This extract is again, informing about the characters. Pip is similarly portrayed as obedient and impressionable, however the reader learns that Pip is impressed by money and wealth and aspires to be rich, “pretty large room; prominent draped table; fine lady’s dressing table”. Pip, although he is observant, especially in this extract, he doesn’t wish to offend and he conceals his initial reaction to, “shout out”. His reaction and astonishment to the expensive things suggests to the reader that Pip is a lot poorer than Miss Havisham and he is most likely classed as lower class.
Dickens describes Miss Havisham in great detail. She is heartbroken, this is apparent when she tells Pip hat her heart is broken. The neglect in the room reflects Miss Havisham’s emotions, the state of the room symbolises what once was and shows when Miss Havisham gave up and, “her life stopped”. The curtains drawn, reflects her separation from the world and her lack of will to live. Dickens illustrates the contrast between Pip and Miss Havisham very carefully. He describes Miss Havisham’s appearance in great detail, and is particularly detailed when writing about how Pip would react and view this character.
This makes the reader feel sorry for Pip, because although Miss Havisham and her belongings are in a sorry scene of neglect and decay, he still aspires to be like her, and this makes the reader think about how poor he must be. The language used contributes to the idea of neglect and decay, “withered; lost it’s lustre; ghastly waxwork; pale decayed objects”. A very vivid impression is given, to the reader, about the convict and the landscape. Firstly, the reader knows nothing about the convict yet, it is immediately assumed that he is an unpleasant person and a wrongdoer.
The landscape is dull, unwelcoming and doesn’t put anyone at ease, “I wish I was a frog. Or an eel! ” The reader feels sorry for Pip because he is frightened of the convict, but although Pip is scared, he just sees the convict as a frightening man and accepts him as he is. The impression given, to the reader, of Miss Havisham, is different to that of the convict, yet it is similarly peculiar. This time Miss Havisham has been mentioned earlier in the book, so the reader knows more about her.
However the reader does not know why she is broken-hearted and seems to have given up living, but the description and detail of Dickens’ writing gives many clues. She is half-dressed in what appears to be an old but luxurious bridal gown; she has bridal flowers in her hair; the room is rather neglected and all of the clocks appear to have stopped at exactly the same time. The reader can piece the clues together to make a connection that she was getting ready for her wedding, when she was jilted at twenty minutes to nine. There are many similarities to Pip’s reaction to both characters. He’s polite to both and he wants to help them.
He is also frightened of the two characters and he sees them both through the eyes of and very impressionable child. Despite the vast mix of emotions he must have felt, he keeps them to himself, throughout both encounters. There are also many differences in Pip’s reaction to the characters. He is unaware and startled when he first meets the convict, although in Miss Havisham’s case he has time to think about it and prepare himself. When Pip encounters Miss Havisham, someone else is with him. Whereas when he comes across the convict, there is only the threat of someone worse being there, otherwise he is alone.
The obvious difference, though, is wealth. Miss Havisham is obviously very rich however Pip, and the reader, both assume that the convict is very poor and Pip takes pity on him. When Pip is offered “great expectations” he assumes that Miss Havisham is his benefactor, because he has always wanted to be like her, and he knows she is wealthy. He is happy to accept money off somebody he knows to be rich and he believes that Miss Havisham has given him the money so that he can be equal to Estella because he has fallen in love with her.
When Pip discovers that it is actually the convict that is his benefactor, he is unhappy because he hadn’t given the convict much thought. He had assumed that he must be bad and poor, however Pip begins to understand and he helps the convict. He is angry at Miss Havisham for allowing him to believe that she was his benefactor. Overall, Dickens is trying to highlight the incorrect assumptions people make about wealth, and how in his time people thought poor people were bad and rich people good, which has never been the case.
The moral of this story is that we should look at the whole person and not make assumptions because of the situations people are in. Basically; you can’t judge a book by it’s cover! I personally enjoyed the book and I particularly like the description Dickens uses and was intrigued at how the language used, can influence the reader to feel in a particular way. I did however sometimes find that the long sentences made it less readable, and sometimes the language was difficult to follow. But, it has to be understood that this was written about one hundred and fifty years ago!
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