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Charles Dickens Essay : Philosophical, Psychological, Sociological Issue

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  1. Introduction
  2. Pip's want for Joe to improve
  3. The role of social classes in the relationship between Pip and his uncle
  4. Pip's attempts to climb the ladder of society
  5. Pride as the byproduct of the natural accumulation of personal successes
  6. Conclusion
  7. Works cited

A great burden for human beings is to carry ourselves the way we want others to see us. Though each governed by a private set of beliefs, no man is an island for a reason, as we are subject to natural instinct, which compels us to strive for acceptance by others in society. However, though one part of life is about fulfilling the expectations of society in order to fit in, the other reflects how we see ourselves and what we hold our potentials to be. What we expect of ourselves is based upon the desire for self-improvement and attempting to come out of experiences with something we didn't know before. While expectations give a sense of having something to look forward to, they may also cross the thin line of what is practical into what is idealistic. Having the mindset to act and respond in certain ways can be attributed to core beliefs, but to cultivate the lofty image of ourselves as nobler beings is as unrealistic as it is to hope for wings. The very struggle to straddle the border of reasonable expectations is evident in Charles Dickens' Great Expectations, a Bildungsroman that follows the life of orphan Pip Pirrip, who seeks the values of his society as well as his own.

[...] Firstly, the person of whom we so desire approval may not respond in the way we expect them to and secondly, in the process of radically changing ourselves, we may have to make sacrifices and disregard the ones we care about as a result of devoting so much attention and energy to an endeavor. In the case of Pip, though he up to Joe in [his] heart? and has fear of losing Joe's confidence,? after he comes into his fortune and becomes more educated, he finds himself wanting to change his uncle in order to make him ?less ignorant and common that he might be worthier of [his] society and less open to Estella's reproach? 126). [...]

[...] Because Pip's expectations are so great, the common ground that he has with his uncle falls away as the latter begins to feel that he is below Pip by the way he addresses him as later on (260). As aforementioned, Pip attempts to climb the ladder of society in order to make himself worthy of Estella because he doesn't think that other human virtues such as kindness or goodness would be taken into account when it comes to winning her love. [...]

[...] Pride is a difficult thing to lower because in order for it to be broken down, the person it embodies must be somehow humbled. The pride that Pip carries also causes him to look down on people, as in the case of Joe as well as Biddy, who is kind and thoughtful but whom Pip regards as beautiful?[but] common, and [can] not be like Estella? (144). Similarly, Pip doubts his friend Herbert Pocket's idea to start a trade business would by much accumulative capital? (214). [...]

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