Great Expectations shows the audience, through the stories of the various main characters, the pitfalls and emotional damage that upper-class society causes people. Miss Havisham, because of her heart breaking at her fiancee jilting her at the altar, maintains a fantasy world where she is still rich and still kept, and dares not allow anyone else to have happiness. Meanwhile, Pip, as well as Herbert Pocket, both go from rags to riches as Pip's mysterious benefactor seeks to teach him the ways of the upper class. However, their own lower-class tendencies, and naivete about the way the world of the rich works, leads them to considerable trouble. Estella, ruined for love by Miss Havisham, demonstrates the fundamental unhappiness that occurs as a result of being a kept woman. The Convict, Pip's real benefactor, allows him to be rich, but his history as a criminal forbids him from being rich on his own, despite having earned that money legitimately.
Dickens, Charles. Great Expectations. Chapman & Hall, 1861. Print.