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Great Expectations Quotes GCSE English Literature
Great Expectations quotes taken from Shmoop
Terms in this set (32)
"I had heard of Miss Havisham up town—everybody for miles round, had heard of Miss Havisham up town—as an immensely rich and grim lady who lived in a large and dismal house barricaded against robbers, and who led a life of seclusion."
SOCIETY AND CLASS - Pip's hometown is socially stratified. He lives in the "village," and Miss Havisham lives "up town." This delineation between the wealthy and working class in Kent is palpable and is reinforced by the gate that guards Miss Havisham's decaying riches. Also, notice that great privilege is closely linked to loneliness.
"I wished Joe had been rather more genteelly brought up, and then I should have been so too."
SOCIETY AND CLASS // PIP // AMBITION // REGRET - Pip is socially ambitious, but is also so obnoxious that he holds other people responsible for his own misfortunes.
"I took the opportunity of being alone in the court-yard, to look at my coarse hands and my common boots."
SOCIETY AND CLASS // PIP // AMBITION // REGRET // PIP'S RELATIONSHIP WITH ESTELLA
"So, leaving word with the shopman on what day I was wanted at Miss Havisham's again, I set off on the four-mile walk to our forge; pondering, as I went along, on all I had seen, and deeply revolving that I was a common labouring-boy; that my hands were coarse; that my boots were thick; that I had fallen into a despicable habit of calling knaves Jacks; that I was much more ignorant than I had considered myself last night, and generally that I was in a low-lived bad way."
SOCIETY AND CLASS // AMBITION // PIP - Pip never seems to think that his world might be better or nobler than theirs. He instantly thinks that the way of life at Satis House is better than his, just because of the way life there looks. Dickens presents the idea that appearances do not always accurately represent reality - he also does this through the way he describes clothes (see joe quote below)
"I'm wrong in these clothes" - Joe
SOCIETY AND CLASS // AMBITION // ACCEPTANCE // REGRET - Dickens presents the idea that appearances do not always accurately represent reality, as Joe attempts to appear rich, upper class and good enough for Pip. However, he appears slightly ridiculous, and his intricate clothes do not reflect his simple character.
"Whatever I acquired, I tried to impart to Joe. This statement sounds so well, that I can't in my conscience let it pass unexplained. I wanted to make Joe less ignorant and common, that he might be worthier of my society and less open to Estella's reproach."
SOCIETY AND CLASS // AMBITION // PIP - Pip is so caught up in the appearances of things that he feels like gentlemanly behavior can be caught, like a cold. Pip values the knowledge that Miss Havisham and Estella have over the common-man knowledge that Joe has, even though an idiot could see that Joe knows more about how the world works.
""Abroad," said Miss Havisham; "educating for a lady; far out of reach; prettier than ever; admired by all who see her. Do you feel that you have lost her?""
SOCIETY AND CLASS // AMBITION // MISS HAVISHAM // ESTELLA // PIP // GROWING UP // LOSS // REGRET // - Miss Havisham delights in causing Pip emotional harm, and turning Estella into an object to conduct her revenge upon all men, of whom she considers Pip to be a part.
""Biddy," said I, after binding her to secrecy, "I want to be a gentleman.""
SOCIETY AND CLASS // AMBITION // PIP // WOMEN // IMPACT OF THE UPPER CLASSES -
Almost all of the people Pip knows have specific societal roles with specific societal functions: the tailor, the blacksmith, the clerk, the lawyer, the seedsman, the shipping agent, and all of these people seem content in their lives of earning profit and creating things. Not Pip. His goal is much more vague: a gentleman. What is a gentleman? What does a gentleman do? How will Pip know when he becomes a gentleman? And isn't that vagueness kind of the point? If you can't define it, it's easy for someone else to tell you that you're not one.
"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."
SOCIETY AND CLASS // AMBITION // PIP // WOMEN // IMPACT OF THE UPPER CLASS - Pip is divided here between the familiar and the attractive. Biddy is familiar, which makes her common in a literal sense: it's common for Pip to see her, because she basically lives with him. Estella is uncommon not because she's beautiful and well-education but because he doesn't spend a lot of time in close contact with her. Learning to value the common is part of Pip's growing up.
