Charles Dickens' Great Expectations
In chapter eight Dickens begins with a detailed description of Satis
House, we are given a vivid idea of what is in store for Pip right
from the beginning. The language and phrases used emphasise the
darkness and forbidding nature of the house. When Pip first enters the
house he describes it as having, 'old bricks, and dismal, and had a
great many iron bars to it. Some of the windows had been walled up; of
those that remained, all the lower were rustily barred'. This adds to
the atmosphere of darkness, because all the 'windows had been walled
up'. In addition, there is a feeling of old age and this is portrayed
when Dickens talks about the windows being 'rustily barred' and how
the house was made from 'old bricks'.
The mood is created by the portrayal of the dull, dusky and dispirited
house. This is emphasised even more when Estella tells Pip about
'Satis House' meaning 'Enough House'. This could have two
implications; one meaning is that the house is enough to satisfy
anyone. Towards the end of the chapter, the reader will find that this
is not the meaning that is being portrayed. The more sensible and
relative meaning is everyone has had enough of the house and of life
itself, this is more related to Miss Havisham. In addition, Pip has
had enough of the house, because after being there for a little while
he wants to go home.
Inside the house, a feeling of death and darkness is revealed and we
get the feeling that nothing is as it seems. This is shown by Pip's
description of the house, for example Pip says, 'the cold wind seemed
to be colder there, than outside the gate'. Satis House is also seen
as a Prison through Pip's eyes because he talks about the windows
being 'barred'. Furthermore, Dickens description of Miss Havisham
creates an image of a woman who is trapped in her own dull world and
cannot leave. She is isolated and locked in her own house that is seen
visually as a prison, but also it can be sensed emotionally. Satis
House is also enclosed, which brings us back to the idea of a prison.
We know this because it is secluded and isolated from the rest of the
world, by being trapped by its 'high enclosing walls'.
The shadowy darkness of the house is constantly felt by Pip; the
vision of this becomes more recognizable when Miss Havisham tells Pip
she has never seen daylight. Dickens seems to create an image of a
funeral and death by relating it to Miss Havisham and Satis House. One
example of this is when Miss Havisham is described as 'corpse' like.
Pip sees Miss Havisham as 'the strangest lady he has ever seen' which
adds to the mysterious and scary environment of the house.
Everything that is said by Miss Havisham and the presentation of
herself and her house, adds to the effective description, which is
related to death and darkness. When Pip describes her and says,
'Everything within my view which ought to be white, and had been white