Social Class Hides True Self
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens tells the story of Pip, a young boy growing up in the English marshes, gaining wealth and becoming a gentleman. As Pip moves to London to learn how to become a gentleman, he meets many people. One of the many people he meets is Bentley Drummle, an arrogant rich gentleman who Pip dislikes, at a tutoring session. At the beginning of the book, Pip meets a convict. By the end of the book Pip finds out the convict is his benefactor, Magwitch. Through Bentley Drummle’s snobby attitude and Magwitch’s impact on Pip’s life, Dickens demonstrates the idea that social class often times doesn’t show true self.
Although Bentley Drummle’s social status is high, his morality is low. After a day at the Pockets’ house and meeting Bentley Drummle, Pip describes Drummle: “Heavy in figure, movement, and comprehension- in the sluggish complexion of his face, and in the large awkward tongue that seemed to loll about in his mouth as he himself lolled about in a room- he was idle, proud, niggardly, reserved, and suspicious. He came of rich people down in Somersetshire, who had nursed this combination of qualities until they made the discovery that it was just of age and a blockhead.” (213) Because Pip uses the words idle, proud, niggardly, reserved, and suspicious, it indicates Pip not liking Drummle. When Pip is describing Drummle, he has not spoken to Drummle yet which means Pip can already infer that Drummle has a snobby attitude towards people in the lower class. At dinner one night, Pip notices Mr. Jaggers trying to reveal Drummle’s true self: “If his object in singling out Drummle were to bring him out still more, it Pham 2
perfectly succeeded. In a sulky triumph, Drummle showed his morose depreciation of the rest of us, in a more and more offensive degree until he became downright intolerable. Through all his stages, Mr. Jaggers followed him with the same strange interest. He actually seemed to serve as a...
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