Innocence, a Stage of Sin, a Stage of Redemption: Pipís Real Life


Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens, centers around one common boy in search of a life he never had. Phillip Pirrip, better known as Pip, was a boy who started off as a commoner and would soon grow up to be a gentleman in the eyes of all. Pipís life was not always a good one. He had to deal with the Estella, the love his life, Mrs. Joe Gargery, the only one who supposedly cared enough for him to ďbring him up by handĒ, and all of the other struggles he encountered throughout his lifetime. Pip went through more changes in 30 years than most people go through in a lifetime. He has gone through both physical and emotional changes that have helped and infringed upon his success. Pipís development, though rocky, can be divided into a stage of innocence, a stage of sin, and a stage of redemption.


Pipís childhood was a poor, yet hopeful one. He lived with Joe Gargery and Mrs. Joe Gargery, his sister and brother-in-law. Because of Mrs. Gargeryís relationship and actions towards Pip and Joe, Pip was closest to Joe. Mrs. Gargery treated both of them as children; she hit, scolded, and disrespected both of them as if neither of them were worth the scum on the bottom of her shoe. Because Pip and Joe had the same life with Mrs. Gargery, they could relate more with each other. They were also closer because Joe was seen as the protector of Pip. This gave Pip the reality that he could tell Joe anything because Joe truly cared for him as though Pip were his own son. Another part of Pipís childhood, a very significant part in the book, is when Pip encounters Magwitch, an escaped convict who attacks Pip. He orders Pip to bring food and a file for his leg iron. Pip obeys, and gets everything the convict asks for. This part in the book shows how Pip is just an innocent child who does what he his told. It shows that a child such as he has no convictions. Pip soon learns from his sister that a lady by the name of Ms. Havisham would like to see him. She needs a playmate for her daughter Estella. Ms. Havisham and Estella are both tartars, which are women who break menís hearts. Ms. Havisham was left at the altar on her wedding day, leading her to bring up Estella with no feelings and cares for nobody but herself. Estella treats Pip coldly and makes him feel as though his family and social status is something to be ashamed of. But Pip canít help his attraction to Estella and one day aspires to become a wealthy gentleman so he might win the heart of his beautiful love. This aspiration turns out to be something that changes Pip from an innocent child to a character consumed by false values and snobbery.


During this stage of Pipís life he encounters an inheritance that requires him to not inquire about who gave him the inheritance, and he has to keep the name Pip. Pip looks at this event as an opportunity to become the gentleman he has always wanted to be. He moves to London and starts a new life, away from the people who once looked down on him. As a result of Pips receiving this money, his pride corrupts him and blinds him from how he is treating Joe. No longer does Pip treat Joe with the compassion, love, and kindness he deserves; he treats him like dirt. The only way I can describe Pip at this point is as an ass. How can he act this way toward a man who has always believed in him when everybody else was against him? Because of Pipís heavy conscious and a near-death experience, Pip finally realizes whatís truly important in life.


He finds the price paid for letting money rule your life can be a harmful thing. He loses friends, family, and parts of himself all to be a ďtrue gentlemanĒ.