The True Gentlemen of Great Expectations Essay

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The True Gentlemen of Great Expectations

In Victorian society, a gentleman was brought up from birth, molded and manipulated to act, dress, talk, and live as true gentility. Upon reaching adulthood, these gentlemen were expected to conduct themselves as society dictated. What happens, however, when a man of lower social stature wishes to become a gentleman, and suddenly finds himself in a position to do so? He now has the financial standing, but lacks the social etiquette that a "true" gentleman possesses. Whom can he turn to for a role model and guidance? This is exactly the situation Pip is faced with in the novel Great Expectations. When he first arrives in London, aspiring to be a gentleman, Matthew Pocket, Wemmick,
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Again, when Matthew tries to intervene on account of the baby gashing it's eye out with a nutcracker, Mrs. Pocket is outwardly offended, exclaiming, "I am surprised, Matthew, that you should expose me to the affront of interference."(192). Actually, she should have been the one to interfere in the midst of her child's act of self-mutilation. With nothing to do but lift himself up by the hair, patience is an outstanding quality of Matthew. Patience comes in many forms, and by learning from Matthew's example, Pip may be able apply it to his own life. From hard work to patience, Matthew Pocket is a prime example of what it means to be a gentleman.

Although Pip has come into great deal of money, he doesn't know how to manage it. Wemmick provides a good example of how a gentleman conducts his monetary affairs, business, and pleasure. Wemmick has two different personalities, one for the office, and one for home. Upon Pip's request to invest money in Herbert, Wemmick makes a clear distinction that "My Walworth sentiments must be taken at Walworth; my official sentiments can be taken in this office."(293). Separating business from pleasure is one of the first lessons Pip learns from Wemmick. In order to ensure his future livelihood, (in case his "great expectations" should run dry), Pip must have a businesslike attitude at work in order to be successful, and retain his jovial attitude for home. Wemmick also helps Pip become a benefactor as

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