""It is considered that you must be better educated, in accordance with your altered position, and that you will be alive to the importance and necessity of at once entering on that advantage.""
SOCIETY AND CLASS // AMBITION // PIP // GROWING UP // EDUCATION // IMPACT OF THE UPPER CLASS - Apparently, certain kinds of education (most likely involving dead languages) are more valuable than others (like how to work a forge). Interestingly, we never get to see Pip "learning" in London, though apparently, he's at it all the time.
""Her father was a country gentleman down in your part of the world, and was a brewer. I don't know why it should be a crack thing to be a brewer; but it is indisputable that while you can't possibly be genteel and bake, you may be as genteel as never was and brew. You see it every day.""
SOCIETY AND CLASS // AMBITION // PIP - Dickens uses hands to represent many things in the novel, but he uses them here to show the importance of status. In the 19th Century, it was considered acceptable for a gentleman to work, but only if it was not using his hands, but commanding others. It was more acceptable to inherit your fortune, but if a gentleman did work, it was to command others to do the work and reap the rewards. A gentleman would never brew himself, but he would benefit from the beer made and the profits gained from that, but a gentleman would never be a baker, as there wouldn't be enough money made in order for someone to be classed as a gentleman, and they would have to work as a physical labourer.
"Whenever I watched the vessels standing out to sea with their white sails spread, I somehow thought of Miss Havisham and Estella; and whenever the light struck aslant, afar off, upon a cloud or sail or green hill-side or water-line, it was just the same. Miss Havisham and Estella and the strange house and the strange life appeared to have something to do with everything that was picturesque."
AMBITION // PIP // SOCIETY AND CLASS // Pip dreams of becoming a gentleman, and the centre of his ambition is Estella, which is as a result of her and Miss Havisham's influence.
"She had adopted Estella, she had as good as adopted me, and it could not fail to be her intention to bring us together. She reserved it for me to restore the desolate house, admit the sunshine into the dark rooms, set the clocks a going and the cold hearths a blazing, tear down the cobwebs, destroy the vermin—in short, do all the shining deeds of the young Knight of romance, and marry the Princess."
AMBITION // PIP // MISS HAVISHAM // ESTELLA // SOCIETY AND CLASS // GROWING UP // Pip's dreams seem to be made of images, actions, and theatrical elements rather than emotions or substantive encounters. Well, that makes sense—they're dreams. Instead of imagining a real moment of happiness and understanding with Estella, Pip imagines dramatically and magically curing Satis House.
"The lady whom I had never seen before, lifted up her eyes and looked archly at me, and then I saw that the eyes were Estella's eyes. But she was so much changed, was so much more beautiful, so much more womanly, in all things winning admiration had made such wonderful advance, that I seemed to have made none. I fancied, as I looked at her, that I slipped hopelessly back into the coarse and common boy again. O the sense of distance and disparity that came upon me, and the inaccessibility that came about her!"
AMBITION // LOVE // ESTELLA // PIP // WOMEN // DESPAIR - Pip is in love with the idea of being with Estella, rather than actually her. This suggests that Pip only wants Estella for the status that her association will give him, and therefore can give another aspect to the novel as a whole.
""I am ashamed to say it," I returned, "and yet it's no worse to say it than to think it. You call me a lucky fellow. Of course, I am. I was a blacksmith's boy but yesterday; I am—what shall I say I am—to-day?""
AMBITION // GROWING UP // GENTILITY // PIP - Just like today, most of the people in Pip's life derive their identity from the job that they do. Pip wants to be a gentleman who derives his identity from what he is rather than what he does—but he's not there yet. He can still only dream about it.
""It is a part of Miss Havisham's plans for me, Pip," said Estella, with a sigh, as if she were tired; "I am to write to her constantly and see her regularly, and report how I go on—I and the jewels—for they're nearly all mine now.""
