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Great Expectations

Great Expectations

by Charles Dickens

Society and Class Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #4

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. (8.105)

Notice that 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, even though it's full of decay, spiders, and weird ladies.

Quote #5

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. (15.2)

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.

Quote #6

"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?" (15.69)

The concept of high society in this novel is often likened to heights and to the sky. But Pip's climb up the social ladder is more like a bridge to nowhere than a stairway to heaven.

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