In the novel “Great Expectation” by Charles Dickens, the main character Pip grows and develops into a young gentleman, who learns many valuable life lessons about himself. Along his path of development, Pip’s knowledge and growth are influenced by his friends and family who act as his guardians. Throughout the novel Great Expectations, Pip receives both spiritual and moral aid from Joe Gargery, Biddy and Herbert Pocket as exemplified through their dialogues and actions.
Joe Gargery has an influence on Pip’s life as seen through his actions and words. Joe teaches Pip the value of being truthful, as he describes lies as descendants from “The father of lies”(Dickens, 71). This signifies that when one lies it is as if they are listening to the devil himself and disobeying God. Pip’s lies derive from his visit to Miss Havisham’s house where he describes Miss Havisham as having “four dogs” (Dickens, 68) while Estella was “waving a blue flag” (Dickens, 68), Pip “a red one” and Miss Havisham “a gold sprinkled one” (Dickens, 68). These lies Pip told to Mr. Joe, Mrs.Joe and Mr.Pumblechook. It was a good thing that Joe was able to teach Pip about lies. This helped Pip because in the future he was able to be truthful in every kind of way, for example when he was telling Estella about his feelings and said “Estella, to the last hour of my life, you cannot choose but remain part of my character, part of the little good in me, part of the evil”(Dickens, 364). Here Pip does not lie about having evil in him, he states it clearly to Estella. Additionally, his being upfront and honest to Estella regarding his feelings for her instead of lying. Joe offers help to Pip by teaching him manners which is a trait that Pip carries throughout his development as a young man. Joe explains “Manners is manners, but still your elth’s your elth’”(Dickens, 11) after Joe is under the impression that Pip hurriedly finished his dinner saying “you’ll do yourself a mischief… you can’t have chawed it” (Dickens,11). In this scenario, Pip hid the buttered bread “down his leg” (Dickens,11). This helps Pip morally as it contributes to his development and ideal of becoming a gentleman. Later on in the novel, Pip’s manners and development as a gentleman is shown through his conversation which Herbert stating that his life began in “a country place [as a blacksmith]”(Dickens, 178) therefore lacking “politeness.” (Dickens,178) This shows that Pip is conscious of his manners, and wants to portray himself as a true gentleman. This personality trait taught to Pip by Joe helps him morally in many ways. For example, it helped Pip make his own decisions in times where Joe could not defend Pip from Mrs. Joe.“When your poor sister had a mind to drop into you, it were notsermuch … that she dropped into me too, if I put myself in opposition to her but that she dropped into you always the heavier for it. I noticed that. …When that little child is dropped into, heavier, for that grab of whisker or shaking, then that man naturally up and says to himself, ‘Where is the good as you are a doing?”’ (Dickens,469 ). Joe morally impacts Pip which contributes to his development as a gentleman, which transpires in the third part of the book.
Additionally, someone else who helps Pip on his journey in becoming a gentleman is Biddy who he met while at Mr.Wopsle’s school. Biddy later becomes a confidant for Pip, which in turn allows him to feel free to tell Biddy anything that happens to him. This is especially seen when Pip states to Miss. Havisham his trust and guidance he receives from Biddy, stating confiding in Biddy “’comes natural to me to do so”, and that “Biddy has a deep concern in everything I told her, I did not know then”(Dickens, 96). Biddy is able to help him morally as she listens to everything Pip confides in her, paying close attention so that she may be able to offer him advice and guidance. Often what Pip shared he just could not say to Joe or anyone else, so it was good that Biddy was there to listen to him because it helped to feel better. Moreover, another way Biddy helps Pip is when Mrs.Joe got attacked and Pip and Joe were responsible for taking care of her “Biddy became part of [their] establishment”(Dickens,123) teaching Pip how to be a good caretaker and how to be caring towards someone. Biddy was able to be a caretaker and understand Ms.Joe. This was helpful for Pip because Biddy helped him understand what his sister was saying. She is also able to offer spiritual help because like Pip she too is an orphan which helps them connect with each other, as Pip has someone he can relate to who shares a similar experience. People such as Joe, Mrs.Joe, Estella and many more won’t understand the impact that being an orphan has on someone’s life. This leads to spiritual help because it helps Pip feel accepted in a way where there is someone who understands him and it gives him peace of mind knowing that he is not alone. Therefore Biddy offers Pip both moral and spiritual help through her support by listening to him, teaching him how to be caring and through her understanding being an orphan.
Herbert Pocket, another helpful character throughout the story happens to be Pip’s best friend. He is also described as “The pale young gentlemen”(Dickens, 93) that Pip got into a fight with earlier in the book. They later reunite in London where they become best friends. When Pip meets Herbert he asks him to help him be more gentleman-like,“I would take it as a great kindness in him if he would give me a hint whenever he saw me at a loss or going wrong”(Dickens, 178) and Herbert being a great friend he is said “With pleasure”(Dickens, 178). This morally helps Pip very much because his ultimate goal in life is to become a gentleman. Having a best friend that is already a gentleman, acts as a guide for Pip’s growth, as Herbert acts as an example for him to follow. Besides helping Pip to become a gentleman, Herbert becomes his best friend while in London which especially helps him since he meets a lot of odd people in London like Magwitch. Herbert is the only true friend he has who offers advice, support, love and kindness, as demonstrated through Estella and when she broke Pips heart when she said, “When you say you love me, I know what you mean, as a form of words; but nothing more”(Dickens,362) stating that she feels “nothing in [her] breast”. She concludes by stating “ I don’t care for what you say at all. I have tried to warn you of this; now, have I not?”(Dickens,362). Herbert helps Pip heal through this tough period in his life, and helps him spiritually as it helps to get peace with himself. This was necessary for Pip as he needed someone to emotionally support him since he never really had anyone to warn him that life can have tough moments like this and that love isn’t as great as it seems. Therefore Herbert acts as both a moral and spiritual aid through being a role model for Pip to follow as well as offering help through his love life.
In conclusion, in the book “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens, Pip learns a lot of lessons throughout his life. He receives moral and spiritual help from his friends and family including Joe, his brother-in-law, Biddy, his friend and his best friend, Herbert. These are some of the people that impact Pip’s life and helps him turn out the way he does. Throughout this novel, Dickens shows us how these characters help Pip in becoming the gentlemen he dreamed of being since he was a child. Even though he came across a lot of bad people who showed him that great expectations aren’t really great, he also met good people along the way that made an even greater impact on his life. Overall, help was what Pip really needed to understand how to act and to understand how people are. If it wasn’t for Joe, Biddy and Herbert Pip wouldn’t have been able to accomplish what he did throughout the novel.