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How does Charles Dickens make the reader feel sympathy for Pip in chapters one and eight of the novel "Great Expectations"?

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How does Charles Dickens make the reader feel sympathy for Pip in chapters one and eight of the novel "Great Expectations"? In the novel "Great Expectations," Charles Dickens makes the reader feel sympathy for Pip in several ways; the character of Pip, the setting and its effect on him and the treatment of and influence on him by others. Having an older Pip as narrator to the story means that the adult Pip can describe how he felt when he was younger, and make his description of himself more convincing. When Pip is first described to us, he is just a small boy visiting his parents' graves; this makes us feel sympathy for him, as he is an orphan, adopted by his older sister. His name also makes us think of him as small: an apple pip is very small, but can grow into a tree - this idea of something small growing into something large is the theme the plot follows. The way he imagines his parents also makes us feel sorry for him, as he did not even know what his parents looked like, and the fact that his brothers also died means that he must feel quite alone. ...read more.


A man who had been soaked in water, and smothered in mud, and lamed by stones, and cut by flints, and stung by nettles, and torn by briars; who limped, and shivered..." However, the sympathy aroused for this pitiful figure is dispelled, as he "glared and growled" and seized Pip by the chin. The convict treats Pip badly, by threatening to hurt him, commanding at him, turning him upside-down and robbing him of a piece of bread - Pip, still young and innocent, has to beg to try and stop the convict from hurting him. The language of the two characters makes you feel sympathy for Pip; the convict speaks in a rough tongue, while Pip remains polite despite being roughly treated. He seems to be of the opinion that he should still be polite to the convict, and so is clearly still a little inexperienced and very vulnerable, and has probably never seen a convict before. Pip appears gullible, as he believes every word that the convict says about how he will come and get Pip if he doesn't get the file and food. Pip feels uncomfortable during his visit to Miss Havisham's house, because he is disturbed by the strangeness of the setting. ...read more.


Miss Havisham also treats him badly; she taunts him by asking him what he thinks of Estella, and makes him play cards when he is reluctant to do so. She also acts distant, and talks cynically, which influences Pip in a negative way. She says "beggar him" to Estella, which would undercut what confidence Pip has, and is also ironic, as she wants Estella to "break his heart." We feel sympathy for him, because, as a child, he should not be exposed to the corrupting influence of Miss Havisham. The reader is made to feel sympathetic again at Pip's self-pity on his way out; he pulls at his hair, "cried" and "kicked the wall." You feel sorry for him, as he shouldn't feel this way about himself; he thinks he should be 'better', so that he can impress Estella. He describes himself as "wounded." In conclusion, I think Dickens is effective in the way he builds sympathy for Pip: Pip is mistreated by the convict, Miss Havisham and Estella, and this builds into a sense that Pip has been the victim in these early scenes. All of this is emphasised by the fact that Pip is just a young boy with no real idea about the world of either convicts the upper class. ...read more.

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