Great Expectations-CharctersCharacters in Great Expectations: Static or Dynamic? The characters in Great Expectations are the products of extreme characterization.
Each personality type represented is in its extreme, as though to make a point to the reader. Overall, the lesser characters in Great Expectations do not undergo a massive character change; that is, they remain static the whole time. The main role players, Pip, Miss. Havisham, and Mrs. Joe Gargery are the ones who undergo the most massive changes.
Pip is first portrayed to us as one to be pitied, because the fate that he was living was not his fault. He is first an orphan with great respect to all those around him, regardless of the social classes. His love for Joe is very clear, and easy to understand. While Pip is obtaining his Expectations, he becomes a person that the reader can no longer sympathize with. He begins to be caught up in the superficial aspects of life, such as material wealth and social status. The reader begins to scorn Pip’s treatment to the man that was once his only friend in life, Joe.
Pip does undergo a change of heart towards the end, and he becomes more likable. For the majority of the novel, Miss. Havisham remains constant. Her hatred towards men is easily visible.
She manipulates people to her advantage without a thought to their heart and feelings. Her treatment of those around her stays very much the same until before her death, when she shows extreme remorse and pain for her actions. It is at that moment in the novel when the reader begins to feel some sort of sympathy for her. Even though she was an villainous character, it’s easy to sympathize with someone who is dying with so many unresolved issues.
She expressed her good intentions towards Estella’s upbringing, which shows that, while she may have lacked the inner strength to carry through with these intentions, her heart was in the right place. The change so apparent in Mrs. Joe Gargery was not brought about by some change-of-heart like the others, but was brought about by a ruthless attack which left her crippled. In the beginning of the book, she was the foil to Joe, but after the attack she ends up being like Joe in her calm deposition. There are; however, some characters that remain the same throughout the novel.
Joe Gargery, Biddy, and Herbert all remain the same. These are the most static characters in the book. They are also the lesser characters. Their quiet ways and generosity are models for the dynamic characters in the book. Joe is Pip’s father figure. He is the one that Pip can look up to, and want to be like in the first stage.
After Pip glimpses life in the upper classes, he openly shuns Joe and shows embarrassment of him. Joe undoubtedly notices the change, and is still able to provide Pip with unconditional love, something every person needs. Biddy is the type of person that we all want Pip to marry all throughout the book. She has perfect listening skills, and that is why Pip can turn to her whenever he needs her.
Herbert Pocket is a lot like Biddy in that he is devoted to Pip, and will always be there for him. He is Pip’s only true friend when he first arrives to London. It is the contrast of these characters, those static, and those dynamic that make Dickens famous for his elaborate characterization.
You never know which are static, and which are dynamic, which adds to the excitement of reading his novels.