In one of the great essays on Great Expectations , J. Hillis Miller claims that Pip exemplifies a consistent view expressed in Dickens?s hero, which is equally a philosophical view of identity that tends toward existentialism and a closely related view of modern social order”
?Dickens heroes and heroines have never experienced perfect security. Each becomes aware of himself as isolated from all that is outside of himself. The Dickensian hero is separated from nature. The world appears to him as cold and unfriendly, as a ?wilderness?Eor a graveyard. In Dickens there is no Wordsworthian theory of a child?s filial bond with nature. There is no moment of primitive or infantile identification of subject and object, self and world, followed by a ?fall?Einto the cruel realm of time and division. The self is not initially the plenitude of a union with the entire universe, but is already narrowed down to the ?small bundle of shivers growing afraid of it all and beginning to cry.?EThe Dickensian hero is also alienated from the human community. He has no familial tie. He is an orphan, or illegitimate, or both. He has no status in the community, no inherited role which he can accept with dignity. He is characterized by desire, rather than by possession. His spiritual state is one of an expectation founded on a present consciousness of lack, of deprivation. He is, in Wallace Stevens?Ephrase, ?an emptiness that would be filled.??