Thursday, September 24, 2009

Irony in Great Expectations

Irony in Great Expectations

Throughout Great Expectations, there are many events which involve irony. A central irony that is believed to be key to the story is the irony of Pip's benefactor.

Throughout the whole story, Pip believes that his benefactor is Miss Havisham. She is the likeable subject to play this role in Pip’s life which causes the readers to also believe that the benefactor is her. Pip originally centers his whole experience as becoming a gentleman on Miss Havisham being his benefactor and he being meant to wed Estella. He devotes himself to becoming the only man in Estella’s life and strongly believes that they are supposed to be together. This causes him to poorly treat those who truly care about him, Joe and Biddy. Pip feels embarrassed by Joe when he comes to London to visit and therefore, is very ruse to him the entire visit. He also continues his life believing Biddy to be inferior to Estella as a woman. This belief renders Pip into feeling that biddy is a very close friend but will never be more than that.

In chapter 39, irony strikes Pip. His benefactor is revealed to be the convict that he helped so very many years ago. This sudden discovery throws Pip’s understanding of life into drastic turmoil. He realizes that he was not chosen to be with Estella by Miss Havisham and therefore, most likely will not end up with her (pg.344). Pip also realizes that he has not been acquainted with the people known to Miss Havisham because she is his benefactor, rather that eventually he will be forced to meet other gentlemen through his own triumphs. Joe and Biddy also came about in his realization to the effect that he could never return things to how they used to be. He would never be able to take back the things he said to Joe and Biddy nor, would he ever be able to take back the rude and spiteful behavior he exhibited toward them (pg.344).

1 comment:

  1. Nice discussion of irony throughout what you've read. What effect does this irony have on the reader? Something to think about: Did Pip deceive you into thinking Havisham was the benefactor?