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Great Expectations

             In Great Expectations, Pip, the protagonist and narrator of the story grows from a young child to a mannerly gentleman with high social status. Throughout the story he goes through many changes. However, in the end it turns out that Pip was handed too much too quickly. Bad fortune falls upon him and he is sent back to his poor home in Kent. All considered though, this novel is a true story of love and in the end true happiness for Pip is obtained. Great Expectations was set in early Victorian times in England when great social changes were sweeping the nation. The Industrial Revolution had transformed the social landscape, enabling people to capitalize quickly and largely. Although social status was no longer entirely dependent on heredity, the gap between classes was wide as ever. London had become quite different from the nation's rural areas. Throughout England, the etiquette of the upper class was very strict and conservative while gentlemen and ladies were expected to have good classical educations and to behave correctly in every social situation. These conditions were prevalent in Dickens's time and therefore were expressed in the writing of his novels. Pip's sudden rise from laborer to gentleman in Great Expectations forces him to move from one social extreme to another while dealing with the strict rules and "expectations" that governed Victorian England. This was an uncommon occurrence in this time and proved almost impossible for Pip to handle. The novel begins in the marsh country of Kent, in the western part of England. Phillip Pirrip, a young orphan boy who named himself Pip, was being raised by his sister and brother-in-law, Mr. Joe Gargery. One evening when Pip was visiting his Mother and Father's grave at the cemetery he was confronted by an escaped convict dressed in rags and with his legs chained. The convict grabbed Pip and ordered him to bring food and a file to release him from his leg irons.

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