As characters transpire through a course of struggles, the traditional author carries them to a point of understanding and awareness. In the novel, Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens, characters are forced to face this struggle and eventually go on to reach their epiphany. However, this realization doesn?t occur until after much devastation and damage has been caused.
The eccentric Miss Havisham is one of these characters that is in constant battle with her emotional past. She uses her bitterness against mankind by adopting a young girl and training her to mechanically break the hearts of men. After many years of seclusion at Satis house, she employs Pip to amuse her and train her adopted daughter, Estella. She uses Estella as a form of torture for Pip since she knows very well that Estella?s attractiveness will lure him in and capture her in his heart. Although Estella is completely inaccessible, Pip is still invited over and leaves the Satis house fully tormented. Miss Havisham?s devious ways give her enjoyment when she watches Pip suffer and yearn for a girl he can?t have. Also, when Pip discovers that he is intended for ?great expectations,? she continues to lead him on making him think that she is the secret benefactor. Miss Havisham merely uses Pip as a pawn to play and exploit with in her game of retaliation. Her role as a complete manipulator helps her seek revenge to all mankind on account of her misfortunes.
Miss Havisham?s fortune quickly alters when things don?t go as she has planned. She watches intently as Estella throws herself at Drummle and realizes that she?s the reason that Estella migrates towards a man of low stature like Drummle. Seeing Pip desolate and extremely hurt makes her feel like she betrays someone so undeserving of this kind of torment. Miss Havisham realizes that it?s too late to take back the past and change her meticulous ways. She can only remorse as she does her best to amend the disheveled situation, as she sees that there?s not any course of action that would improve it. She is no longer cynical and hard headed. In a way, to make up for what she has caused, she helps fill Pip?s request to help Herbert Pocket in the Clarriker firm. She sees a new light and understands that her malicious game hurts the people who are closest to her and benefits no one, leaving her without anyone when she passes away.
Pip is another character in the novel that learns from his false pride and arrogant ways that he hurts the people that treasure him the most. While attending several visits to Miss Havisham?s house, Pip develops a snobbish superiority over Joe and the rest of his family. The standards at his common house could never live up to the lifestyle that the Havishams endure. He begins to develop a dislike of the ?commonness? of his lower class home. After being informed of his benefactor, Pip quickly leaves Joe to go to London without hesitation and remorse. As the years go on, he often comes back to visit Estella and Miss Havisham, but purposely avoids going back home. After living such a high class lifestyle, he can?t go back and associate with the common people. Even when Joe comes to visit him in his own home, Pip is completely ashamed of having Joe?s company. He even says, ?If I could have kept him away by paying money, I certainly would have paid money.? He is worrisome about what Herbert and the other towns people will think if they happen to see Pip and Joe together. Then, as he learns that the convict is the benefactor, he becomes embarrassed and highly ungrateful since it isn?t Miss Havisham as anticipated. Pip?s head becomes so clouded by this new high society that he refuses to accept the people in his past.
Coinciding with Miss Havisham?s realization, Pip begins to reach maturity and encounters the damage that he implements. He awakens to find that he does have a responsibility to Magwitch for his continuous generosity. While Magwitch is in jail, Pip visits and stays with him every day as he becomes Magwitch?s only companion when he needs it the most. Signs of unselfishness appear as he secretly helps his friend, Herbert, even though Pip himself is in debt. He even refuses to take money unearned from Miss Havisham and Magwitch. Pip understands that his whole way of living is superficial and meaningless to his life. He has to go through significant change before he realizes the true value of Biddy and Joe and how much he betrays the both of them. When Joe hears that he is sick, Joe immediately comes and takes care of Pip like he used to. Pip finally sees that Joe has his own pride and self respect when he goes back home for the first time in years. He realizes that Biddy won?t wait for him and have her be the second option like he had thought. He patches things up with Biddy and Joe silently and is no longer afraid to show his face in their home. Pip realizes that people still live their lives without him and that he should not take friends and family for granted.
Faced with a hard lesson to overcome and learn, these two characters turn out to be decent people despite all the hardships they may have triggered. Even though they end up pushing away most of their closest friends, their realization is admirable because of the forceful ways they attempt to mend things back together. These characters reach understanding and awareness after their long struggle with their inner selves.