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Charles Dickens' Great Expectations Essay

1139 words - 5 pages

Charles Dickens' Great Expectations

One of Dickens’ most popular novels ‘Great Expectations’ is a griping
search for identity- the narrator’s self-identity Pip has been born
into a difficult world in the early years of the 19th Century. Philip
Pirrip is the narrator of ‘Great Expectations’. In the book he is
known as Pip. He called himself Pip because as a young child his
infant tongue could only get across to Pip. I the first few chapters
of the book he is described as a timid, sensitive and guilt-ridden
person. His parents had died earlier, probably due to poverty. Pip is
living with his sister, who intimidates him in every form. We realise
his intimidation when he arrives late from the graveyard,

“I twisted the only button on my waistcoat round and round, and looked
in great depress at the fire. Tickler was a wax-ended piece of cane,
worn smooth by collision with my tickled frame”

I see a parallel between Dickens and Pip. Dickens’s lived in an
over-crowded place when he was young. His parents had no intentions of
sending him to school. He spent his days running errands and doing
chores around the house also his younger sister died of smallpox just
like, Pip’s brothers and sisters. Dickens was very concerned with
social issues like poverty. At the time when the book was written,
there was a very high level of infant mortality, which was made worse
by deaths among poor adults, hence the number of orphans.

The first meeting with Magwitch is in the churchyard, where Pip is
lost in childish absorption grappling with his family’s fate. His
state of mind is very unstable when Pip is grabbed violently and the
convict threatened to cut his throat if he was to make noise. Pip
imagines Magwitch as a pirate and a ghost,

“ A man with no hat and with broken shoes, and with a great iron on
his leg”

Pip was in shear terror initially at the time. When he was turned
upside down, he imagined Magwitch would carry out the threat of,

“I’ll have your heart and liver out”

On the second meeting with Magwitch, we can understand how Pip is
growing less afraid of Magwitch and looking at him through sympathetic
eyes,

“Hugging and limping waiting for me. He was awfully cold to be sure”
and

“You’ve been lying out on the marshes and they’re dreadful aguish.
Rheumatic too”

Pip is also worried about stealing from his sister. He knows the true
morality, but he is too afraid to adhere to it,

“ A boy with somebody else’s pork pie! Stop him. Holloa young thief”

Pip here is imagining things coming to life such, as the cattle and
the marshland. His imagination is leading him to a guilty conscience.

The third meeting with Magwitch is again in the marshes, but this time
Pip has company and also Magwitch is not alone. Pip is with the
soldiers, Joe and Mr Wopsle hunting down Magwitch for the crime he has
done. Magwitch is with Compeyson fighting in the marshland. Pip was in
two minds, about what Magwitch would...

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