Many stories have been written about a characters rise from having nothing to becoming rich or famous. The novel ‘Great Expectations’, written by Charles Dickens is no exception to this as ‘Pip’, a common labouring boy recognises his ambitions to become a rich gentleman as to marry his love Estella. In Victorian times, when the story is set, how much money you had portrayed who you were and what part in the social hierarchy you had. Social hierarchy is one of the themes of the story along with the themes of ambition and cruelty.
These themes are introduced into the story along with the introduction of main characters, whose language, appearance, actions and behaviour within the text create first impressions which may or may not be true to who they really are. Pip is the first Character to be introduced into ‘Great Expectations. ‘ The story is in first person from Pips’ view, therefore he is obviously the main character. Many things create a first impression of Pip, one of which is how he is introduced by himself, the narrator, into the story.
Straight away, we know that he is a young child because it says “My infant tongue could makes of both my names nothing longer or more explicit than Pip. ” I think that straight away being introduced as a young child with an undeveloped vocabulary is meant to make the readers develop a liking and more of an emotional connection towards Pip. We then find out more about Pips life and that his parents and...
five older brothers have died. This seems very cruel to happen to a young child and therefore creates a deep feeling of sympathy towards him. Another way that he is introduced into the story is through descriptions in the text.
We find out that he is alone in a graveyard where his family was buried and is visiting his parent’s gravestone. He is described as a “Small bundle of shivers. ” The metaphor shows how scared Pip is to be alone in the graveyard. It then says that Pip was “Growing afraid of it all and beginning to cry. ” More sympathy is then created towards Pip as he is becoming so overwhelmed by the situation that he is going to cry. A third way that is used to introduce Pip into the story is through his behaviour, for example, his actions and language. Before Pip has a chance to do anything he is confronted and threatened by Magawitch.
Despite the fact that he must be petrified by Magawitch, he still manages to be polite towards him. He constantly refers to him as “Sir” which is very polite. He also seems quite calm and well spoken despite the immense pressure put on him by Magawitch to answer many personal questions. For example, when asked who he lives with, he answers “My sister sir – Mrs Joe Gargery – wife of Joe Gargery, the blacksmith. ” He once again refers to him as “Sir” and this gives the impression that Pip is a very polite person, thus creating more of a liking towards him by the readers.
setting that Pip is introduced into tells us a lot about him. The fact that he is introduced into a graveyard suggests that someone he knows or was close to has died. This by itself creates some sympathy for Pip and his losses. As the extract progresses we find out that his whole family has died. This creates yet more sympathy because it is more than just losing a single member of his family and feeling sad, it is more like something that would make you feel terribly depressed and even suicidal. More sympathy is created towards Pip by the descriptions of the setting.
The weather is gusty and cold, the sea is described as a “Distant savage lair,” the graveyard is “Overgrown with nettles,” and the surrounding area is described as a “Dark flat wilderness. ” The many adjectives here create quite a depressing description of the area where no child should be alone. Because Pip is alone in such a dreary, frightening place, he is further sympathised with by the readers. Magawitch is the second character to be introduced into the novel. His first action in the story is shouting at Pip.
This gives an immediate impression of Magawitch as being a threatening and frightening human being. There is then a long string of adjectives, describing Magawitch as being a “Fearful man all in coarse grey, with a great iron on his leg. ” The “Great iron on his leg,” tells us that he is or at least used to be a criminal that has either escaped from or just been let out of jail. Either way, this makes the audience fear for Pips well being as Magawitch could be a dangerous man. Then he is described as having “Broken shoes, soaked in water, smothered in mud, cut by flints, who limped and shivered.
The long string of adjectives give a similar impression but strengthen the idea that he is on the run as he is so battered and bruised and has broken shoes. Later in the extract he is described as “Limping on towards the latter as if he were a pirate come to life. ” This furthers the impression that he is a violent criminal figure as that is what a pirate generally is. Despite this first impression, Dickens may have hinted an air of sympathy towards Magawitch within some of the descriptions of him. This is when his many injuries are described as having been “Soaked,” and “Cut,” and “Stung,” which must be causing him pain.
Dickens father was also sent to prison when he was young for not paying debts. This perhaps changed Dickens views of criminals to think that not all of them were violent because his father did not commit a violent crime. One of the best ways to create a first impression of a person, especially like Magawitch, is through language. Magawitch’s Description gave a violent yet sympathetic impression of him. His language towards Pip creates no sympathy towards him whatsoever; more of a disliking.
His first words to Pip are “Hold your noise. The command shows how Magawitch tries to frighten and intimidate Pip by
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