The Great Expectations By Charles Dickens English Literature Essay

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After his search for the lock, Oskar reaches a new understanding with his mother. However, at the beginning of his quest he had almost completely hardened and closed himself against her. Oskar even openly states that he "would be as secretive…as [he] could at home…and as honest…as [he] could outside home because that's what was necessary" which proves that his journey did involve a rejection of his mother in order to find the lock (87 Foer). For example, in order for Oskar to go on his first outing to find out more about the key he tells his mother his first lie. Secondly, he frequently undermines his mother and father's relationship. After listening to the voicemail messages his dad left, Oskar's first instinct was to hide the messages on the phone from her. Instead of telling her the messages or showing them to her, he translates them into Morse code jewelry for her. The Morse code jewelry illustrates how Oskar thinks his mother is separated and sort of lost in translation when it comes to his father. In addition to him believing that their relationship was insignificant, he is also unaware of the sadness his mother feels. He thinks that because she laughs with a new friend "she wasn't missing dad" (36 Foer). By the end of Oskar's journey his gestures that shut himself against his mother are pushed aside along with the image of his mother not being cognizant of the turmoil and search Oskar had been experiencing. In fact, not only had she "[known] the ending while he was at the beginning", his mother also got a phone call from dad that day, and her relationship with Ron was to help her cope with her sadness as well as his (292 Foer). Now that Oskar knows that his mother had carefully guided him through New York's boroughs, Oskar can now deal with his father's death with the support of his mother instead of reaching out to strangers.

Like Oskar with his mother, Pip's attitude toward his convict changes. Pip reacts initially by saying "all the truth of my position came flashing on me…I was borne down by them…" illustrating how the convict's association with his great expectations makes it somehow lowly (303 Dickens). Soon after, the convict reveals a few things about himself that seem slightly similar to Pip's upbringing. The convict appears to have been an orphan or a neglected child who, without the guidance that Pip was given, resorted to stealing and other crimes to be able to "put something into [his] stomach" (328 Dickens). Provis also had three names during the course of his lifetime: Abel, Magwitch, and Provis. The name Abel, which is the name of a betrayed man in the bible, exemplifies the innocence and purity in the young convict despite his multiple crimes. The name Magwitch "hints at his amazing powers (to escape, to make money), but the idea of a 'witch' also suggests a person unfairly condemned by society and the laws" (Website). Lastly, the name Provis comes from the word "providence" which is God's will. The meaning of his names also represents the stages that Pip goes through during the course of his journey: the naïve and kind boy who becomes self-aware and unappreciative because of the Satis House and its inhabitants, the charmed boy who seems to have all his wishes granted, and then a man that finally succumbs to fate. Pip's fondness of Provis at the end can be a metaphorical statement for his gradual acceptance of fate because of the meaning of Provis' name. Also his quote that "[he] will never stir from [Provis'] side…when [he] is suffered to be near [him]" (424 Dickens) in contrast to "Yet I am afraid the dreadful truth is…he is attached to me…was there ever such a fate!" (324 Dickens) strongly emphasizes his change in attitude and the firm belief that the convict was meant to be a part of his life. Because he and Provis are so alike in social status and because Provis also represents a huge aspect of his childhood, Pip's initial reaction to him is that of shame and disgust; He now knows that his new and great expectations are tainted with the commonness of his former life. Therefore, his reaction that Provis "had softened" represents a change in his perception of the life and class he belongs to as well; He is beginning to accept the social strata and family he was born into (357 Dickens).

Oskar's journey also helps others in his family deal with their own tragedies. His isolation actually helps him meet his grandfather; if he hadn't been so desperate to talk to someone about what was going on, they might have never connected. As the grandfather stated, "…his friend told him he was finished, it wasn't what I wanted, but if it was necessary to bring my grandson face to face with me, it was worth it" (280 Foer). It's through his brief and remote relationship with Oskar that the grandfather is able to decide to begin to try. Initially, his grandfather felt that he had no reason to keep track of time (280 Foer). However, shortly after he says that he heard Oskar's voice which he describes as "his reason" (280 Foer). This shows that Oskar gave him the motivation to try to live life that it seemed no one else could give. Locks and keys are a motif in the book that symbolizes how each character in the book is "locked out" from one person or another in some way. At the onset of Oskar's search, the key could definitely be seen as an item that would, whether figuratively or literally, unlock secrets about Oskar's father. However, because the grandfather is who the motif of the lock, doorknobs, is mostly associated with, Oskar's key eventually led to the unlocking of his grandfather. His grandfather mentions separating inside from outside multiple times in the novel and Oskar is the one that helps to join them together. Also, finally delivering his letters to his son's grave could be a representation of his gradual opening-up. Soon after meeting his grandfather, Oskar states that he "no longer felt like [he] was moving in the direction of Dad" (287 Foer). By learning more about his grandmother whom he, before her present letter, had really known nothing about after all these years (105 Foer) and meeting his grandfather Oskar can rely even more on his newly strengthened family to help him cope with the loss of his father. Oskar's grandfather's idea to fill his son's empty coffin with his letters to him can be interpreted as a metaphor for his relationship with Oskar. Just as his grandfather filled the empty coffin with his feelings and unsent love, his grandfather is also there to possibly fill the role that Oskar's father has now left void.

