“Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens centres its story around its narrator, Pip, whose first person perspective takes the reader on a journey of his life in nineteenth century England. Through his interaction, honest opinions and thoughts, the reader is allowed to observe what life is like for people of different social stratums. The Victorian society had a “three-class model of social structure”, according to R.S. Neale, and can be conveniently categorised into “aristocracy, middle-class [and] working class”. This essay will be examining the issue of class through the analysis and comparison of Pip, Miss Havisham and Joe Gregory. While Miss Havisham and Joe represent the two opposing ends of the spectrum, Pip is the mobile change from one…show more content… Miss Havisham very clearly portrays the image of a domineering, social elite through her use of commanding tone and orders. This does not only apply to her attitude towards Pip but towards Estella and her relatives as well. The commanding tone of voice displays her sense of privilege and title to the point where she even controls the smallest of details; “Estella, take him down. Let him have something to eat and let him roam and look about him while he eats. Go, Pip” (56). Her control is also evident in a conversation with her relatives; “And that will be his place… at my head! … And yours will be there! … Now you all know where to take your stations when you come to feast upon me!” (81,82). The order had been made in reference to her funeral, showing that even when she is mad, she does not forget her disposition.
However, despite the status and wealth Miss Havisham has, she is unconcerned with them. Rather, she focuses on the retaliation upon all men due to her betrayal by her fiancé— that she manipulates her adopted daughter to ‘break the hearts of men’. John Bowen argues that “there is little sense in the book that you can get pleasure from wealth or social status.” From analysing Miss Havisham’s focus, the proposition can be said the same for Pip. He also fails to find fulfilment as a ‘gentlmen’ as he describes Banard’s Inn as a “flat burying-ground”(162)…show more content… Estella also makes fun of Pip without any hesitation; “He calls the knaves, Jacks, this boy! … And what course hands he has! And what thick boots!” (55). The characteristics that Estella had so shamelessly and cruelly laughed at symbolised the lower class. According to Peter. J . Capuano, hands are regarded to be a characteristic in differentiating the social classes. He claims that the working class tend to have “large palms … to handle shovels, pickaxes, and barrows”. Moreover, the name-calling and choice of diction heavily implies the importance of social role and highlights the social difference between Pip and herself. It is the fact that Miss Havisham does not only refrains from scolding Estella but later rewards her with a jewel shows that she is supportive and hints her pride of such