The story of this book is quite opened with a short yet informative paragraph, stating the main character’s name. Through out the story it is narrated in the first person.
“So, I called myself Pip, and came to be called Pip.”
Not only does the reader realise that it is written in the first person but it also has a young and naï¿½ve dialect to it. Charles Dickens decided to begin the story in such a simple and unworldly way, to emphasise the narrator’s childishness and to point out that “Pip” is only a young infant at this certain stage of the story. However, one could also say that the reason for a simple introduction is to draw the reader is and make the reader eager to know about the so called boy named “Pip”
The addition the story is also opened in a very conversational and forward manor.
“My father’s family name being Pirrip and my Christian name Philip”
This is due to the fact that the narrator wants the reader to feel comfortable and it also shows the friendly nature of Pip.
The reader then goes on to learn that Pip is an orphan since he clarifies that both his father and mother have passed away.
“My father’s family name on the authority of his tombstone.”
Already the reader is sympathetic towards Pip in only just the second paragraph due to the fact that Pip is so young and helpless. This, the reader is quickly drawn to this boy who we know little about.
In addition, the description of “death” creates airiness. This is a very dramatic start to the book, to engage the reader, since knowing his parents are dead the reader wants to know more about his life.
Finally the scene is set during the second paragraph; it is set in a grave yard. In the grave yard Pip is stood there looking at his parents grave stones.
This image creates furthermore sympathy towards the naive and clueless young boy.
“As I never saw my father or my mother, and never saw any likeness of either of them” shows how he has missed out on having parental guidance in life.
However, in the course of the second paragraph we gather that the story is set in the late Victorian era.
“(For their days were long before the days of photography)” explains how simple technology was new to this period of time. This statement then leads the reader to believe that Pip was amongst the poorer and more unfortunate people who actually had the privilege to live in that era, also described as a “universal struggle” in the story.
Further on in the chapter, in paragraph three, Pip goes on to describe the area he lived in.
“That this bleak place overgrown with nettles was the church yard”
This vivid description of nature shows the harsh conditions and it creates a dark and insecure feel to the place.
“Dark flat wilderness beyond the church yard, intersected with dykes and mounds and gates” almost resembles the way of life in those days. The word “dyke” (meaning a wall to prevent water or flood) also shows how life then prevented poor people from succeeding or made it extremely hard for them to win. This airy and gloomy atmosphere that is built not only makes the reader uneasy but it also causes us to worry about Pip, since we realise that he is alone in an unsafe place.
Moreover, although Pip describes the landscape and its position, everything is obscured by other matters.
“Bleak place overgrown with nettles” show how the area is unknown by Pip. This then leads the reader to think that there is danger leaking round and that it is not safe, with not protection in a place he shouldn’t be in.
whilst describing the area, the word “and” in front of a semi-colon, shows the he seems to be very panicky, almost reassuring himself that there is nothing to be scared of, since he, apparently, knows the place. Also the use of “and” in front of the semi-colon shows the childish behaviour of Pip; he is worried and clueless.
Towards the end of the third paragraph, Pip puts him self along with the list of the melancholy scenery. Pip does this to show how little he thinks of himself and that he belongs with the “bleak place.”
In addition, further more sympathy is created towards Pip.
“And that the small bundle of shivers growing afraid of it all and beginning to cry, was Pip” shows how helpless and alone he is – the reader grows to love him.
Moving on to the fourth paragraph, Pip is interrupted y a “terrible voice.”
“Hold your noise!” this short speech that starts the paragraph, is a shock and unexpected. Also this new character is not very welcoming, instead this person is very threatening.
“keep still, you little devil, or I’ll cut your throat!” shows how frightening this unknown person is, in contrast with Pip.
As the man is being described to have “broken shoes and with an old rag tied round his head” the reader gets slightly sympathetic towards the, what seems to be, a poor homeless man. Also Pip notes that the man was not wearing a hat, which points out furthermore, how unwealthy the man is.
When Pip describes the man, he uses alliteration very affectively; “glared and growled” emphasising how frightening Pip sees this man.
As the man carries on talking to Pip, he speaks in a very imperative manor.
“Tell us you name!” Although the man seems to be poorer than Pip, he tires to gain control and superiority. Whilst Pip replies in a very polite tone, showing the reader how scared he is of this randomer.
Moreover, as the man speaks, it is obvious that he has not been educated very well.
“Pint out the place!”
The word “pint” instead of “point” shows the lack of knowledge the man has. This shows that not everybody had the chance to be educated, also emphasising the man’s poorness.
Later on in the chapter, in paragraph five, the man’s, whose name is Magwitch, fatherly attitude towards the infant, Pip, starts to appear.
