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Passage Analysis: Great Expectations Essay


The extract from Great Expectations is a scene where the character Pip is giving his perspective of the other character, Jaggers, who is a lawyer, and his office and Pip very much sees Jaggers room as synonymous to Jaggers character. The atmosphere of the room is best described by the repeated descriptive adjective, Dismal. Dickens writes from Pips perspective through 1st person. His impression of Jaggers room is not a positive one and as Pip searches through the room, it develops and this little world is built up, all through Pips eyes. Pip is the protagonist; everything is through his eyes, so everything gets his opinion.

The character of Pip seems reasonably young but at the same time mature, The distorted houses looking as if they had twisted themselves to peep down at me, Dickens uses personification to paint quite a child like image as you cant really imagine an adult thinking of houses bending down and peeping through a window. The character of Pip seems quite intimidated of Jaggers and his office, Mr Jaggers own high backed chair, was of deadly black horse hair, with rows of brass nails around it, like a coffin, as the chair is seen through the eyes of Pip, clearly he is associating the room, even the chair, with death, as coffin is part of the semantic field of death. Pip wouldnt be associating the chair with death if he felt comfortable. At the same time though he seems intrigued and interested by the room, this is clear when stative verb Fascinated is used, I sat down in the cliental chair placed over and against Mr.Jaggers chair, and became fascinated by the atmosphere of the place . Dickens uses another stative verb wondered several times, for example, I wondered what was the history of all the odd litter around the room, and how it came there or I wondered whether the two swollen faces were of Jaggers family, this shows that Pip is constantly thinking about the room and what stories it or objects may have. I think Pip is quite an imaginative person because in the extract his mind is constantly wandering of to different places, I recalled, I called to mind, and I wondered are all examples of this. Pip may be a little bit scared by Jaggers and when he sees the two casts, I wondered whether the two swollen faces were of Mr Jaggers family, this gives me the impression that is trying to find a reason for two such strange casts and trying to comfort himself that Jaggers is human and does have family.

The first words from the extract are Mr Jaggers, Mr suggest authority and by the sound Jaggers, creates a picture of something that cuts. Jaggers also resembles Jagged which is something rough, similar to his character. As Pip is the narrator and he calls him Mr.Jaggers it shows that he is defiantly in a higher power position to Pip. Another example of Jaggers status of power Mr. Jaggers own high- backed chair was of deadly black horsehair, with rows of brass nails round it, like a coffin. The high- backed chair acts as an instrument in expressing Mr. Jaggers powerful character, only somebody big and powerful can sit in a chair like that and Jaggers has probably chosen the chair deliberately. As its written through the eyes of Pip, Jaggers is seen through the eyes of Pip, The features described in the room link directly to Mr. Jaggers personality. Throughout the majority of the passage, Pip uses negative wording in order to express Mr. Jaggers character. The room was lighted by a skylight only and was a most dismal place, Dickens uses a pre-modifying adjective for his noun phrase. Dismal suggest that Jaggers is a dull character who shows a lack of optimism. Pip, the narrator, repeatedly uses words such as twisted, distorted, dreadful, and twitchy while describing the office; these have pejorative connotations of a spooky and eerie atmosphere in the room. Jaggers character may also be seen as broken or patched, Eccentrically patched like a broken head, Dickens uses a simile to describe Jaggers lighting in his room. The semantic field of death is prominent throughout the passage, coffin, dead, and black are all mentioned in the extract, clearly Jaggers and his room are giving Pip the impression of death and some sort of feeling of doom. Although the age of Jaggers is unknown in this extract, Dickens uses the semantic field of age, broken, old rusty history, all associated with age and time are mentioned in the passage, suggesting Jaggers is an old man. Dickens suggests that Jaggers may be a violent man, through lexis from the semantic field in the extract is violence, Pistol and Sword are mentioned. In the passage Pip does not see as many papers as he expected, There were not as many papers, as I should of expected to see, The auxiliary verb should suggest that you have an obligation to expect a lawyer to have lots of papers, but perhaps Jaggers isnt like any other lawyer and perhaps also the fact that Pip knows Jaggers well enough not to have expected him to have lots of papers. As a lawyer the reader is given the impression that Jaggers is a confident, The same detrimental Mastery over their creatures, mastery suggests that hes extremely confident but creatures suggests he doesnt see clients or opposition more animals, it shows hes very detached from people and the world. It could be possible though that perhaps Pip just cant see Jaggers as human so why would he refer to them as fellow humans. Mastery over fellow creatures seems to suggest hes manipulative and knows how to work people to get the result or what he needs. Jaggers room isnt looked after, thats clear from the way it is described and maybe thats a reflection on Jaggers character, if he cant look after a room how can look after himself?

To conclude Dickens uses language effectively to display the emotions of Pip, his character and Jaggers character. Its clear that Pip is intimidated and possibly scared by Jaggers but perhaps also slightly fascinated, as Jaggers seems to be a man with a reputation. Although Jaggers isnt described as doing anything personally; Pips description of the room is enough to decipher what kind of person and lawyer Jaggers is.

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