How does Dickens make the reader feel sympathy for Pip in extracts from 'Great Expectations'?
The extracts I will be analysing are from the novel Great Expectations written by Charles Dickens. I am going to be describing how Dickens has succeeded in making the reader feel sorry for Pip. Dickens used his own experiences as a boy to help him write sympathetically of being a young child, his family had no money and got transferred from city to city until he was ten years old, his father was also sent to prison for six months over debt. He based the character Pip in remembrance of himself as a child, writing about his own thoughts and feelings to help himself create more sympathy for Pip.
Pips given name was Philip Pirrip, as he was so young he couldnt pronounce his complicated name correctly, so he shortened it and named himself Pip. Pip was very imaginative as a young boy, he lived nearby to a graveyard and there wasnt many other people about, so Pip was alone and lonely a lot because he couldnt make friends with anyone.
During the first extract we get to see that Pip is an orphan after he says: As I never saw my father or my mother.. (for their days were long before the days of photographs), we recognise that he unfortunately lost both his mother and father along with five brothers he once had, who passed away whilst they were still infants. The only family Pip had, was his older sister Mrs Joe Gargery and her husband who was a Blacksmith. He had lived with them both for most of his life, his sister treats him dreadfully as all she sees Pip as is a waste of space in her household. Whilst her husband - Joe Gargery, treats Pip like he was his own flesh and blood. We now get the chance to begin to see the hard and upsetting life Pip leads and what he has gone through in the past. We start to feel sympathy for Pip, as not many children would have to go through the same experience as he once did.
Where he lived was neither such a nice place to be around, nor one of the friendliest places to live either. Pip describes the village he lived in as a marsh country down by the river, also remarking how the churchyard nearby to his home is full of over grown nettles and also bleak. The small bundle of shivers growing afraid of it all, and beginning to cry was Pip, from what we are told of the surroundings and atmosphere where he lives, it all seems like a gloomy, upsetting place to be around. Also, it sounds as if it were to be constantly dim and discoloured, somewhere were no soul would choose to be, whilst the marsh country is similarly being described with the colours black and red included symbolising things such as death. Dickens used a technique called imagery making us think about how unfortunate Pip is to have to live there, and that it would make you feel depressed and slightly unwanted as you would have no friends, if you were to live there too.
Pip sneaks out of his house in the early hours of the morning to visit his mother and fathers grave when he comes across Magwitch who approaches him fiercely. We begin to get the impression of how scared Pip may have been, as he starts to gently cry after he pleaded to Magwitch:Oh! Dont cut my throat sir.
Whilst Magwitch was threatening to do so, dressed in:All coarse grey, with a great iron on his leg. A man with no hat and with broken shoes, and with an old rag tied around his headAfter Pip had seen this man who turns out to be and escaped prisoner he knows nothing of, dressing in such clothes, I am sure just the view of him would have scared him, even before Magwitch chose to threaten him once again, asking him to; fetch him some wittle and a file. Wittle was a word used as colloquial which the people of those days would have said, which simply meant; food. Magwitch wanted a file to help him file off the chains left around his ankle. If Pip didnt fetch Magwitch what he had requested, he furiously and vigorously told Pip:If you fail or go by my words in any partickler, no matter how small it is, your heart and live shall be tore out, roasted and ate. Magwitch tried to kid Pip into believing that if he didnt do as he pleaded, a different man he had not seen, would come and find him and no matter were he hid, he would be able to get to him. Although this man he speaks of did not exist, Pip was only young so he didnt know any better than to believe the words that came form Magwitchs mouth. Yet, the thoughts Pip must have had running through his head at this moment in time must have been horrific, seeing as Pip was so much more than just imaginative and always thought of the worse scenario possible, making things even harder for himself of what would have happened if he didnt do as he were told. At this moment in time we begin to feel enormously sorry for Pip, after we get to see what Magwitch put him through just to get his own way. As Magwitch would have known, the younger he was the easier he was to fool over this imaginary man he had told him of. As a result he was proved right, when Pip then brought himself back to the churchyard the following morning with the goods Magwitch insisted he brought.
After this extract the reader is affected with thoughts of what Pip went through after meeting the prisoner and after being viscously threatened by him. Dickens wrote this effectively for the reader to feel sympathy for Pip affectionately, also to create an image of what was going on in more detail, than if Dickens didnt put so much effort into making it much more intense.
Dickens uses descriptive language to add life to the characters and tell us more about them. For example Magwitchs character uses a lot of dialect such as: Who dyou live with - supposing youre kindly let to live, which I hant made up my mind about? this suggests that Magwitch is a scruffy, common character. Dickens has wrote Magwitchs character to be phonetic, this also gives a comic edge to the convicts character. Whilst Miss Havisham doesnt have a personal dialect although her speech is very prosperous and well spoken: You are not afraid of a woman who has not seen the light since you were born?. This also brings the point across of how she hasnt left the chair she is sitting in since her wedding day, which never went forward.
In the second extract Pip is asked to visit Miss Havisham, after she remarked how she would like Estella to play with Pip. Pip was worried at what she would think of him as he had never met this woman before. When we see Pips facial expressions after his first glimpse of Miss Havisham, we start to feel sympathy for him as she was dressed in a wedding dress still from the day she was supposed to get married. Pips description of her at this moment is: She was dressed in rich materials -- satins, and lace, and silks -- all of white. Her shoes were white. And she has a long white veil dependent from her hair Decayed objects.
She was sat in a dim room, which she hadnt moved from since her wedding day. You could see from Pips body language and facial expressions that he was horrified at the sight of her: I regret to state that I was not afraid. Miss Havisham asked if he were somehow frightened of her and he blatantly told the lie that he wasnt, although he regretted it sometime afterwards he was very afraid to admit that he was nervous and scared of her at the time.
Estella was Miss Havishams adopted daughter, who was asked to play with Pip and break his heart. After Estella says to Pip: What coarse hands he has!. Pip then changes his mind and wants to become a gentleman instead of a Blacksmith, as she keeps on insulting Pip and denounced him for a labouring boy, we start to feel sorry for him. Whilst Pip thought Estella was a very pretty and proud young lady, she was just in need of breaking his heart as she had been asked to do so. Miss Havisham had power over Pip because she was rich, so he did his best to do as he was told, in dread of what she could have done if he disobeyed her.
Towards the end of the second extract, Pip begins to wish he had lead a different life and blames Joe Gargery for his upbringing: I wished Joe had been rather more genteelly brought up, and then I should have been so too. This is a turning point for Pip whilst he also blames Joe for teaching him to call the picture-cards jacks, instead of knaves in a pack of cards, because Estella had laughed at him for calling them jacks. Again we begin to feel sympathy for Pip for the way Estella treats him, because he is a: Common labouring-boy! as she describes him. We especially feel sorry for him when Miss Havisham tells Pip he may not say anything of Estella. She also repeats her words: She says many hard things of you, but you say nothing of her. This shows the reader how harsh Miss Havisham is towards Pip, further on in the extract we see that Miss Havisham treats Pip even more harsh, just to hurt his feelings and make him wish he was a different boy.
Overall I think Dickens was successful, as my response being the reader I thought that it was very touching and I easily felt sympathy for Pip throughout both of the extracts. I personally think that it is important to be able to feel sympathy for Pip in the first extract, as it then helps us feel sympathy whilst he visits Miss Havisham later on in the novel in the second extract. After we see that Pip doesnt have much of a family and that he is horrified of doing anything wrong, just because of the circumstances which would have occurred by his sister or even Magwitch it makes us feel more sympathy towards the end while Miss Havisham and Estella try and mess up his mind and upset him.