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Emma Weidenhamer

Academic English 9

Mrs. Botti/Miss Yobe

27 February 2009

The novel Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens, is a wonderful story. There are many

characters, each with their own characteristics and personalities. Pop is one of the most dynamic

characters in the book. He has many character traits, which tend to develop and change as the

novel progresses. Pip is very kindhearted in his actions, in what he says to others, and in what he

thinks.

Pip is kindhearted in his actions. When Pip goes to see Miss Havisham in the Third Stage of

his Expectations, he sees her dress catch on fire. He takes the tablecloth from the table to cover

her so that the flames do not kill her. Pip holds her down until assistance arrives. In the process

of holding Miss Havisham down, Pip burns both of his hands. He risked hurting himself in order

to save Miss Havisham. “…if I let her go, the fire would consume her” (801). This is an extreme

example of kindheartedness; from the beginning, Miss Havisham has wanted Estella to hurt Pip,

to break his heart. She has not been very nice to Pip, and he could have just walked away when

he saw her dress catch on fire; yet, he chose to save her life, without a second thought, without

caring how that action might hurt him. Another act of kindness on behalf of Pip is when

Magwitch is in the infirmary, in the Third Stage of Pip’s Expectations. Magwitch has been

fatally wounded in a boat accident- during Pip’s attempt to get him safely out of England- and

has been arrested in the process. As Magwitch is lying in his bed, Pip is with him all the time he

is allowed to be there. When the dying Magwitch speaks his last word, Pip “understood his touch

to mean that he wished to lift my hand and lay it on his breast…I laid it there and he smiled
again, and put both his hands upon it” (820). This is also a great example of Pip’s

kindheartedness; he goes from despising Magwitch, to caring for him with all his heart. From

these two actions, Pip has shown his kindheartedness to the utmost extent, completely turning

around his feelings for these characters.

Pip is kindhearted in his words. As Magwitch is in the infirmary, Pip is telling him about

Estella. Magwitch has spoken his last words, and is just squeezing Pip’s hand; in the final

moments of his life, Magwitch finds out that his child, whom he presumed to be dead, is alive.

Magwitch’s daughter’s name is Estella. Pip says, “…’you had a child once…she is living…she is

very beautiful…and I love her!’” (821). Pip shows his kindness by comforting Magwitch during

his last minutes in this world. By telling the truth, Pip reveals to Magwitch what he has wanted to

hear, that his lost child is not lost anymore. In the same place, also in the Third Stage of Pip’s

Expectations, Magwitch has just died. Pip is overcome with grief, and he even recites a verse

from the Bible, Luke 18:13: “’O Lord, be merciful to him, a sinner!’” (821). Pip’s recitation of

this verse shows that not only has he read the Bible, but he has also praised God, to be merciful,

and not too judgmental with Magwitch. Yet another example of Pip saying something kind, also

in the Third Stage of his Expectations, is when Joe and Biddy are getting married. Just before,

Joe has nursed Pip back to health, and Pip has almost voiced his thoughts of proposing to Biddy,

to Joe. Knowing that if he had said these thoughts aloud, Joe would not have married Biddy, Pip

still says, “’I hope you will have children to love’” (827). Pip knows that he has treated both Joe

and Biddy unfairly for the better part of his life, and he is remorseful about this, so he is happy

for them, that they have found happiness in each other. Yet again, Pip shows that, through his

words, he is one of the most dynamic characters in the whole book. From thinking poorly of

Magwitch, to loving Magwitch, he shows what his true feelings really are.
Pip is kindhearted in his thoughts. In the Third Stage of Pip’s Expectations, Joe has just

returned to the forge, and Pip is journeying there to propose to Biddy. When he arrives at the

forge, he finds out that Joe and Biddy are getting married that day. “My first thought was one of

great thankfulness that I had never breathed this last baffled hope to Joe” (827). As the second

paragraph states, Joe would never have married Biddy if he had known that Pip wanted to. Joe is

selfless, in every way possible, while Pip realizes that he has been selfish for most of his life,

ever since he came into his fortune. For Pip to think this way, and be happy for the both of them,

is a show of great kindheartedness. Also in the Third Stage, Pip has returned to the forge, and is

talking with the landlord of the inn where he is staying. The landlord is telling Pip how

ungrateful Pip has been to the people there. So Pip thinks to himself, “’Yet Joe, dear Joe, you

never tell of it. Long-suffering and loving Joe, you never complain. Nor you, sweet-tempered

Biddy!’” (805). Pip sees now how he has acted towards the others in his life, the people who he

head considered “lower” than he is. He has been ungrateful and selfish, and he is not only

kindhearted in admitting this, but is very remorseful. Lastly, in the Third Stage, Magwitch has

just been arrested, and Pip is realizing several things about himself from this incident. His

repugnance to Magwitch is gone, replaced by a generous, affectionate benefactor. Pip thinks to

himself, “’I only saw in him a much better man than I had been to Joe’” (815). This is

kindhearted just in itself because Pip is finally realizing his mistakes and is going to try to rectify

his previous actions. These realizations of Pip are also adding to his dynamic characterization,

changing the way he thinks and acts towards the other people in his life.

Pip is kindhearted in his actions, his words, and in his thoughts. He has realized the errors of

his previous actions, words, and thoughts, and as the novel progresses, he starts to act and talk
more kindly to people, and think better of them too. Pip definitely shows his kindheartedness

through everything he does, says, and thinks!