Great Expectations: Theme of Expecation

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In the novel Great Expectations, one of the themes is expectations. Dickens demonstrates this theme through Pip's character, by exploring the idea of ambition and self-improvement. Pip, as an idealist, frequently wishes for something that is better than what he already has, and he wants to achieve an improvement instantly. When he reflects back on his immoral actions, he wishes to be better. When he looks at the Satis House and Estella, he longs to be a wealthy upper class gentleman. When he realizes that he cannot read, he wants to learn how. Pip’s desire for self-improvement is the main source of the novel’s title and the main force behind the plot. Since Pip believes in the possibility of improvement in life, he has “great expectations” about his future. Pip's expectations takes three forms: moral, social and educational. Pip is very self-critical when he acts immorally; he feels guilt which encourages him to act better in the future. This is evident when he leaves for London: So subdued I was by those tears, and by their breaking out again in the course of the quiet walk, that when I was on the coach, and it was clear of the town, I deliberated with an aching heart whether I would have not get down when we changed horses and walk back, and have another evening at home, and a better parting. (Dickens 169) Pip feels guilty about behaving in such a snobbish manner towards Joe and Biddy, that he considers returning back to the house. He is disappointed about how he acted, and he convinces himself to mend his mistake. However, Pip does not know at the time that he acts immorally, and he only finds out after reflecting on his poor actions. Clearly, through that passage, he wants to go back to clean up his arrogant acts so that he does not feel guilty about it. The cause of his stuck-up and immoral ways is his longing to enter the upper
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