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great expectations

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Introduction

How does Dickens guide us to feeling sympathy for Pip? After reading the classic novel, 'Great Expectations', I will be studying two different extracts to try to identify different devices used by Dickens that guides us toward feeling sympathetic for Pip. These particular extracts will be chapters one and eight, because I feel that these show the greatest examples of how Dickens manipulates the readers of this novel to make us feel sorry for the protagonist, Pip. I will also be studying how Dickens' life was similar to some aspects of 'Great Expectations' and how the times and trends influenced this epic novel. 'Great Expectations' was first published in 1861, and is considered to be one of Dickens' greatest works. It has many similarities to Charles Dickens' life, and is considered to be one of his most autobiographical novels he wrote. Born in 1812 in Portsmouth to Elizabeth and John Dickens, Dickens had an unhappy childhood, with his father often in heavy debt. After nine years living in Kent, Dickens and his family moved to London. In 1924, Dickens' father was sent to Marshalsea prison after compiling massive debts. Dickens' mother arranged for Dickens' seven brothers and sisters to go to prison with their father, but as Dickens was older, at twelve years of age, she arranged for Dickens to work at a blacking warehouse and to live alone. Charles Dickens despised this; he thought he was better than that, so he was ashamed. When his father got released from prison, Dickens returned to school and worked extremely hard to be successful. Dickens released his first novel at the age of twenty-five, and became an instant success and went on to produce some of the most celebrated literary works of all time including 'David Copperfield', 'Nicholas Nickleby', 'Oliver Twist' and 'A Christmas Carol'. Episodes of Dickens' early life are echoed in 'Great Expectations'. ...read more.

Middle

In this extract, Dickens used many devices to make us fell sorry for Pip. Some of these are that he is a pleasant, polite orphan; he is in such a bleak and desolate setting, and finally Magwitch. Magwitch used physical strength and verbal threats to frighten Pip and to make us feel sorry for him. In this next extract, chapter eight, Pip has been brought to Statis House, owned by the reclusive but rich Miss Havisham, to "play" by his Uncle Pumblechook. Immediately, Dickens creates imagery of the Havisham household with the use of descriptive language. It was made "of old brick and dismal, and had many iron bars to it". This initial description makes Statis house seem cold and unwelcoming. The "iron bars" and "walled up windows" are reminiscent of a prison. This must have been scary for Pip, and is unsuitable for one so young. This is similar to the churchyard in chapter one. Both places are bleak and dismal and aren't appropriate places for such a young and innocent boy such as Pip to be. Both settings are rather scary and the reader feels sympathetic that Pip is unfortunate enough to be in two bad places in such a short space of time. When Pip says "the cold wind seemed to blow colder there, than outside the gate", it gives Statis House a strange and eerie feeling. It further emphasised that Statis house is unwelcoming and not very nice. This is an example of pathetic fallacy, where the weather reflects the mood and in this case, reflects how Pip is feeling. Dickens has also used this technique in chapter one, where he used personification to make the wind appear to be out to get Pip. This is a very effective device used by Dickens because, as well as simply describing weather, it gives further insight into the mood of the novel at that point and how Pip is feeling. ...read more.

Conclusion

In chapter one, Magwitch calls Pip "a young dog". Although this is a verbal insult, it is not as bad, because Pip didn't feel like he was a dog. However, in this chapter, he had been so mistreated that he felt like a common animal. Pip felt "humiliated, hurt, spurned, offended, angry, sorry". This list of bad emotions shows that Pip was overwhelmed and feeling so many mixed sensations. This is emotive language, designed to make the reader feel sorry for Pip. He felt so bad that "tears started to my [Pip's] eyes". This is exactly what Estella wanted, so she gave a look of "quick delight". She is happy that her cruelty made Pip cry. Pip doesn't want to give her this pleasure and didn't want them to know that they had made him cry. This gave Pip the "power to keep them [tears] back". Pip was so embarrassed, "wounded" and ashamed that he looks "for a place to hide my [Pip's] face in". Pip "kicked that wall, and took a twist at my [Pip's] hair". This physical pain was to try and get rid of the mental and emotional pain he was feeling. In this novel, "Great Expectations", Dickens has guided us towards feeling sympathy for Pip in many ways. The novel protagonist, Pip, is an orphan, who has excellent manners and is very pleasant. This makes the reader like him, so we will feel even more sympathetic if anything happen to young Pip. Whilst in the graveyard, he had an encounter with Magwitch, who used physical power and verbal threats to terrify Pip and make us feel sympathetic towards him. Pip is also invited to Statis House, where he is verbally and mentally abused by Estella and Miss Havisham. When he leaves in tears, he is not the same person who arrived. We felt awful that such nasty people had changed sweet young Pip. Dickens used many devices such as anaphoras, similes, metaphors and emotive language to guide the reader of this epic novel to feel sympathy towards Pip. Katharine Whitehurst Mr Lane - 1 - ...read more.

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