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Consider Pip's Depiction of London as He arrives in the City at the Start of Volume II of Great Expectations.

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Wednesday 20/3/02 Consider Pip's Depiction of London as He arrives in the City at the Start of Volume II of Great Expectations As one can see from reading this extract, Dickens endeavours to depict London in a negative light. His use of language portrays London as a dirty and foul place. Dickens uses the narrator, Pip, to speak in two voices: there is young and na�ve Pip i.e. when he first arrives in London; and mature Pip i.e. when he's narrating the story afterwards. The ironic tone and detailed alliteration enables the extract to be humorous and entertaining, whilst at the same time creating a serious effect. One of Pip's first impressions of London was that it was "ugly, crooked, narrow and dirty". He knew that London was the place to be for gentleman, for Victorian London was known to be the most spectacular city in the world, so he was shocked to see that London was dirty and shabby. He only believed that London was one of the most beautiful places because that is what he had been told; otherwise he would not be able to distinguish the difference between Little Britain and a dirty street. In 1800, London's population was estimated at a million people, but that soon would become 4.5 million, showing that London was getting overcrowded. ...read more.


Once again Dickens emphasizes Mike's clothing, "a velveteen suit and knee-breeches." Even though Mike is dressed smartly, one can tell that he does not normally wear suits because "he wiped his nose with his sleeve on being interrupted." After Mike is thrown out of Mr. Jaggers's office, we realise that Mr. Jaggers obviously does not like to get his hands dirty by dealing with his criminal or less important clients. Afterwards when Pip is walking down Bartholomew Close he overhears people's conversations praising Mr. Jaggers, so he knows that Mr. Jaggers is a good lawyer. We learn that Mr. Jaggers is money-driven, "Have you paid Wemmick?" is a question that is continuously asked to all of his clients. One can also tell that Mr. Jaggers is corrupt and unethical; he does not care about the law, as long as he has his money then he will do a good job. He has many bad qualities but he still earns respect from other people. This shows that London is not moral because the people living there are worried about money only. One of the main settings in this extract is Mr. Jaggers's office, which ironically represents death. Pip saw "an old rusty pistol, a sword in a scabbard and several strange-looking boxes and packages". ...read more.


Today's society is all about money. Money plays the most important role in city life. Religion has been pushed aside as is shown in the extract because money takes priority over everything. The legal system is corrupt and the basic message is that if you pay money; you will get a fair trial. Mike is too truthful, which shows that the legal system is corrupt. Mike has found someone to witness for a case, which shows how bribery and blackmail are all part of the legal system. "This guileless confectioner was not by any means sober," this sentence shows that the legal system enables anyone to be a witness in a trial and the case can still be won as long as there is a good lawyer present. The ironic tone employed by the voice of the "older" Pip brings humour into the story. When Pip talks about the coachman's box being "decorated" with an old hammercloth, there is young Pip speaking but you can hear the sarcasm if the mature Pip is saying it. Mike talks about the witness being dressed "like a 'spectable pieman. A sort of a pastry-cook." The humour lightens the tone of the story making it more enjoyable to read. Dickens has shown London in a negative light throughout the extract. He has portrayed this negative image by describing certain places in London, certain people, their behaviour and the legal system. Pip certainly found out that London was not up to his expectations. ...read more.

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