Parental and Child Relationships in Great Expectations Essay

Discuss Dickens’ presentation of relationships between kids and their parents/parental figures in ‘Great Expectations’ .

Dickens uses the relationships between kids and their parental figures to research the subjects of belonging. every bit good as position and individuality.

Pip. the supporter of the novel. has been identified as an orphan and ne’er saw either of his parents. Immediately. this gives the reader an thought that Pip did non belong to a typical and perfect household and ne’er had his existent parents look after him or lend to his upbringing. We are told that alternatively. his sister brought him up ‘by hand’ . This phrase has been used by Dickens repetitively in the novel in associating the two siblings together ; the thought that it is emphasised may connote that Pip should in fact be thankful to his sister as she provided him with all that he needed. and that she has a certain power over him. Although they live in the same house and belong to the same household. Pip was cognizant that his sister was enormously superior to him and he ‘had no hope of rescue through his ( my ) all powerful sister’ .

It is apparent that although she acts as a motherly figure towards him. she possesses all the properties of a contemptuous female parent and does non let Pip to bury that he owes his being to her. It is besides apparent that she herself did non wish to convey him and ‘repulsed him ( me ) at every turn’ . The description of Mrs. Joe as holding a ‘hard and heavy hand’ and ‘laying it on her hubby every bit good as upon me’ . along with Pip’s description of her distributing butter on the staff of life in an ‘apothecary sort of way’ with aggressive verbs such as ‘slapping sleight. sawed. and hewed’ Tells the reader a great trade about her nature ; in the family. she played the function of a adult male and an aggressive figure.

The word picks besides makes it clear that Pip idea of her as an about daunting figure in his life. despite Mrs. Joe being his sister and playing the function of his female parent. Simply by the fact that he calls his ain sister ‘Mrs. Joe’ . it is clear that their relationship is really formal and is non built on any emotional footing. All these factors contribute to the apprehension that Pip has a really confused household life and ne’er belonged to an ideal family or had a much needed maternally figure as such nowadays in his life.

However. despite Pip’s relationship with his sister which was entirely based on duty. he had a really positive relation with his brother-in-law. who accordingly acted as a male parent to him. Dickens has uses apposition of Joe to his married woman to underscore the difference in their characters and the manner in which Pip views them. He describes Joe as a ‘mild. good natured. sweet-tempered. easy traveling. foolish beloved fellow’ . stressing the good qualities Joe has and how good he thinks of him as opposed to his sister. Joe fulfils the function of a male parent for Pip in several ways and during the entireness of his life. In the first phases of Pip’s childhood. Joe protected him every bit much as he could from the wrath of his married woman and tried to help him in going a well mannered and respected immature gentleman.

Despite how Pip has treated him in his ulterior life. Joe still remained with him and respected him as much ; even after he had ‘turned to the worst point of his ( my ) unwellness. he ( I ) began to detect that while all its other characteristics changed. this one consistent characteristic did non change’ . Pip besides describes Joe’s ‘tenderness’ . despite his occupation as a blacksmith. ‘was so attractively proportioned to his ( my ) needs. that he ( I ) was like a kid in his hands’ . This proves that Joe to the full recognised his duty as a parental figure in Pip’s life and did everything he could to carry through it. in comparing to his married woman who felt that Pip was merely a load in her life.

Joe is besides a character that Pip loves greatly. In chapter six. Pip says “But I loved Joe… because the beloved chap allow me love him” . This shows that in Pip’s early childhood. Joe is seen as an equal. This is most likely because both Joe and Pip suffer through the hurting inflicted by Mrs Joe. and Joe is the lone character in the book that shows love and fondness for Pip. This can be observed in chapter seven. when Pip reveals “I had a new esthesis of experiencing witting that I was looking up to Joe in my bosom. ” These citations suggest that possibly Pip looks up to Joe and that Joe is Pip’s companion and intimate. Pip besides ‘treated him as a larger species of kid. and as no more than my equal’ ; although this shows that they were both equal. it can be implied that Pip showed no regard for Joe in his fatherlike figure.

Pip had another fatherlike figure in his life. through Magwitch. Upon detecting that Magwitch is his secret helper. Pip feels far from enraptured. He had tried to bury the Acts of the Apostless he committed as a immature male child by helping the inmate in the fens. and his scruples about seems clear. before Magwitch re-enters Pip’s life. Although Pip’s going a gentleman may ne’er hold been possible without Magwitch’s generousness. he about appears offended by the behavior of his helper. Magwitch. on the other manus. is delighted to uncover himself to Pip. and states himself to be his ‘second father’ ; the manner he ‘put away money. merely for Pip ( you ) to spend’ and pass a really long clip in trying to guarantee Pip’s place as a gentleman.

The manner Magwitch addresses Pip maked it obvious that he considers Pip to be his boy. the boy he ne’er had ; he has worked hard and escaped. put on the lining his life to better that of Pip. However. Pip seems frustrated by this act Magwitch has committed. Most of his defeat seems to be because ‘it was for the inmate. [ … ] . that I had deserted Joe’ . At this point he realises that he abandoned Joe in order to accomplish his ain selfish dreams of life amongst the upper categories and bettering his place in society. Due to this forsaking. Magwitch begins to make full the nothingness of a fatherlike figure in Pip’s life. although he did so against Pip’s will in the beginning. It may besides be implied that although Magwitch did go like a male parent to Shoot due to being his helper. he did so for his ain benefit and for the satisfaction of ‘owning’ person who had achieved so much in life.

There are several other kids and parent relationships in the novel. but the relationships Pip has with people in his life are the most interesting in the manner Dickens has presented them. It is clear that Dickens has tried to portray the subjects of true belonging and love by utilizing these relationships as they would non be what one would typically anticipate. Pip. who has a blood relationship with Mrs. Joe. merely portions a really formal and minimum relationship with her.

She does non like holding the duty of Pip. and Pip is left to cover with her choler. Joe and Magwitch on the other manus. protect and aid Pip in his life due to the love and regard they have for him. despite non being related to him straight. Joe is besides the lone character who stays faithful to Shoot the full clip. despite non sharing a birth relationship with him. This emphasises the subject of belonging and goes to demo that through these relationships. Dickens has put across the thought that relationships built on love. regard and committedness are worth more than blood relationships in general.


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