How Does Dickens Make Us Feel Sorry For Pip? Essay

The two scenes in the novel “Great Expectations” explain how Pip is threatened and intimidated by both Magwitch and Miss Havisham, although in different ways. Magwitch is very physical and violent as he threatens Pip, whereas Miss Havisham is strange as she makes weird requests to Pip. This makes Pip feel intimidated, too, but more in a psychological way.

The settings of the two scenes are also very different. Pip meets Magwitch in a very bleak dull graveyard on the empty dark flat wilderness of the marshes. Pip was at the graveyard visiting his parents’ graves At that point Pip had already wanted to go home before Magwitch jumped out at him. The graveyard was a cold depressing place. Dickens describes the wind as coming from a “savage lair”. This metaphor makes us think of a wild animal, which could be dangerous. Pip is also described as a “bundle of shivers” which also shows how terrible the weather is and of what Pip is feeling inside, which is cold and miserable as he was visiting his parents’ graves.

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Whereas the scene where he meets Miss Havisham is creepier as it is in an old house with a woman who hasn’t seen the light of day since before he was born. Also she hasn’t changed what she is wearing for years and suddenly wants him to play in front of her. The jilted woman is rich, bossy and has strange requests and her house is very dark as there are no natural lights but pools of candlelight leaving spaces of darkness. All her clocks had been stopped at twenty to nine, as she was so upset when she received the letter at that time telling her she had been jilted.

When Pip meets Magwitch, we hear the story from Pip’s point of view and it is written as if it’s a real autobiography of an event that really happened so we become sympathetic to his viewpoint. You also notice that even though Pip is scared and frightened of Magwitch’s appearance, he feels sorry for Magwitch. “great iron on his leg” and “cut by flints…torn by briars” shows the state that Magwitch is in and that Pip is sympathetic to him. The convict is physically abusive to him and “Turned me upside down and emptied my pockets” for scraps of food. This shows that he couldn’t care less for the boy and, “he tilted me over a little more” which also shows that he wants to be in control, that he wants Pip to help him and escape as he threatens the boy. “Or I’ll have your heart and liver out” shows also that he is desperate to get away and have some food and to get a file to cut the shackles so he can escape. This would explain his threatening behaviour to Pip. He even talks about a non-existent character that will tear his heart out if Pip tells anyone. Pip is also rather vulnerable throughout most of his ordeal. The quote “his eyes looked most powerfully into mine, and mine looked most helplessly up into his” shows that Magwitch is exercising great power over the child. This must have been an extremely frightening experience for Pip.

In the Miss Havisham passage, the white on Miss Havisham’s dress “was faded and yellow” shows how she’s changed into a withered lady who is sick and intent on breaking someone’s heart by any means because of the symbolism of the pure white wedding dress showing innocence and purity and also how joyful and happy a wedding should be, whereas it is now all withered and faded as she is not pure anymore and is faded. The symbolism shows this as it is faded and yellow but was not before showing previous innocense. She was also very bitter and twisted in the way she acted to Pip, as she was so vengeful for revenge to anyone hence why she adopted Estella and invited Pip to her house.

She is also described as corpse like which scares Pip a little bit, as she is so pale and faded into a bony old lady. When Dickens expresses this in his imaginative way, it is also symbolic that there is no natural light in her house, and that all hope has been eliminated. Although Miss Havisham isn’t a violent person she is intent on breaking someone’s heart. “Well you can break his heart”, which she says to Estella. And she also brought up Estella to break someone’s heart and to hate men This shows that she is sick minded and wants revenge for what happened to her and she is willing to do it even to such an innocent child. Miss Havisham also treats him like he is of a lower class, “come nearer…come close” as she orders him around as if he’s inferior to her. “He is just a common labouring boy” which Estella says. These things are things that only Miss Havisham could have taught her.

Because Miss Havisham brought her up, Estella, has many of her traits that Miss Havisham taught her due to her spite for others. Estella has an opinion of Pip as a common labouring boy. Because Pip knows about this, he tries to convince her that he is nice and devotes his younger life to her. Since Pip met Estella, the way he felt about Joe, changed dramatically. Pip now feels rather ashamed of Joe being a Blacksmith. Joe really loves him and cares for him but Pip now regrets this in the ways that he shows to us. Because of this, Pip is not being true to his roots. Pip fell in love with Estella and wanted her to love him, so he spends most of his childhood being ashamed of hi background and family to try n make her like him. This shows how mentally changed Pip was from Estella.

All in all Dickens makes us feel sorry for Pip in two very different powerful ways but even though Magwitch is scary physically I would personally be more petrified of Miss Havisham who is mentally abusive as she is very authorative, in the way she orders others around to do things. And she has gone through so much and then wants to put a poor child through it too.

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