Analysis Essay on Great Expectations
In dreams there is nothing we cannot do. We are the masters of our lives and the guardians of our happiness. Through them we are able to fathom what we are otherwise denied of. The extent of their vividness yields the margin between what is fact and what is fiction. They are the manifestations of our subconscious in a concerted effort of our mind to let us feel what we deny in our consciousness, to be able to do what we otherwise cannot and to enable us to create a different reality our waking selves, in a manner of saying, can only dream of. But what happens when we wake up to reality gives way to our sensibilities. Such was the case for Pip in Charles Dickens’ much beloved novel “Great Expectations.” When our own limitations are presented in front of us, towards a mirror that reflects the truth, the die has been cast and the story goes on. Dreams in the stories come in the form of epiphanies, a realization of the main character and his state of being.
Through the opening sentences of the novel the reader is presented with a first person narrative of the main character and his humorous name Philip Pirrip. Through this he was able to find some semblance of normalcy by playing with it and giving himself his own nickname and a shot at his penchant of reinventing himself. His story on how he came to be, without meeting his parents, presents a characteristic that is filled with curiosity and eager for his own discoveries. His desire to be a part of a society to get close to Estella leads his to an ardent search to prove himself worthy of her. He longed to be within the ranks of gentlemen and to have the financial capabilities that he dreams of. It was not of his intention to become a blacksmith similar to his brother-in law-, Joe. More than anything he wanted to be educated. His encounters with Miss Havisham’s opened him to the possibility of a life that is far different from what Joe could provide and thus desirable.
The title itself suggests of the aim for the moon that Pip seeks to have and the means he is willing to exhaust to get it. The arrival of the lawyer who notified of his “great expectation” was the start of the massive change that he was about to go through (Dickens, p.246). It was not through coincidence or sheer talent that he was able to have a benefactor who supported him financially in his pursuit of success, wealth and the proverbial nod of society being that his only wish is that he keeps his name Pip. This turn of events built the plot for the story where he was able to have vast experiences which made him believe that he was now a part of them. He had the money, he had the success but he still does not have the acceptance of high society especially when he was not able to sweep Estella off her feet as she marries Drummle instead of him. All his dreams since childhood were founded upon the notion that he will one day be able to have the hand of Estella. After this event everything came into light for Pip. He was able to see his ways and his treatment of close families and friends who had been fixtures in his early life. He had incurred the disillusionment that ruled most of his life. When he found out that his benefactor was in fact the criminal that he had helped when he was a child, the truth rattled in him the paradox that his benefactor was not in fact a so-called upright citizen.
The dream of Magwitch to make Pip a gentleman was his crack at irony towards society. It is an absurdity to even consider that a convict like him has a direct hand in supporting and molding a young man of humble beginnings into a person of influence. Although he is an escaped prisoner, the reader is still enthralled on his actions and his role in the development of Pip’s character. Their encounter near the end of the novel presents Pip searching for answers on why he had taken so much interest in him. He was looking perhaps for an inkling of congruity between him and Magwitch in his life before prison by asking questions that pertain to his status before he was incarcerated or if he is even known in London at one point. “I mustn’t see my gentleman a footing it in the mire of the streets; there mustn’t be no mud on his boots. My gentleman must have horses, Pip! Horses to ride, and horses to drive, and horses for his servant to ride and drive as well. Shall colonists have their horses (and blood ‘uns, if you please, good Lord!) and not my London gentleman? No, no. We’ll show ‘em another pair of shoes than that, Pip; won’t us?’” (Dickens, p. 587). Their reunion showed him that his hopes for Pip were not accomplished as he faced failures which he turned for the better and contentment through the recognition of virtues that transcend that of material proclivities and value for societal advancement and acknowledgment.
The greatest value of human life is contentment. Dreams take us to where we cannot go but sooner or later one has to wake up. This does not necessarily impede ones happiness. This resides in our consciousness. Pip’s journey led him to a plethora of ups and downs which only proved that we often overlook what we already have in favor of the things that we want. When Pip met the child, he was overwhelmed as he was a dream that came to reality. Because no matter how great or remarkable it may be, the best times of a person’s life is when he is awake and something that he will take to his dreams. We are not limited by ourselves but we are limited by the extent of the hopes that we do not need and those that compromise who we are and our relationships.