Charles Dickens Essay
Pip describes a setting and makes dialog which emphasize him feeling small, alone, and helpless in a large world. His feelings of isolation and smallness in this chapter are shown in the description of his self’s presence in a large scene: “At such a time I found out for certain that this bleak place overgrown with nettles was the churchyard… and that the small bundle of shivers growing afraid of it all and beginning to cry was Pip. “(10). This description contrasts with that of the life of Pip as a whole, shifting from a larger perspective to a smaller one instead of vice versa.
Also, the feeling of helplessness overtakes Pip as he pleads, “Oh! Don’t cut my throat sir,” and, “Pray don’t do it, sir. “(10). Although Pip’s speech makes him seem helpless, ironically, the convict seems much more mentally deprived. The first chapter portrays the relationship between innocence and corruption. Pip visiting the graveyard provides an example of this theme, as his innocence contrasts with the graveyard’s death or horror connotation.
Pip also encounters an escaped convict, with whom he differs with in deed, manner, and speaking pattern. For example, when forcing Pip to retrieve a file and wittles, the convict says, “Now lookee here… the question being whether you’re to be let to live. You know what a file is? ” and Pip later describes the convict leaving: “As I saw him go… he looked into my … eyes as if he were eluding the hands of the dead people, stretching up cautiously out of their graves to… pull him in. “(11, 13).
Despite the convict’s mistreatment of Pip, Pip sympathetically describes the convict leaving the churchyard. Errors in speech and child poverty create social commentary. For example, Dickens comments on the necessity of a country-wide education with the dialog of the convict, as the convict says, “Pint out the place! ” instead of using the word “point. ” (10). Furthermore, Pip makes deductions based on a small amount of evidence, as he concludes his mother was named “Also Georgiana” from the text on her tombstone.
The novel also depicts the effects child poverty, as Pip speaks about his younger brothers “who gave up trying to get a living exceedingly early in that universal struggle” in reference to the hardships the poor faced and the carelessness towards lives of children (9). Bread falling out of Pip’s pocket as the convict overturns him also alludes to poverty. The first chapter defines the novel type and describes the protagonist, Pip. A bildungsroman novel describes a character’s moral or psychological development or experiences early in life.
The childish narration of Pip and his name itself, meaning the seed of a fruit, conclude the novel to be of this type. Social commentary and Pip’s perspective characterize him as a naive narrator. For example, the convict flips him upside-down and Pip declares the object he looks at to flip over: “When the church came to itself – for he was so sudden and strong that he made it go head over heels before me… ” (10). In conclusion, Dickens accomplishes social and literary goals in this novel.
He introduces a naive narrator and literary paradox in the first chapter. The importance of names inside the novel and contrasts of corruption and innocence show two primary motifs. Pip’s descriptions and observations make social commentary on the struggles of the impoverished and the need for widely available education. Meaningful names in the novel, contrasts between corruption and innocence, and social commentary also continue to appear further in the novel and serve as a basis for other themes.
Subject: Charles Dickens,
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 12 October 2017
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