Pips Guilt in Great Expectations

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True guilt is guilt at the obligation one owes to oneself to be oneself. False guilt is guilt felt at not being what other people feel one ought to be or assume that one is.” - R.d. Laing. In the book Great Expectations, Charles Dickens shows that feeling guilty causes nothing but pain and sorrow, and how guilt often takes form of self-hatred. Throughout Great Expectations, Pip is constantly feeling guilty of everything, even though he does not always deserve to feel this way. Pip’s older sister, Mrs. Joe Gargery, causes Pip to have the feeling of guilt throughout his childhood and adulthood the most. As bad as it sounds, Mrs. Joe actually makes Pip feel guilty for being alive. Pip tells us this when he says, “I was always treated as if I had insisted on being born in opposition to the dictates of reason, religion, and morality, and against the dissuading arguments of my best friends.”(Dickens 22) I don’t think that it is fair for Pip to feel guilt for living at such a young age. He doesn’t know any better and could possibly end up doing something really bad because of this feeling. Mrs. Joe also continuously mentions how Pip is lucky that she has brought him up ‘by hand.’ One day when Pip was asking questions about the marshes, Mrs. Joe loses her patience and yells at Pip, saying, “I tell you what, young fellow, I didn’t bring you up by hand to badger people’s lives out. It would be blame to me, and not praise, if I had. People are put in the Hulks because they murder, and because they rob, and forge, and do all sorts of bad; and they always begin by asking questions.”(Page 13) This places a lot of guilt on Pip, making him feel like he shouldn’t ask any questions at all. To tell a little kid not to ask so many questions is a terrible thing. Mrs. Joe’s comment about how people who do all sorts of bad always start off my asking questions has also has made

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