Pip, the protagonist of Charles Dickens' "Great Expectations," moves from poverty to luxury when his benefactor, Abel Magwitch, determines to "make a gentleman--and, Pip, you're him!" However, Pip's idea of a gentleman evolves into something different from Magwitch's.
Gentlemen Need Money
Pip is made uncomfortable with his coarseness by Estella, Miss Havisham's ward--"he's a common, labouring boy," a remark which reminds Pip that gentlemen do not work. A second revelation comes through Jaggers; after Pip inherits, the stern lawyer becomes an affable moneylender. Money, Pip decides, makes people reasonable.
Gentlemen Are Malicious
Pip's gentlemanly ideas further evolve when he learns Bentley Drummle courts Estella; Pip denigrates Drummle's humble beginnings, forgetting his own. He criticizes Estella's choice, solidifying his position that gentlemen can be cruel.
Gentlemen Are Snobs
Pip's revelation comes when his friend Joe Gargery comes to visit; thoroughly uncomfortable, Joe muses "divisions among such must come" and departs. In selling out a loving friend for unloving society, Pip realizes he is a "snob" and that gentlemen commit the "worst meannesses . . . [for] people we despise."
The Circle Closes
Pip's idea of a gentleman evolves from something he desires to become into something he hates -- and has become.
- Great Expectations; Charles Dickens
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