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Analysis of Great Expectations Essay


Great Expectations is told by Pip himself, and it takes place in the 19th century England. The time Pip is growing up was a very busy time in England, as that was the time that the Industrial Revolution was taking place. Britain at the time was seen as a very rich and powerful country, and London was its main city. But the description that Dickens gave us was completely different. The first time Pip arrives in London, he stumbles into a public yard where criminals were being punished and hung in public. Mr. Jaggers office is located close to the prison and when Pip arrives there he sees a long line of convicts and relatives, needing help from Jaggers. So, crime is all around Pip in London. When Pip arrives at Bernard Inn, he is shocked by how dark (light imagery-setting the scene) and dirty the hotel is. Dickens is very clever in his use of settings, in Mr. Jaggers office Pip sees a chair that looks like a coffin with nails located around it. This could be representing the harshness and cruelty of life. But when Pip visits Wemmicks house in Walworth, he immediately feels a sense of home and coziness. Wemmicks house has a fire on constantly, which make it warm and cozy, and light is rare in the world of Great Expectations.

Weather is also a very important aspect of the novel; Dickens uses weather in Great Expectations to create a sad, gloomy mood. There are often severe weather conditions, such as storms-which usually foreshadow that something is about to happen. The weather seems to be tied to the plot and there are usually descriptive weather descriptions when something big happens in Pips life. Chapters 27 and 39, are filled with emotions and by then we are emotionally attached to the characters. Chapter 27 begins with a letter from Biddy informing Pip about Joes upcoming visit. Pip does not take the news as expected. He says, with considerable disturbance, some mortification, and a keen sense of incongruity. If I could have kept him away by paying money, I certainly would have paid money. Joe has always been the father-figure in Pips life, and saw him as his own son. He even in a way, he was the only person who showed some kind of love and affection to Pip during his abusive childhood.

Pips and Joes relationship changes throughout the story, it goes from father figure, to friends, to brother and so on. But either way, Joe has always been there for Pip. He even admits that one of the main reasons that he agreed to marry Mrs. Joe was to take care of Pip, we know this when he says, "But I did mind you, Pip," he returned, with tender simplicity. "When I offered to your sister to keep company, and to be asked in church at such times as she was willing and ready to come to the forge, I said to her, 'And bring the poor little child. God bless the poor little child,' I said to your sister, 'there's room for him at the forge!'" This shows Pip as a kind hearted, nice and sweet guy. He might not be rich, but he was a hard worker and was the man who always tried to help. Joe has unconditional love for Pip and although Pip changed and fell in love with the idea of becoming a gentlemen, and tries to forget his life at the forge therefore not visiting it as often, when Pip fell ill, Joe was there to nurse him back to health.

"Which dear old Pip, old chap," said Joe, "you and me was ever friends. And when you're well enough to go out for a ride what larks!"

Not only does Joe nurse Pip back to health he also pays of all his debts and even apologises to him, for not being able to protect him when he was younger. Joe understood that a lot of things have changed and unfortunately their friendship couldnt catch up with all the drastic changes. The love between them is always present, but their relationship is underdeveloped.

Dickens uses a lot of imagery in descriptions of the settings, to set the scene. The story is mostly set in darkness, so even little bits of light catches the readers attention. Miss Havishams house, (Satis House) is very dark inside and Pip gets around by following Estella, who is holding a candle. Dickens use of imagery in settings helps set the scene, as for example Satis House, is a dark place as Miss Havisham is angry at the world and stopped all the clocks in the house when her lover left her at the altar. There are also some other cases when Dickens uses light, to foreshadow certain events. An example of this is when Magwitch comes into town to see Pip (during which there was a storm), Pip sees twinkling lights outside of this window, due to the lights being shaken by the storm, here Dickens cleverly disguises his foreshadowing of trouble.

Magwitch later on becomes the second father figure for Pip. He says, "Look'ee here, Pip. I'm your second father. You're my son more to me nor any son. I've put away money, only for you to spend." Magwitch it a way, adopts Pip and trusts him. Dickens shows us that friendships do not need a long time to develop but sometime the feelings arent mutual. Pip seems to have a difficulty with trusting people and seeing the value of his relationships with people, other than Herbert Pocket, Miss Havisham and Estella. It seems like he only values the friendships that support his dreams.

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