Sympathy for Pip in Charles Dickens' Great Expectations
The settings of Great Expectations have an important bearing on the
storyline; the settings also echo the characters in personality and
circumstance. The theme of the book seems to run parallel with the
settings in some respects, such as the plain but wholesome life-style
of Rochesterand the beckoning but ultimately shallow habitat of London.
Throughout the book comparisons and relationships between story and
setting are made, many subtle and not evident unless reflected upon.
In chapters 1 and 8, Dickens generates a lot of sympathy for Pip. His
writing techniques are very effective and creative as he manages to
relate certain locations with depressing and cold images like prisons
creating that 'fear' factor for Pip.
The setting from the start of the book is very important, from the
bleak and stereotypical graveyard that give the story a starting tense
and exiting mood, and the humble blacksmiths that acts as a platform
for Pip's expectations and the opposite setting to much of the grander
scenery in London. The graveyard at the start of the book is typical
example of how the setting contributes so well to the story and the
atmosphere; this is just one of the more obvious examples. The first
chapter we see pip in the graveyard while being told background
information which will create sympathy straight away.
Pirip who is nicknamed Pip for the childlike factor, is an orphan who
lives with his sister, Mrs Joe Gargery who is the only family he has
left, the effect of the nickname is to give the readers an insight
into how big this situation is, as it clearly informs the reader that
Pip is only a child in such a dangerous setting and situation, this is
done purely for tension.
He explains his unusual change of name in the sentence; "my infant
tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit than
Pip. So, I called myself Pip, and came to be called Pip," Dickens uses
repetition on the word Pip in this sentence and this emphasises that
his name is PIP, nothing more, and nothing less than Pip. The simple
language Pip uses and the way he has decided to spell his name could
show Pips simple existence.
His parents have passed away and so did the rest of the family, this
was due to the short life expectancy back in the 1800's as only the
high class could afford medicine. Dickens then tells you how pip is
constantly thinking of his parents and that the memories will always
stay with him,
"My first fancies regarding what they were like, were unreasonably
derived from their tombstones. The shape of the letters on my fathers,
gave me an odd idea that he was a square, stout, dark man, with curly
black hair", he describes how Pip pictures his parents in his mind,
memories of his parents is all he has left,...