APC English 1-Period 4
Literature Paper 1
5 November, 2012
In many great works of literature, children often play the role of an ingénue, or the young and innocent character. In Great expectations, by Charles Dickens, the main character Pip is given many qualities and characteristics that a real child in his shoes might have. As the young adopted son of the town’s blacksmith Joe Gargery and his wife, who is also Pip’s sister, Pip experiences hardships as a child. Pip grows up with an older sister who raises him “by hand” (6, 7), the euphemism that Mrs. Joe uses for beating her little brother and husband, and is told that he is “a common laboring boy” (58) by the esteemed Estella that lives with the wealthy Miss Havisham. Pip deals with these complications and hardships with logic and ideas similar to many children in the real world, which makes him a realistic character.
At the beginning of this novel, Pip is told to get “that file, and them vittles” (4) for an escaped convict, under the threat that Pip’s “heart and liver shall be tore out, roasted, and ate” (4) if he does not succeed to bring the desired items. When Pip does take the items from his sister and her husband, Pip acts as many young children might when facing a great amount of guilt, and he feels that everything and everyone knows what he did. On the way to the designated meeting place where Pip will give the food and file to the convict, Pip passes a field of oxen and sates that “One black ox… fixed me so obstinately with his eyes, and moved his blunt head in such an accusatory manner as I moved round that I blubbered out to him ‘I couldn’t help it sir! It wasn’t for myself I took it!’”(15). This shows some of the deeper thoughts and feelings that Dickens created for Pip, and adds depth and believability to this character.
One of the many reasons why Dickens’ books are so loved is because of the complex and detailed characters that are created and developed. Each character is given a back story and is realistically influenced by his/her surroundings. Pip grows up in a home with a sister that beats him and an adoptive father who would also be considered coarse and common, so naturally Pip is not taught to be a gentleman, but rather to work. Because of his sister Pip is taught to be obedient and to keep his head down rather than speak out and stand up for himself, but he is also very sensitive…