Document Type

Undergraduate Project

Publication Date



In lieu of an abstract, below is the essay's first paragraph.

The formation of class structure is often dependent upon a set of criteria that reveals divisions between individuals. The old model of class ranking within England during the nineteenth century favored a rigid structure reliant on occupational differences. A new model began to take shape during the end of the century that relied on the morality and character of individuals. The new model provided the opportunity for mobility and achievement of new roles through self-determination. Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations portrays both models of class structure within the nineteenth century through the story of Pip Pirrip. Pip struggles to categorize others and himself due to the societal shifts that occurred in England during the nineteenth century. He instead discovers his own way of determining his identity and placement within society through dictating his own fate. The novel demonstrates the problems of inequality and exactitude that exist with enforcing a rigid hierarchical classification system, and embraces a new model of social classification that is reliant upon self-determination and the ability to achieve status by actions rather than birth.


Paper from Dr. Deborah Uman's English Senior Seminar course, Fall 2012.

Additional Files

Poster-Upham.pdf (565 kB)