Honesty VS Dishonesty

One thing that struck my interest with the chapters for this weeks reading was the idea of honesty. The theme of honesty overall is very prevalent throughout Great Expectations. It is evident that Joes goodness and honesty is what makes him a special character, one that is a good reference point back to reality for other characters. Through Joe’s character and Pip’s character development, I thought of the honesty in Wuthering Heights as well. However, if we look at both texts, it is in fact the dishonesty of characters that is most prevalent, whether it be dishonesty to themselves or to others. Specifically, Pip is dishonest with himself in all that he pushes aside in order to advance himself socially, which includes pushing aside Joe, quite possibly the most honest character in this Dickens novel. Whereas, in comparison to Wuthering Heights, Catherine is dishonest with herself in advancing/keeping her societal standing when she chooses to marry Edgar over the man she truly loves, Heathcliff. I also think through these narratives and characterizations of dishonesty, self-realization aspects unfold. In Great Expectations this is seen in chapter 28 where Pip goes home intending to apologize to Joe, one aspect of him considering Joes feelings rather than only caring about advancing himself socially. In Wuthering Heights this is seen when Heathcliff sporadically returns, specifically through Catherines response to his return and her actions in keeping him in her life despite her choice to marry Edgar. So through certain characters honest and dishonesty in Victorian Literature, I think many thematic notions unfold. I’m curious to see how Pips character further develops and if he ever becomes truly honest.

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