Great Expectations

Great Expectations


Charles Dickens

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Great Expectations: Book 1, Chapter 14 Summary & Analysis

Pip is miserable in his apprenticeship to Joe, internally tormented by the "commonness" of his home, Joe's forge, and of the blacksmith's trade, though he conceals his despair from Joe. All of the places and activities that had delighted him before meeting Estella now disappoint him because he knows she would consider them coarse and common. Pip describes himself as "restless aspiring discontented me." He walks the marshes in dejection, feeling his low spirits aligned with the flat, low marsh landscape. Only Joe's kindness and cheer restrains Pip from running away from the forge and becoming a soldier or sailor.
Pip remains dissatisfied with what used to please him. Yet Pip's ambitions are driven entirely by Estella's opinion—he does not want to do or be anything in particular, he simply wants Estella to think highly of him. His fantasy of running away to be a sailor or a soldier would not necessarily elevate his social status or make him "uncommon"—they would simply give him a feeling of escape, of distance between himself and the "common" life he loathes.
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