Great Expectations and a Christmas Carol: a True Gentleman

1451 words 6 pages
Great Expectations and A Christmas Carol: A True Gentleman According to, a gentleman is a civilized, educated, sensitive, or well-mannered man. However, by Victorian definition, a gentleman was, perhaps most importantly, a rich man. “Charles Dickens…was an author of relatively humble origins who desired passionately to be recognized as a gentleman, and insisted, in consequence, upon the essential dignity of his occupation” (Victorian Web). In Great Expectations he portrays Pip, a poor boy turned rich through expectations, who must learn what true dignity is. A Christmas Carol, too, reveals Scrooge’s distortion of the gentlemanly role and the dire need to understand genuine goodness. In both Great Expectations and A …show more content…

After Pip experiences reminiscence of the love and caring that Biddy once gave him, he realizes how rude he was to Biddy and that unlike Estella, Biddy was kind and loving and decides to marry her. However, she marries another one of Pip’s role models, Joe. Like Biddy, Joe had an early influence on Pip. He was a role model and friend of Pip ever since he and Pip’s sister got married. Joe gave Pip all the love he had ever known, he says, “he always aided and comforted me when he could, in some way of his own, and he always did so at dinner-time by giving me gravy, if there were any” (Dickens 360). As Pip looked back on his expectations, he realized that he should have visited him when he was a “gentleman”. However Pip was too ashamed of Joe because he was poor and uneducated, he even says, “I am afraid that I was ashamed of the dear good fellow” (Dickens 125). Pip realizes when he is sick that Joe, despite his minimal means, was more of a gentleman than he was. Pip’s third role model, Wemmick, was nearly an ideal example of what Dickens portrayed a gentleman to be. He “charitably recuperates the past in order to meet present familial needs” (Downing 607). Wemmick, unlike Pip, puts family first and gives nearly all of his earnings and time to his father. Through Wemmick, Pip is able to recollect how poorly he mistreated his family when he was a “gentleman”. “Pip finally discovers that selfless love