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How does Dickens engage the reader's sympathies for Pip during the first eight chapters of "Great Expectations"? Is the reader's response expected to change as a result of subsequent events?

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Introduction

How does Dickens engage the reader's sympathies for Pip during the first eight chapters of "Great Expectations"? Is the reader's response expected to change as a result of subsequent events? Charles Dickens wrote the book great expectations upon which this essay is set. He was born in 1812 and twelve years later was sent to work in a blocking factory to provide for his poor family in the absence of his father who was arrested for debt. This poor beginning is reflected in his work, as most of his characters are like him - poor in their childhood and then go on to bigger and better things later in life. As soon as the scene is set the reader begins to feel sympathy for Pip as Dickens shows him visiting the graves of his parents. This feeling of being sorry for Pip is intensified as we are told that he is also visiting the graves of his five brothers who died as infants this information also increases the sympathy we feel for Pip even further. ...read more.

Middle

Magwitch seems to be in control of the situation the whole time this is shown when he starts running away and Pip doesn't even think of doing the same this again shows his defencelessness and when Magwitch returns the short distance to Pip's side the predicament only gets worse and Magwitch demands that Pip bring him some food and a file he knows Pip can lay hands on these because Pip told him that he lives with the local blacksmith. Magwitch frightens Pip using the image of a "young man" who has a way "of getting at a boy and at his heart and at his liver" which, he tells Pip, are to be "tore out, roasted and ate" if he tells anyone what happened in the churchyard. The fact that Magwitch is still in control and has Pip at his mercy makes us feel more sorry for Pip. As Pip runs home he sees a beacon and a gibbet, which both serve as warnings and symbolise Dickens warning Pip of what is in store for him it can mean only one thing - troubled times and more sympathy for Pip. ...read more.

Conclusion

Joe and when Pip wonders what you do to earn you a place on the hulks she tells him it is murder and theft and anyone on those hulks started their life of crime by asking questions. This information frightens Pip a great deal because, of course, he has been asking questions all night and has promised Magwitch he will steal some food and a file. This makes the reader fell sorry for Pip, as Dickens intended, even more. In chapter eight when Pip meets the attractive Estella he is made to feel very foolish and inferior to her and has to hear about how he is a common labouring boy with course hands and thick boots, he starts to blame his sister and Joe for his rough upbringing and at this point he starts acting in a peculiar way, he starts to distance himself from Joe and as he grows older, at which point the readers sympathy wanes slightly. ?? ?? ?? ?? Daniel Lovegrove 11CW English Coursework Page 1 of 2 03/05/07 ...read more.

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