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Compare and Contrast Pips Life on the Marshes to his Life in London.

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Alastair Drohan 20th October 2001 Great Expectations Essay Question: Compare and Contrast Pips Life on the Marshes to his Life in London. This essay is based around Pips life on the marshes, his move from the marshes to London and his life in London. The marshes is a contrast, which shows Pips morale decline in life. During his move and during the course of the novel Pip becomes a very nasty person and his personality dramatically changes. In this essay I will attempt to show this and relate to why it is happening. At the beginning of novel Pip lives on the marshes and is a very pleasant little boy. He seems content and even happy with his position on the marshes and enjoys himself playing there. However an incident occurs very early on in the book, which shakes Pip up. After telling the reader about his dead family and their tombstones "The shape on my fathers gave me an odd idea that he was a square, stout, dark man, with curly black hair." This shows gloominess and represent the environment in the marshes as Dickens gives off the impression that the marshes is a very "bleak place overgrown with nettles" this quote shows Pip as a man narrating on his life as a child which is how the whole book is written. The language used is very mature but a very good description and easily gives me an impression of the environment in the marshes. This is strengthened later on in the paragraph as Dickens says "dark flat wilderness" and "intersected with dykes and mounds and gates" This is a written well as Dickens gives us a description of the environment straight away, we haven't even finished the first page and already we have a very good idea of what the marshes looks like. This "dark" impression of the environment is representing Pip in himself a very gloomy child who isn't happy with his life as soon he gets home he will be facing his sister of whom he has a terrible relationship with. ...read more.


Biddy replies by saying that she doesn't know what she manages, and she says it with a smile suggesting to me that in fact she does know and it is the fact that Pip is stupid. Here we see Biddy playing with Pip and pretending not to know when really she does. However Pip, being dull witted doesn't pick up on this and continues to ask her. What follows is very amusing as it shows Pip looking down on Biddy and thinking he is better than her when really Biddy is in control of the situation. "How do you manage, Biddy, said I, to learn everything I learn, and always to keep up with me?" Pip is basically saying that as he is so much cleverer than Biddy why is it she is able to keep up with him this is not the case, the obvious answer that Pip doesn't want to see is that Biddy is cleverer than him, that is it, simple. That shows Pip becoming even more arrogant and bigheaded. Dickens is again playing up the side of Pip where he is the character that the reader is encouraged to dislike. Despite the fact that we don't know that much about Biddy and don't like her as much as Joe the method still works and Pips attitude towards People makes me dislike him even more by the chapter. Pips desire to be a gentle involves him moving away from the marshes, I have already established this and part of his moving away is rejection this has already been exampled with him rejecting home and Joe. Another part of his rejecting is the rejection of Biddy, however Biddy carries more weight than the others. His rejection of Biddy is symbolising him moving away from the marshes. This is not physical, instead it is a psychological move and each time he looks down on Biddy he is one step closer to moving away. ...read more.


This really did upset me and I thought this just showed what London had done to him. It wasn't that Pip was a horrible person, when on the marshes he was a very nice little boy, but the depression got to him. When he was on the marshes he had his sister beating him, which would have made anyone want to move. Pip was influenced a lot and had lots of emotion running through him, because he was not very clever he did not know what to make of this emotion and so just acted how he thought was best and didn't know better. Once he started to be arrogant he couldn't stop, it wasn't that he was being horrible on purpose but with all his emotion and mixed influence he just turned out wrong and then couldn't get right. This is Dickens trying to show what London can do to you. All through the start of the novel he encouraged the reader to feel sorry for Joe knowing that later on Pip could be really horrible to him and back up his points by getting the audience on his side. It is very rare for the reader to hate the narrator and it is also very hard to write a book where the narrator is the evil one. However Dickens has done this very well and when reading this book I couldn't believe how well it was written. I will conclude by saying that the life in London is so much different from the life on the marshes. It is so different that it is hard to believe that they are in the same country. I think that Pip does in fact prefer his life on the marshes as it is free of pollution, corruption and he can be himself. Dickens managed to get his hatred for London across very well and combined with Blake's poem of the same subject it just shows what an awful place London was to be back then. ...read more.

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