An Examination Of Class In Jane Eyre — страница 3

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period saw the growth of the system of finance companies? These changes are reflected in Dickens? work, in the earlier novels finance is very individualistic; from Dombey onwards, through the interest in money?s personal power still continues, and is indeed a main theme of Great Expectations, money as a system is very important.? (House 164-166) An example of this can be seen with Pip being given the great expectations and told not to ever try to find out who it is from. He assumes it is Miss Havisham, but he only later finds out that it is Magwich. When he discovers that it is Magwich he is embarrassed that he fell in love with Magwich?s daughter and that her mother is a murderer. Pip is worried that all this new knowledge will affect his standing as a ?gentleman? within

society. Gender and class becomes intertwined as Pip pursues Estella, whom he sees as a prize awarded to him by Miss Havisham since he had helped her when he was a young man. Pip knows that Estella does not love him but he figures that she will eventually marry him anyway since he thinks that she has no choice in the matter. When Pip is summoned by Miss Havisham to tell him that Estella has arrived from France. Pip sees Miss Havisham as a fairy godmother and Estella as a princess that he has earned for saving the castle. Miss Havisham ?had adopted Estella, she had as good as adopted me, and it could not fail to be her intention to bring us together. She reserved it for me to restore the desolate house, admit the sunshine into the dark rooms, set the clocks a going and the cold

hearths ablazing, tear down the cobwebs, destroy the vermin in short, do all the shining deeds of the young Knight of romance, and marry the Princess?. (Dickens 253) Pip truly believes that Estella will be his until Magwich returns and ruins that idea. Pip is forced to reassess his expectations about class and gender because Estella is Magwich?s daughter. He discovers that the woman who caused him the desire to become a gentleman, is nothing but the daughter of two criminals ?Truly it was impossible to dissociate her presence from all those wretched hankerings after money that had disturbed my boyhood from all those ill-regulated aspirations that had first made me ashamed of home and Joe? (Dickens 257). Pip?s desire for Estella is more than just a love for her as ?she? is. He is

also in love with her beauty, money, status and prestige. All these things differentiate him from having the ?thick boots? and ?course hands? of a simple blacksmith boy. Estella?s image and her character are bound up so tightly with status symbol and Pip?s own desire to rise that she is more of a symbol of a superior social status than that of a romantic love. Although it is possible that Pip really does love Estella, it seems that the status she carries as a ?prize? is more important to him than her true being and her love and affection for him. The ambitions he had concerning elevating his social status to match Estella?s own turn out to be false. Pip realizes that his dreams were false and that his actions were selfish as he grew older and gained a fortune from his unknown

benefactor. The two novels are similar in the way that class is important to the main characters. A major difference is that they are for different reasons. Jane wants a noble position in society, even if that means working for it and refuses a dishonorable one. Pip feels that he has earned his ?position? and he be rewarded for doing so, by getting what he desires, namely Estella. It is evident from both of these novels that the Authors were aware that money and class would be affecting their protagonists. An interesting point for future study could be the gender differences. Pressures would be put on either gender to achieve the appropriate place in society, and how these novels reflect the accuracy of those social demands.