“The man, after looking at me for a moment, turned me upside down” explains how desperate he is; since Magwitch was looking for food to eat, because he was extremely hungry. Finally when he found a piece of bread, that fell out of Pips pocket, he ate the bread “ravenously” – almost like an animal.
However, looking at the first quotation, Magwitch appears to have turned Pip upside down in a surprising manor. One could argue that Magwitch was not intending to be fatherly in anyway; he was simply looking for one thing – food. On the other hand, others could explain that the way he turned pip upside down, was as if a father would do to his son, playfully. Also, the reason being, as to why Charles Dickens adds a fatherly aspect to Magwitch, was to emphasise that Magwitch will later on look after Pip and help him in life; like a fatherly figure.
During the chapter, Magwitch demands Pip to steal food for him.
“You get me whittles.”
Although Magwitch appears to be in complete power over Pip, he still asks for more things of him. Thus, meaning that he is helpless without pip, and almost uses him how his own needs. What’s more, the naive boy, Pip, does not realise this. Instead he does what he has been told since he is terrified of Magwitch.
When Magwitch demands Pip to steal for him, Dickens emphasises on Magwitch’s eagerness, by repeating the phrase.
“He tilted me again”
Throughout the chapter Dickens uses a wide range of language structures; repetition being the most obvious. The affect of repetition is mainly to emphasise the feeling or determination of characters. The phrase “he tilted me again” is repeated up to four times. Not only does it show Magwitch’s eagerness but it almost brings out the readers sympathy towards Pip, since he is in a distressing position.
Also another use of repetition is used to scare Pip and to also threaten him.
The repetition of “a boy” this is used in Magwitch’s speech related to Pip, as he threatens Pip with another person. This repetition is mainly scary to pip, since he is constantly reminded of himself and the consequences.
As Magwitch leaves Pip, Charles Dickens uses great imagery to describe the grave yard.
“He looked in my young eyes as if he were eluding the hands of the dead people, stretching up cautiously out of their graves, to get a twist upon his ankle and pull him in.” explains how the nettles and marshy area clung round his legs. However the sense of a extended metaphor appears to be used, since Magwitch is appeared to be looking like a dead person, and the grave is where he belongs. Also it says “he looked in my young eyes” pointing out the elderly age of Magwitch.
When Magwitch leaves, the reader also gets the full idea of how vulnerable he really is. The use of words such as; ‘shuddering’, ‘clasping’, ‘limped’, and ‘picking’ all describe and point out Magwitch’s weakness. This, in a way, makes the reader sympathise with Magwitch, since he is not in good health, and that he has not had an easy life.
In chapter eight, Pip is sent to a woman’s house names Mrs Havershim, to entertain her.
“The great front entrance had two chains” explains how grand and huge the house is. Pip is not used to this scenery or grandness showing his poor life style. However, although the house seems to be majestic, is says that the “entrance had two chains” meaning that the mansion was not in anyway welcoming instead it was very unapproachable.
On the other hand, even though, in chapter one, the church yard was also unwelcoming, the house is more intimating rather than scary since it clearly segregates the poor from the rich. This is mostly intimidating for Pip since he is poor, and realises he does not fit in with the scenery.
As Pip is walked through the house by Estella, he describes the place as being “dark”, in a way that he is not used to the darkness.
Even though being in the dark is not new to Pip, since in chapter one he stayed in the gloomy grave yard; Pip is not used to man made darkness inside homes.
“The curtains drawn” explains how the darkness is caused purposely and the owner wants darkness to dwell over the house.
When Pip is being spoken to by Estella, whose beauty he quickly falls for, she speaks to him in a very scornfully way.
“Don’t be ridiculous, boy; I am not going in.”
This shows how he is looked down upon, even though they are both the same age. It also emphasise how important class was in that period of time. In addition the use of “boy” instead of Pip’s actually name shows how Estella refuses to call him by his name, almost taking his identity away from him, also taking any power he has away from him.
Estella has a very demanding attitude towards Pip, while Pip remains calm and act very polite to Estella.
“After you miss” shows Pip’s politeness and his shier kindness. However the two contrasting behaviours of Estella and Pip, reflects Pip’s vulnerability and weakness while it brings out Estella’s passion for power and her eagerness to outstand other people; thus causing the read to despise Estella, yet grow even more to love Pip.
As Pip walks into the room, the vision of death dawns upon him once again. He walks into the room to find Mrs Havishem sat in her chair in a very depressing stance.
To describe the place he uses words such as: “withered”, “skin”, “bone”, “skeleton”, and “ashes” which all relate to death.
However, Pip finds this imagery of death in the room disturbing, even though he has seen death lurking round the grave yard, since it is not natural or outside – this death was inside a persons home.