Dickens' Use of the Word Hand

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Dickens' Use of the Word Hand

[Dickens'] genius is descriptive; he can describe a thing so vividly—and so influentially—that no one can look at that thing in the same way again. John Irving
The King of the Novel

Descriptive Dickens' Use of the Word "Hand"

Charles Dickens' description in Great Expectations is a telling example of why people consider him one of the greatest and most successful novelists ever. Dickens uses his talent for descriptive writing throughout Great Expectations to develop his characters and themes. Many of these themes emerge from Dickens' personal experiences, specifically his emphasis on the importance of education and his ideas that wealth and position are
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The most common definition of the word "hand" in the American Heritage Dictionary is: the terminal part of the human arm below the wrist, consisting of the palm, four fingers, and an opposable thumb, used for grasping and holding. There are eighteen other literal meanings for the word "hand" as well as innumerable metaphorical meanings. In Great Expectations Dickens uses literal meanings, symbolism, and repetition of the word "hand" in order to develop his characters; in particular, the repetition of the word "hand" assists Dickens illustrate two of his major themes: the importance of education and the idea that wealth and position are corrupting.
Dickens uses hand imagery to develop several of his major and minor characters. The characters range from Drummle (Pip's adversary) all the way to the main character, Pip himself. Drummle is depicted as a man of shady character. During a conversation at the Jaggers' estate, Drummle hides his hands in his pockets. Drummle attempts to use physical violence to settle an argument rather than communicating like a true gentleman (G.E. 201). Though Drummle is a minor character, his actions play a major role in the lives of Estella and Pip.
Estella is the
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