His journey to London helps Pip to see the corruption of the upper-class and to appreciate the great qualities that common people can possess. The most notable example would be of Estella whom he thought he was destined and intended to be with. What he finds out is that Estella can't feel love (343 Dickens) because of the cruel way she was brought up by Miss Havisham. Pip muses that, "…I was clear that Biddy was immeasurably better than Estella…" thus admitting that he realizes that Estella was not ever well-suited for him (231 Dickens). Secondly, Drummle, a rich bachelor newly engaged to Estella, is the best example in the book of the role Pip wanted to play in society. However, Pip recognizes Drummle's cruel and snobbish ways from the very beginning. This reaction shows that Pip is also recognizing that it's against his very nature to become a part of this end of society and become a person similar to Drummle. (pg 311). Pip's new analysis of the characters in his life shows that his journey helped him become less naïve about life in general. Simply put, Pip now sees clearly that life would have been better off at the forge.


The obvious messages of each book

Fate is by its very definition unavoidable

Oskar's Inventing does not help

The extremely loud birdcall invention

Pg. 250 - incredibly close, extremely loud

Pg 71 - misses him more because of the tapes

Pg 52- between him and dad

o Pg 280 - inside from outside, "his reason", tking to a stranger

Pg. 168 - wanted to talk but not to her

Pg. 174 - miss wat I already have and surround herself with things that are missing

Pg 203 - inside outside, any good from father's death

Pg/ 255 - whole point was to stop missing him"?

didn't yell at the old man - 254

P 313 - eve?

Pg 178 after she says she is pregnant doorknob picture comes up

Oskar also helps his grandmother become more open about her life. Oskar quotes that "

His journey helps his grandmother start expressing herself and talk about her life

Pg 105 - were together a lot didn't kno much about each other

After the whole ordeal she writes him a letter about her feelings

Pg 119 the empty life story

He thought she cudnt see

She just didn't want to type anything

The difference between Compeyson and Provis (as the trials proceeding conveys)

Rich, educated, evil, and heartless

Didn't care about Arthur and his craziness or Miss Havisham

Pg. 324 -attached to me, were there ever such a fate

Pg 330 - compeyson desnt care about Arthur

331 - compeyson cowardly

332- trial

Pg 333-334 - mag escaped to get compeyson bac on the ship

Softened - pg 357

Pg 399 - biddy, joe

424 - I am suffered to be with you

Provis = noble, hardworking for someone other than himself, selfless, formerly naïve (grew up without guidance)

Pg 304 working hard for Pip

Provis' many names

Abel - was betrayed by his brother in the Bible as Pip is betrayed by Compeyson. Represents a naïve but nonetheless good person who is betrayed into a life of wrong doings as the change to his next name may suggest.

Magwitch - 'Mag' is a slang name for a magpie (a bird associated with theft), but a 'Mage' is a wise man (after the Magi who visited Jesus in the Bible story). Magwitch carries a bible he has stolen 'as a sort of legal spell or charm' to keep him from capture.

Provis = Providence = God's will = Fate

His fondness of Provis at the end can be a metaphorical statement for his gradual acceptance of fate.


Pg 307 estella not designed for him, etc.

Pg 311 - daylight! And truth about his situation

Realizes truths about Havisham

Cold, spiteful, selfish

340 - as unhappy as u ever meant me to be

341 - she led him on

Did not intend for him to marry Estella or be rich and wealthy

Joe - who cared for him when he was sick and didn't blame him for his changes

Accounts for their parting as a natural division

Realizes truths about Estella

Cold, unable to love

Pg 343 - unable to love

Biddy - who was smart and a good friend to talk to

And now, because my mind was not confused enough before, ... I complicated its confusion fifty thousand-fold, by having states and seasons when I was clear that Biddy was immeasurably better than Estella, and that the plain honest working life to which I was born, had nothing in it to be ashamed of, but offered me sufficient means of self-respect and happiness. (1.17.74)

Realizes that he should have aimed for a relationship with her instead of Estella

Realizes the truth about his life in London, dead scenery at Satis House,…

He's in debt and doesn't feel very well off, etc.

At the forge? Always comfortable?

Drummle represents the upperclass

Mean, snobby, etc.

& himself or Henry