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How Does Dickens Create Sympathy For Pip In The Opening Chapters Of Great Expectations

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How does Dickens create sympathy for Pip in the opening chapters of Great Expectations? Gauging from the first sentence that the name Phillip Pirrip gets shortened to Pip because Pip had an infant tongue so he could not pronounce his name properly, the reader can tell straight away that Pip is small and innocent as we also tend to think of a pip as something small that will soon grow. Following on from that in the same paragraph, Pip is all alone in the desolate graveyard of his parents in the bleak Kentish marshes, and by putting Pip in this position Dickens immediately builds sympathy for Pip. The way Pip is portrayed is reflected in Charles Dickens's view of children's social status in England in 1860. He believed that society was treating children unfairly and unjustly and that by writing Great Expectations, he could show his vast amount of readers his opinion and attempts to persuade them of his views in his writing. Children of this time period would often have to work long hours in workhouses if they couldn't afford education and Dickens himself was a living example of this as his own dad became broke and Dickens was taken out of school. However, Dickens would have a pessimistic view of Great Expectations sparking any major social change, as this was one of his later novels and his views of social class hadn't affected his readers previously. In addition the title 'Great Expectations' would be what Dickens would have had at first for his attempts to change how society was viewed, but unfortunately his attempts had a very futile impact. The three main themes that reside in Great Expectations revolve around Pip. ...read more.


The first words we hear from Mrs Joe are menacing and disquieting to Pip as she demands "Where have you been you young monkey?" When Pip replies he has been in the churchyard she yells back "If it waren't for me you'd have been in the churchyard long ago, and stayed there." From her rude and presumptuous manor the reader would obviously feel sorry for Pip as he has had to live with her unrelenting ways and attempts to make his life as difficult as possible. After this she goes on to say "Who brought you up by hand?" 'Bringing-up by hand' is a repeated subject in the early chapters and it means that he was bottle fed rather than from the breast. It can also be viewed as a pun as Pip has been brought up by his sister's liberal use of the 'tickler' as opposed to any warmth of affection on her part. Because of the lack of sentiment that she shows towards Pip the reader would feel he is lonely and would suffer without a mother figure's love. Mrs Joe is presented as repulsively unattractive as Pip says "She was not a good looking woman...I had a general impression that she must have made Joe Gargery marry her by hand." Pip also says "She had such a prevailing redness of skin," he sometimes wondered whether "she washed herself with a nutmeg-grater instead of soap." As Dickens has made her sound hideous the audience would feel sorry for Pip and wonder how he could put up with such a woman. Another reason that the reader would feel sympathy towards him would be for his ignorance in not knowing why they would be firing a warning gun from the hulks. ...read more.


Pip walks out and his thoughts are overflowing with the days harrowing events, and all he can think about is his frustration at being a common labouring boy, his course hands, his thick boots and the way he calls knaves jacks and the chapter finishes in a melancholic sullen way. Pip says he "was in a low lived, bad way" and that is the last way in which the reader would think of him in the chapter. Dickens highlighting his common labouring boy traits makes the reader wish Pip could become more of a gentleman and therefore the reader feels sympathy towards him because of his situation. In conclusion, in order to make the audience feel sympathetic towards Pip, Dickens uses a variety of techniques to manufacture our reactions into feeling sorry for him. The locations he uses are intimidating as he uses bleak misty marshes and a rotting decrepit house that seems alien to make Pip seem isolated and alone. Dickens also puts Pip in uncomforting situations where he knows he will be intimidated. Examples of this are the convict manifesting in the graveyard, Pumblechook demanding sums of him, and Estella humiliating and laughing at him at every given moment. Finally the characters themselves have the biggest impact of Pip as they tantalise, tease and torment him. Magwich threatens and insults him, Mrs Joe is raucous and unrelenting in her attempts in giving him a good talking to, Miss Havisham seems inhuman amongst Satis House and treats him in a disturbing way which shows she wants his heart broken, and Estella, a product of Miss Havisham's revengeful ways forces him to question his whole identity. Dickens succeeds in making us feel sympathy for Pip because he influences us in so many ways by all the events and ordeals he traverses. ?? ?? ?? ?? Sam Hayes 11ETT 1 ...read more.

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