Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Great Expectations Discussion Question #3

If Pip had not received his "Great Expectations" and never left Joe's forge, how do you think his life would have been different? Are the lessons he learns during his physical and emotional journey necessary for him to arrive at the wisdom he arrives at in middle age?

14 comments:

Heather said...

Well, I figure if he hadn't left the forge, the little chit would have wallowed in his selfishness and made everyone miserable. Terrible, when he had such a perfect example of how to be happy right in front of him - good ole Joe.

Of course, if he had stayed at the forge, he may have had a different physical and emotional journey than the one he had, and may have still turned out better than he was. But it was definitely necessary for him to have some kind of difficult journey. As my grandmother always threatened to do to me - he needed a knot jerked in him. :)

Cathy...Grammy...Cat...Mom...Sis said...

I am only on chapter 20 and have no idea what to expect from this 'dangerous' book. I came here hoping to get just a hint as to where this story is going and what exactly Pip is all about - so far all I am convinced of is that Pip may never find contentment!

Miss Havisham appears to have some sort of hold over several people, but what? Is she Pip's benefactor? And Estella - I am assuming she shows up again in this story at some point in time.

So read on I will, if for no other reason than to expand my reading horizons beyond Harry Potter, Eragon and Lord of the Rings!

Andrea said...

If Pip had stayed at the forge he would have always wondered what more he could have and never would have been happy. Of course, he wasn't happy even after he left, but at least he wasn't always wondering if money would make him happy. Also, even though he wouldn't have been as wrapped up in dangerous situations as he became after meeting Provis, he still would have encountered Orlick, who had decided to kill him even before he left for London. So staying wouldn't have even protected him from danger.

I do think that it was necessary for him to experience a life as a gentleman before arriving at the wisdom that money and status aren't what matter in life at his middle age. Some people naturally learn this lesson over time or know it from the start, but Pip seemed determined to be unhappy at home, so it was good for him to experience what he did to learn that lesson. Although, like Heather said, he may have encountered another difficult journey and learned the same lesson if he had stayed.

Lara said...

Hi! I haven't finished the book yet - but I just wanted to pop in and say that I haven't read this book in several years, and I have surprised myself by enjoying it! Can't wait to finish so I can pop in to the discussions with actually relevant comments.

stillwaters said...

I agree with much of what Andrea said. I felt his journey was necessary and he did need to leave the forge to experience what else was out there once he became aware of a world and opportunities outside of that place.

I think if he had never left he would have been very unhappy and quite bitter and I think that might have changed his character in a very different way, and we have the examples of both Miss Havisham and Orlick of how disappointment can twist and harm a character.

Perhaps if he never felt the pull of the outside world or hadn't been exposed to what he sees and experience at Miss Havisham's then he might have been able to settle happily into life at the forge and become content like Joe, but once that fire was lit within him and he became of "greater expectations" that journey become very necessary.

Even though I found Pip quite unlikable once he left the forge, I think it was a needed journey, and his disappointments in that world of "greater expectations" led to important lessons which allowed him to appreciate family, devotion and loyalty over class and status.

Wendy said...

I agree with Andrea and stillwaters...Pip thought his happiness would be defined by leaving his "common" roots and becoming a man of wealth. He had no idea that material gain does little to bring happiness, and I think he had to have the experience to see it. I think if Joe had told him this in the beginning, Pip would not have believed it. He would have grown to resent Joe and their "common" living if he had never left to see the other side.

Andi said...

Cathy, I hope you're having good luck! I just finished it yesterday and I'm ready to discuss!

Andi said...

Andrea, I guess I sort of see Pip as a free spirit, rambunctious soul, etc. He needed to go and screw up and figure himself out. He was highly unlikable at times, but a necessary journey. Great points you made! Thanks for tossing in your 2 cents.

Andi said...

Thanks for joining us, Lara!

Andi said...

Stillwaters, I agree with everything you said. lol

Lisa said...

I think maybe Pip had to go through what he did to get it out of his system. I agree with Andrea that he would probably always feel like there was something more out there if he had stayed at the forge. Sometimes the best lessons are the hardest learned.

Michaelann said...

After spending time at Miss Havisham's I don't think Pip would have ever been happy at the forge forever. I think that Joe and he would have separated, possibly on harsh terms, and Pip would have tried to find a way to make himself a "gentleman" for Estella.

For Pip to become the person who looks past his own gains and comforts he needed to go through the physical and emotional journeys. His treatment of Magwitch changes greatly over the course of their journey together and goes from repulsion to gentleness and caring.

Kim L said...

Pip would have been better off in a lot of ways. He would not have had the harrowing experience of trying to smuggle Magwitch out of the country, or having to pay off all of his debts, he wouldn't have lost the friendship of Biddy and Joe. But at the same time, he did not appreciate what he had at the forge until he had experienced its reverse. Some of us in life are slow learners, and Pip seemed to need a few knocks in life. Plus, he probably would not have met Herbert, and he sure wouldn't have gotten Estella in the end. By the end, he's become much wiser and appreciative of "the little things"

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