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A commentary on a passage taken from Chapter 8 of Great Expectations

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Introduction

A commentary on a passage taken from Chapter 8 of Great Expectations This passage starts with Pip arriving at the house and being led towards Miss Haversham's room by Estella through a maze of passageways that are dark. Estella leaves Pip in the dark outside Miss Haversham's room. Dickens repetitive use of the word "dark" strengthens the image to the reader. You are left in no doubt that it is very dark, and eerie. Pip and Estella don't exchange very many words, but those that they do are used to show you the different social positions of the pair. Unbeknownst to Pip he is himself showing that he is of lower class to Estella by calling her Miss, Estella is aware that Pip is of lower class and constantly calls him "boy" putting him down. Once Estella leaves Pip in the dark he knocks on Miss Haversham's door, through fear, and is asked to enter the room. As soon as he enters the room, Pip starts to take in his surroundings including Miss Haversham for the first time. Dickens makes the room sound extremely fascinating to the reader and you can tell that Pip is intimidated by the sights that he sees, and has clearly never seen anything like it in his whole life. In this paragraph there is an air of pessimism. ...read more.

Middle

Miss Haversham demands Pip to play, although Pip can't think of anything he'd rather do less. Pip is very scared of Miss Haversham. Dickens uses dialogue to show the status of these two characters, and Miss Haversham dominates the exchange as she has the largest ratio of dialogue. Miss Haversham uses her authoritative voice to try to control Pip "Play, play, play!" she demands of him. The way that Pip tells the reader that he was "avoiding her eyes" shows us that he is truly trying to avoid the position that he has been put in. Pip tells Miss Haversham "No" he is not scared and clearly he is very frightened Dickens has used irony there to convey Pip's true feelings. Pip also notes that her watch and the clock have both stopped at the same time, by using this repetition Dickens has showed us that Miss Haversham is living at the same time and has quite obviously been living like that for a long period. Moving on in the passage Miss Haversham asks Pip to "Call Estella. At the door". Pip says that when Estella eventually comes, he saw that "her light came along the dark passage like a star". Dickens uses similes to illustrate Estella "like a star" which is also a symbolic gesture as starlight is distant and cold and Estella herself can be described as the same, her name in fact means star. ...read more.

Conclusion

She tells Pip to come back in 6 days and insists that she has no concept of time by saying "I know nothing of days of the week; I know nothing of weeks of the year". There is a certain proud ness in the way Miss Haversham talks, she is a willing victim and she seems to be extremely fulfilled by that role. In the final part of this passage Estella takes Pip back along the passage they had come up to Miss Haversham's room and Estella gets some food for Pip. Pip comments on the lack of natural light again in Miss Haversham's room and is now feeling quite disorientated "The rush of the daylight quite confounded me, and made me feel as if I had been in the candlelight of the strange room many hours". Pip takes the opportunity of being left alone to examine himself, his "course hands and common boots" and seems to be embarrassed by his class and appearance and is wishing that Joe had been more genteelly brought up so that he would have been too. When Estella returns she treats Pip disrespectfully and Pip is left feeling humiliated by this treatment. Dickens employs listing here to enforce Pip's feelings "I was so humiliated, hurt, spurned, offended, angry, sorry" a very vivid simile is used here "As if I were a dog in disgrace" this is a very effective way to describe how Pip must have been feeling. ...read more.

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