Notions of and obsession with society and class lead the protagonist of Great Expectations into self-destruction and a loss of dignity. In the world of this novel, society is divided among class lines, creating impenetrable barriers between social classes. When characters attempt to break through these barriers, they only find loneliness and loss. Society is both exalted as a productive and efficient means of organizing human chaos and it is revealed to be internally rotten.
Identity is forged through choice more than it is shaped by birth in Dickens's Great Expectations.
Pip fails as a fortunate orphan but ultimately prevails as a self-made man.