• 22,00 kr

Publisher Description

Early in Great Expectations (1860--61), the elderly and eccentric Miss Havisham hires young Pip to attend her weekly at Satis House. On his first visit, Miss Havisham, dressed in her decrepit bridal dress, commands Pip to "play, play, play!" (72; ch.8). Overwhelmed by the strange sights in the gloomy home, he is stymied at how to respond. Eventually he agrees to play cards with Miss Havisham's adopted daughter Estella, who beats him every time. This scene is the first of several in which Pip plays card games with Estella and other characters, games that he always seems to lose. Dickens's choice of card games in the novel is significant. As David Parlett argues in The Oxford Guide to Card Games, "Every game has a character of its own appropriate to the company it keeps and the place where it is played" (4). From a simple children's game to the popular nineteenth-century pastime of whist, games in Great Expectations are intertwined with the novel's themes of class and social mobility. (1) As Pip becomes a gentleman, he learns to play more games, both card games and psychological games. He becomes sophisticated in his manners and in the polite amusements he knows, but at the same time he repeatedly doubts himself. Even as he makes acquaintances in the higher echelons of society, he feels more and more alone. Thus, Pip's relationship to his newfound status is profoundly ambivalent, as his wealth and position fail to bring him the happiness and acceptance he expects. As Beth F. Herst argues, "for Pip gentility is itself the source of alienation" (117). Only when he rejects game-playing and the surface trappings of gentility and embraces the moral behavior of a gentleman does he find a sense of contentment. By the end of the novel, Pip accepts the middle-class Victorian values of loyalty, hard work, and honesty and finds that they trump the games of trickery and chance played by many of the novel's other characters.

Professional & Technical
June 1
Dickens Society of America

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