REGRET // LOVE // DESPAIR // REVENGE // ESTELLA // MISS HAVISHAM // PIP - Miss Havisham may claim that she never planned to ruin Estella's life, but it sure seems like she tried to. Check out the way Estella and the jewels seems to be one and the same.
"For an hour or more, I remained too stunned to think; and it was not until I began to think, that I began fully to know how wrecked I was, and how the ship in which I had sailed was gone to pieces."
AMBITION // PIP // GROWING UP // Here we see the connection between those ships that Pip used to watch on the marshes at home those many years ago and his current circumstances. When he watched the ships on the horizon, he'd dream about the life he couldn't have. The ships became a metaphor for a life of money and privilege—but once he actually got on board, it promptly sank. What does he have on his horizon now to dream about?
"Miss Havisham's intentions towards me, all a mere dream; Estella not designed for me; I only suffered in Satis House as a convenience, a sting for the greedy relations, a model with a mechanical heart to practise on when no other practice was at hand; those were the first smarts I had."
AMBITION // PIP // SUFFERING // REGRET - Pip's great expectations just led to suffering—and growing up a little. Dreams may only bring suffering, but only suffering makes you a man.
"Too heavily out of sorts to care much at the time whether it were he or no, or after all to touch the breakfast, I washed the weather and the journey from my face and hands, and went out to the memorable old house that it would have been so much the better for me never to have entered, never to have seen."
AMBITION // PIP // REGRET // MINOR CHARACTERS // CONTROL // Pip thinks he would be happier if he had never been exposed to Miss Havisham's house, which reminds us that Pip was first made to visit Miss Havisham in order to fulfill or attempt to fulfill the dreams and hopes of others: Mrs. Joe and Mr. Pumblechook (not to mention Miss Havisham).
""It would have been cruel in Miss Havisham, horribly cruel, to practise on the susceptibility of a poor boy, and to torture me through all these years with a vain hope and an idle pursuit, if she had reflected on the gravity of what she did. But I think she did not. I think that in the endurance of her own trial, she forgot mine, Estella.""
AMBITION // NAIVETY // CRUELTY // PIP // MISS HAVISHAM - Over and over again, we see hopes and dreams turning people selfish and destructive. But Pip still chooses to believe that humans are innately good, and just derailed by misguided dreams.
"At those times, I would decide conclusively that my disaffection to dear old Joe and the forge, was gone, and that I was growing up in a fair way to be partners with Joe and to keep company with Biddy—when all in a moment some confounding remembrance of the Havisham days would fall upon me, like a destructive missile, and scatter my wits again. Scattered wits take a long time picking up; and often, before I had got them well together, they would be dispersed in all directions by one stray thought, that perhaps after all Miss Havisham was going to make my fortune when my time was out. "
WEALTH // GROWING UP // PIP // Just when Pip begins to warm up to his destined trade and life, the prospect of money throws everything into chaos.
""First," said Mr. Jaggers, "you should have some new clothes to come in, and they should not be working clothes. Say this day week. You'll want some money. Shall I leave you twenty guineas?""
WEALTH // JUDGEMENT // SOCIETY AND CLASS // JAGGERS // JOE // PIP// - In telling Pip to get rid of the working clothes look, Jaggers indirectly insults Joe and indicates that Pip won't be associating with the working classes anymore. Money divides people: this seems to be first time that Pip and Joe won't look like each other.
""But if you think as Money can make compensation to me for the loss of the little child—what come to the forge—and ever the best of friends!—""
WEALTH // FAMILY // FRIENDSHIPS// Jaggers assumes that everyone has a price, but he's wrong: Joe doesn't. (Or, at least Joe doesn't put a price on Pip.) Jaggers seems unaware that relationships exist that are stronger than money.
""I wonder he didn't marry her and get all the property," said I."
WEALTH // SOCIETY AND CLASS // Pip can't understand why Compeyson would walk away from the opportunity of owning land and of being married to a lady, because (we think) he doesn't understand yet that owning land and marrying a lady won't make him a gentleman. Pip still think that money can buy acceptance—but he's wrong.
