Social Class in Great Expectations by Charles Dickens Essay

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Charles Dickens, author of Great Expectations, provides a perfect example of the hope of class mobility. The novel portrays very diverse and varied social classes which spread from a diligent, hardworking peasant (Joe) to a good-natured middle class man (Mr. Wemmick) to a rich, beautiful young girl (Estella). Pip, in particular, elevates in the social pyramid from a common boy to a gentleman with great expectations. With his rise in society, he also alters his attitude, from being a caring child to an apathetic gentleman. During this process, Pip learns how he should act and how to become a real gentleman. Social mobility and wealth, furthermore, carves a disposition and how a character is looked upon.
Pip, the main character is a
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And what thick boots… she denounced me for a stupid, clumsy labouring-boy” (Dickens 59). Nonetheless, Pip continues to love her. Also, because of his desire to marry and be appreciated by Estella, Pip drives himself to become a gentleman. Yet, his eagerness and ambitions to become a member of Estella’s social class caused Pip to become arrogant and haughty. Moreover, Estella’s unhappy marriage to Drummle causes her to be in the same class as Pip. Therefore, Estella’s life highlights the idea that happiness is not always linked with one’s social status.
Ultimately, Dickens creates a novel which plainly emphasizes the differences between social classes. This theme is stressed since Great Expectations is set after the Industrial Revolution, thus, manufacturers were gaining a fortune and the divisions between rich and poor were evident. Furthermore, there is a large gap between the characters’ economic status. For example, there is Joe, who is considered to be in the peasant class, there is a middle class man, Wemmick, and finally, Estella, a rich, beautiful woman. While Joe and Estella work best in their own class, Wemmick can perform in a variety of classes. He, also, is not affected by the amount of money he has. Pip, in specific, climbs the social ladder from being a peasant to a gentleman. However, he falls back down and learns his lesson to value the judgment of his own principles, rather than what social class they are placed in. Class mobility, clearly affects