Great Expectations Theme Essay

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“To assail with contemptuous, coarse, or insulting words or wrongly hurt by maltreatment”, the definition of abuse. Charles Dickens uses the dominant idea of abusiveness in his novel Great Expectations. He applies abusive behaviors in the personalities of his characters. Both the protagonist and antagonist are often treated poorly or routinely abused. The author uses negative aspects of their lives to highlight the emptiness and abusive environment of unhealthy relationships.

In the beginning of the novel, Mrs. Joe often hits Pip with the tickler “a wax-ended piece of cane, worn smooth by collision with my tickled frame”(6). She constantly brags about having brought Pip up by hand, as Pip explains in the book my sister “Mrs. Joe Gargery...had established a great reputation with herself and the the neighbors because she had brought me up “by hand” having at that time to find out for myself what the expression meant, and knowing her to have a hard and heavy hand and to be much into the habit of laying it upon her husband as well as upon me”(6). In a few cases Mrs. Joe Gargery wishes Pip in a grave. Pip and Mrs. Joe Gargery don’t have the best relationship. Mrs. Joe’s upbringing of Pip changed his character arc, when he was a child he was very sympathetic and polite. Toward the middle and the ending of the novel Pip becomes almost selfish and bitter.

Throughout the course of the book Estella belittles Pip. Because of his low self-esteem he is drawn to Estella and her natural beauty. She calls him course, common, she makes fun of his boots, and calls him “boy”. Upon their first meeting at the Satis House, she constantly poked and prodded at him "Why don't you cry?" "Because I don't want to.” "You do," said she. "You have been crying till you are half blind, and you are near crying again now" She laughed contemptuously, pushed me out, and locked the gate upon me”(63). Since Pip feels rejected by Estella he feels a sense of self pity so...
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