How Does Dickens Create Sympathy for Pip at the Beginning of the Novel?

956 Words Jul 8th, 2018 4 Pages
‘Great Expectations’ is a highly acclaimed novel written by Charles Dickens first published in 1861, which follows the journey of a young boy commonly known as Pip (his Christian name being Phillip Pirrip) who is born into a middle-class family but goes on to receive riches from a mysterious benefactor in order to pursue his childhood dream in becoming a gentleman. The story is written in first person with Charles Dickens writing back about the experiences of Pip. Although it isn’t his autobiography the events in the book do, in many ways, mirror the events of his childhood. This allows him to reflect on Pip’s actions, which helps in the readers understanding of the Novel.

The story begins in the eerie Kent marshes and is set in early
…show more content…
He is described as “a fearful man in coarse grey, with a great iron on his leg” and “smothered in mud, and lamed by stones.” These descriptions immediately adds to the tension and the manner in which he approaches Pip “glared and growled” and “seized,” shows the violence in his merciless actions and his intimidating behaviour. He threatens Pip by saying “I’ll cut your throat,” to which Pip responds by having “pleaded in terror,” emphasising his helplessness and causing the reader to sympathise with his situation. The tone in which Magwitch speaks with him in, is intimidating and authoritative for example “Tell us your name!” which sounds more like a command than a question. Despite his insolent attitude towards him, Pip replies in a polite and respectful tone of voice - “If you would kindly please...” this creates a sense of urgency and shows that he is powerless and vulnerable. Magwitch continues to use daunting imagery to threaten Pip by saying “Your liver shall be tore out, roasted and ate.” He also forces Pip to swear an oath, which he feels obliged to do as he is powerless to act otherwise. This scene as a whole causes the reader to feel resentment towards Magwitch and pity for Pip’s situation, further adding to the sympathy.

The next chapter of this book begins by introducing his sister Ms Joe (whom he lives with) and her husband, Joe Gargery, who is a poor
Open Document