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The portrayal of class and social mobility in Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations


  • Elina Helleberg

Summary, in English

Pip’s transformation to become a gentleman in manners and behaviour in Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations illustrates the difference and importance of class in the Victorian society. Through an unknown benefactor, Pip makes a journey from working-class blacksmith apprenticeship in the countryside to gentleman life in the upper-middle class London, with access to economic, cultural and social capital. By applying Marxist theory, the study has found that 1) Pip’s awareness and self-perception of his class background becomes increasingly apparent after meeting Miss Havisham and Estella; 2) that he is conflicted as regards with moral behaviour, social relationships and class belonging and 3) a story like Pip’s was rare in Victorian society. Previous research has found that the concept of the Bildungsroman is presented in Great Expectations through the male protagonist Pip and his transformation to the upper-middle class, which this thesis corroborates as well.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Bachelor's degree


  • Languages and Literatures


  • Dickens
  • Great Expectations
  • Victorian society
  • class
  • Pip


  • Cecilia Wadsö-Lecaros (PhD)