a better life is that he mostly is doing it for his own reasons, to attack the social hierarchy, and not for Pip’s best interest. Pip’s final redemption comes when he is able to see his faults and recognize that he is guilty of snobbery, and that he has become a negative person. The story takes the reader through an insight into Pip’s maturation from child to adult, the fact that the narrative is looked upon with a critical analysis, makes this clearer. He feels guilty about what has occurred and what he has done. Behaviour wise, he rejected him ‘humble origins’, Joe and Biddy who showed him nothing but love and affection.

He comes to terms with the fact that his ambitious ‘great expectations’ have led him to loneliness and disappointment. Pip discovers that his life is in his hands. Many events have taken place such as forgiving Ms Havisham, Magwitch eventually being hung for escaping from exile, and discovering that he has a daughter, Estella, and that Pip is going to marry her, they have definitely have had a turn on perceptions. Pip decides to return to his ‘humble origins’ in the symbol of Joe and Biddy, who gladly accept him again. Pip then gains a ‘middle ground’ job, and makes an honest and decent living, which he is truly pleased and grateful to have it is a rags-to-riches-to-grace tale.

The morals that the story is wrapped up in the story. Dickens uses his writing as a tool to explain his criticisms of the various facets of Victorian life. They are attacks on social evils, injustice and hypocrisy. Dickens is making a point about Pip and the attitudes of a ‘gentleman’ that he has acquired. Dickens helps to justify, and show that being a gentleman doesn’t just necessarily mean having a lot of money/education etc.

Most importantly, ‘a true gentleman’ must have good morals/principles, not just wear ‘fancy clothing’. His aim is to shed light on this issue, and hopes that the reader sees this; different styles of writing are woven together to make this a novel to capture a wide audience. Dickens succeeds in splitting our sympathies between Pip and Magwitch (the convict). We learn that an outcast (in many ways) may still be capable of courage, endurance and gratitude.

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