"He had grand ideas of the wealth and importance of Insurers of Ships in the City, and I began to think with awe, of having laid a young Insurer on his back, blackened his enterprising eye, and cut his responsible head open. But, again, there came upon me, for my relief that odd impression that Herbert Pocket would never be very successful or rich."
WEALTH // SOCIETY AND CLASS // GROWING UP // PIP // ARROGANCE - Pip thinks he's an expert on who's going to make it in life just because he's obsessed with status and wealth—but he doesn't really know anything about wealth or money yet, and he won't until he loses it.
""Then the time comes," said Herbert, "when you see your opening. And you go in, and you swoop upon it and you make your capital, and then there you are! When you have once made your capital, you have nothing to do but employ it.""
WEALTH // SOCIETY AND CLASS // HERBERT // ARROGANCE // AMBITION - Herbert's concept of money and wealth involves usability. He doesn't want to own things just to own them; he wants his money to lead him to new ventures and to expose him to new places and ideas. Not Pip. Pip's concept of wealth and fortune is tied to an image of Miss Havisham's world, but her world is a stagnant one in which time has stopped and nothing grows. It's no coincidence that Herbert's capitalist concept of wealth made England so powerful in the nineteenth century.
"Yet, having already made his fortune in his own mind, he was so unassuming with it that I felt quite grateful to him for not being puffed up."
WEALTH // SOCIETY AND CLASS // AMBITION -
For Herbert, just dreaming of the money to come is enough to satisfy him. He doesn't mope around like a crestfallen six year-old. Pip, on the other hand is never content, even though he's inherited a fortune. This is Dickens showing the idea of 'nature/nurture', as Herbert came from a slightly richer family than Pip, but has lower ambitions and is much more humble. Herbert also means 'bright', which certainly represents his outlook on life in comparison to Pip.
"It don't signify to you with your brilliant look-out, but as to myself, my guiding-star always is, 'Get hold of portable property.'"
WEALTH // SOCIETY AND CLASS // SOCIAL MOBILITY // - Wemmick is all about owning goods that can be moved quickly, so his concept of money is closely tied to mobility. He knows that wealth (in the vague stocks, land, and savings kind of way) can be appropriated and lost, and he doesn't care about having the "right" kind of money in land; he just wants to live comfortably and to be able to keep hold of his wealth.
"But I did mind you, Pip," he returned, with tender simplicity. "When I offered to your sister to keep company, and to be asked in church at such times as she was willing and ready to come to the forge, I said to her, 'And bring the poor little child. God bless the poor little child,' I said to your sister, 'there's room for him at the forge!'"
FRIENDSHIP // GOODNESS // PIP // JOE // All this talk about Mrs. Joe being a superhero and bringing Pip up "by hand" is just plain silly. Joe saved Pip. If Joe hadn't intervened, he might have ended up like Magwitch, stealing turnips. In fact, maybe that's the only difference between him and Magwitch—Pip had a friend.
"O dear good Joe, whom I was so ready to leave and so unthankful to, I see you again, with your muscular blacksmith's arm before your eyes, and your broad chest heaving, and your voice dying away. O dear good faithful tender Joe, I feel the loving tremble of your hand upon my arm, as solemnly this day as if it had been the rustle of an angel's wing!"
WEALTH // PIP // JOE // FRIENDSHIP // LOVE - Pip is not blinded by wealth. The fact that Pip and Joe are such great friends makes Pip's decision to leave the marshes all the more significant. Pip's dreams of winning Estella outweigh his love of Joe. In other words, he totally betrays the bro code.
"You may be sure, dear Joe," I went on, after we had shaken hands, "that I shall never forget you."
SOCIETY AND CLASS // Pip is almost replicating the cold and snobbish nature shown in Estella's character.
"As soon as I could recover myself sufficiently, I hurried out after him and looked for him in the neighboring streets; but he was gone."
Pip's fortune may have brought him clothes and things that he expected,
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