How Does Charles Dickens Explore Pip's State of Mind ? Essay

764 Words Oct 5th, 2010 4 Pages
How does Charles Dickens explore Pip's state of mind ?

William Priddy, 1ere ES1

'Great Expectations', by Charles Dickens, presents Pip's constant moral evolution. This particular extract reflects Pip's state of mind in his adolescence, following the year he spent visiting Miss Havisham. These encounters have presented to him an alternate lifestyle that he would not have been aware of otherwise. He begins to reflect on his own life and sees himself as inferior to Estella and her education. Consequently, a certain shame of what he wants to visualize as his 'old' life, such as his home, his common mannerisms, Joe, or even his apprenticeship as a blacksmith (something he was desperately looking forward to prior to meeting Estella)
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Charles Dickens also makes use of a variety of literary techniques in order to convey and explore Pip's state of mind, such as the use of language. Strong imagery is one of these. Indeed, throughout Dickens' use of similes ; “I had believed in the kitchen as a chaste though not magnificent apartment”, contrasted by his former shame ; “Now, it was all coarse and common, and I would not have had Miss Havisham and Estella see it on any account”. This contrast reveals the reason behind his shame : his social background is inconsistent with his desire to seduce Estella. Furthermore, Dickens employs a structural device in order to demonstrate another contrast : short and long sentences. Typical of the author's style, long sentences are used to show Pip's active thoughts, reflecting on his hopes, followed by short, crisp sentences that act as dream-crushers : “Well or ill-done, excusably or inexcusably, it was done.”, or “Within a single year, all this was changed.”. This conveys Pip's disturbed and contrasted state of mind, between dreams and reality, between shame and guilt.

The accumulation of negative vocabulary, especially in the first paragraph, such as ; “miserable”, “ashamed” and “punishment” presents the negative emotions he is feeling. Furthermore, striking imagery such as “black ingratitude” reinforces those feelings and shows he is not blind and ungrateful, but remorseful

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