Feelings are inevitable. You cannot possibly go living day to day without emotionally feeling things. There are many wise and relatable themes from Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, that can be integrated into our common culture song themes. Four themes, or feelings, I have found within the pages of Great Expectations are nostalgia, self-esteem, regret, and painful love. One who is “nostalgic” may feel a deep longing for the past, or for what things used to be like. One’s self-esteem can either be good or bad.
If someone has a great self-esteem, they have a positive outlook on life, and they are ready to face whatever hallenges they may encounter. However, if someone has a negative self-esteem, every day may be a struggle for them and they may find it hard to continue to go through life. Regret is a difficult emotion to deal with, especially if you rarely share your feelings with others. Feelings of regret may include blaming oneself, feeling a sense of loss, and wishing to change the past. Regret can also be a learning process.
From what you did wrong, you can attempt to try again. Lovesickness is also a pain that is very relatable for most people. Having painful love can be where ou love someone too greatly, but the outcome is something you never wanted in return. These four themes can be found all throughout life as well as Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations. Have you ever gone about your day when something (a scent, photograph, setting, etc. ) takes you immediately back to your childhood? The “good old days”? Nostalgia can be powerful. Pip may have felt exactly this.
Even though he felt that words could not describe how badly he wanted to be a “gentleman”, when he finally was on his way to becoming one, he found himself unhappy. He faced love problems, financial issues, and overall oncern about how “gentlemanly” he was. He longed to go back to simpler times, where he had never met Miss Havisham, and wished to become a “gentleman”. One song that perfectly describes what I’m trying to convey is called “Pretend” by the artist Lights. A verse from the song is “Everyone’s watching and quick to start talking. I’m losing my innocence”.
Remember when things were so much easier? The only concern we had was if our friends could come over and play. What happened to those days? The song “Pretend” leads into the chorus which says, “It would be nice to start over again, before we were men. I’d give, I’d bend. Let’s play pretend”. Just as the author of this song wanted to go back to their childhood and not worry about adult issues, Pip wished he never left his farm by the marshes, to grow up in London. I estimate that at some point in everyone’s lives we all long to go back to when we were younger.
Sometimes, during our growing years, our self-esteem is put to the test. There are many factors that can boost our self-esteem or tear it down. Although in the beginning of Great Expectations, Pip did seem to not have a very great self-esteem, as he grew older, he ccepted the fact that Miss Havisham was not his benefactor, and he started to not care what others thought about him. For example, when he gave his big speech trying to convince Estella to not marry Drummle, he said whatever came to mind, no filter to what he was saying.
One song that comes to mind about a rising self-esteem is Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off”. In this song, Taylor Swift describes all of the rumors that go on about her, but how they do not bother her because she knows what is true about herself. In the song’s pre-chorus, it says, “But I keep cruising. Can’t stop, won’t stop moving. It’s like l’ve got this music in my mind saying ‘It’s gonna be alright”. Pip knew Estella was “gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate” but he was “gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake” it off. that it is human nature to regret.
Pip knew exactly what a guilty conscience felt like. Right when he started out with stealing food from the pantry, things escalated from there. Pretty soon he One true fact about life is was worried about being caught, lying to others about what he’d done, the scary convict haunting him, and then Pip was worried about how he treated his family, and saving the convict from his ast. A song that perfectly describes guilt and how we want to deal with it is called “I So Hate Consequences” by Relient K. Right in the first verse, the song starts out by saying, “I want to run away.
I want to ditch my life because all of my mistakes keep me awake at night”. The song “I So Hate Consequences” goes on to say, “I had no idea where my head was at. But if my heart says I’m sorry’, can we leave it at that? Because I just want for all of this to end”. Pip wants to rid himself of all of this regret he has felt through his journey in Great Expectations. Have you ever een so in love you can physically feel your heart hurting? Pip sure felt exactly that. Whether the pain is a good pain or a pain that aches, we can all experience that pain, and it does not even have to be with someone we love romantically.
Pip starts out by being infatuated by Estella, and he could never get her off his mind. He wanted nothing more than to be with her, and marry her. One of my favorite love songs of all time is called “Tear in My Heart” by Twenty One Pilots. In fact, I find it really difficult to chose just a few examples from the song because it is all so deep. The first lyric, “Sometimes you gotta bleed to know that you’re alive and have a soul” implies that sometimes it gets worse before it gets better. To truly understand happiness, you also have to experience pain.
This connects to Great Expectations because Pip believed that no matter the pain he had been enduring to catch Estella’s attention, it would all be worth it in the end. In the next verse, “The songs on the radio are okay, but my taste in music is your face” where Tyler Joseph, the lead singer of Twenty One Pilots, compares the one he loves to a song, which is actually a big compliment from a musician. Tyler Joseph describes that ordinary people, or “songs”, are okay, but his music taste is, quite literally, her face.
Pip knows what this feels like when he passes by the jail with Estella and thinks about how she does not even remotely resemble the people beyond those gates. However, in the end, Pip cannot bear the pain anymore, and he feels as though his heart is being ripped out when Estella mentions she will marry Drummle. Pip has had his heart torn by the girl he loves, but not in a favorable way. These four themes and songs all have one thing in common: they are all emotions. We, as humans, feel every ingle one of these emotions in one way or another.
Even if we don’t feel nostalgia, confidence (or the lack of), regret, or love pain, at the time, these feelings are ever-present. Charles Dickens does a wonderful job of intertwining themes from his books into each and every one of our personal lives. That is one thought that has repeatedly come into my mind while reading Great Expectations. “Wow, I know exactly how this character feels! ” or, “I’ve done that exact same thing! ” are common thoughts I have when reading this book. Or, as a “common” way of saying it in today’s culture, I think, “Same”.