Great Expectations Motif Essay

Words: 1133
Pages: 5

The Hands Society
Motif Essay

Throughout time society as a whole has greatly changed and developed to what it is now. One major part of the society is the social class structure. In Charles Dickens’ novel, Great Expectations, Dickens expresses his beliefs on that structure in many ways. Since Dickens wrote the novel during the Victorian Era it reflects and evaluates the beliefs and values of the time. For the most part ones place in the social order was based on wealth and the reputation of ones relations. In general, the member of the higher class were unhappy and those in the lower class were joyful. He does this to show that wealth isn’t everything. He continues to display that idea throughout the book and he displays its
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Overall, respect is depicted in the book by the hands motif which shows how ones social class affects life and consequently the customs involved in ones lifestyle. Significant custom differences amid different classes are additionally represented by the hands motif. For example, upon Wemmick and Pip’s first meeting, “I extended my hand and Mr. Wemmick at first looked as if he thought I wanted something” (Dickens 171) Since Pip is still unaccustomed to his new lifestyle he doesn’t realize that people of Wemmick’s standing don’t do everything the way people did at his old village. Also, when Herbert and Pip are first conversing over dinner, Herbert corrects many of Pip’s poor table manners so that he knows the proper forms of fine dining in their society (Page 177). The differences between lower and higher classes include very small aspects of dining and Pip is just beginning to learn all the new rules as he is thrust into a new world which he soon regrets joining. In addition, when Mr. Jaggers invites Pip and his friends to dinner Pip learns that he washes his hands very frequently (Page 210). Mr. Jaggers continuously washes his hands to cleanse himself of the dirt of the world around him as he believes that many of the people around him, which are in lower classes, aren’t clean. In conclusion, social class, symbolized by the motif of hands, influences the customs of a