In Great Expectations, Pip’s childhood is structured similarly to that of Catherine Earnshaw in Wuthering Heights. Although they are both free-spirited as young children, Victorian society prefers a specific development for them. In chapter seven of Great Expectations, Pip’s uncle and older sister send him away to Miss Havisham’s home. Pip only knows Miss Havisham as “an immensely rich and grim lady…who led a life of seclusion.” (19) Catherine Earnshaw has a similar experience of an unconsented move as a supposed way to improve her well-being. Growing up alongside the rebellious Heathcliff, Catherine’s family was concerned that she would remain an unruly woman her entire life. This prompted her forced move to Thrushcross Grange. The goal of making her more civilized, in Victorian ideals, was successful upon her return to Wuthering Heights. This seems to be the goal of Mrs. Joe, who forces Pip to transform into an idealized version of himself so that he may make his fortune while at Miss Havisham’s home. Unfortunately, Pip is not treated with dignity at Satis House due to his status as a lower-classed individual. Perhaps he will change his character to mold into society’s ideal man like Catherine did as a Victorian woman. Hopefully, he will stay true to his character and disregard Estella’s condescending manner.
Pip and Catherine Earnshaw
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