Ambition And Self Improvement Essay

1114 words - 5 pages

All great novels have major themes on which the plot is based on, and Charles Dickens' Great Expectations, is no different. One of the major themes in this novel is ambition and self-improvement. Dickens uses this as a universal idea for his novel, and from this theme he gets his title of Great Expectations. Another major theme in the novel is social class. Dickens uses the theme of social class to feed into his theme of ambition and self-improvement. With both ambition and self-improvement Pip is able to become a gentleman. Pip, from the lower class, has the longing to be with Estella, an upper-class well breed girl. He realizes that he has to become a gentleman if he wants respect and love ...view middle of the document...

When Pip first meets Estella he doesn't know the rules of social etiquette, nor does he have habits of dress and speech, and he definitely does not have a high family standing. Pip says, "I was so humiliated, hurt, spurned, offended, angry, sorry - I cannot hit upon the right name for the smart - God knows what its name was - that tears started to my eyes." (GE, p.62). Estella makes him feel like he is useless and unwanted. Pip as the narrator says, "I misdealt, as was only natural when I know she was lying in wait for me to do wrong; and she denounced me for stupid, clumsy labouring boy." (GE, p.63). He realizes that he is a common boy and that the only way to get respect from Estella is for him to become a gentleman and the only way he can do that is through self-improvement and a lot of ambition. "I kissed her cheek as she turned it to me. I think I would have gone through a great deal to kiss her cheek. But, I felt that the kiss was given to the coarse common boy as a piece of money might have been, and that it was worth nothing." (GE, p.93). After this incident Pip really feels the need to become a member of the upper class.Pip a lower class individual longs to be a wealthy, and a well respected man. In a way Pip is an idealist, whenever he thinks of anything better than he already has he always wants to obtain the improvement. For example when he cannot read he longs to read, when he sees the Satis house he longs to be rich. This ambition pushes Pip to become a gentleman. His self - realization also makes him more of a gentleman. When he first learns about his fortune he suddenly starts acting very snobby to both Biddy and Joe. Pip says to Biddy, "Now, Biddy. I am very sorry to see this in you. I did not expect to see this in you. You are envious, Biddy, and grudging. You are dissatisfied on account...

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