How Does Dickens Create Sympathy for 'Pip' in 'Great Expectations'?

Topics: Great Expectations, Victorian era, Miss Havisham Pages: 3 (1211 words) Published: June 6, 2010
How does Dickens create sympathy for Pip?
‘Great expectations’ is a novel written during and set in the Victorian era, a time in which status, class and money were extremely important and where a discrepancy between the rich and poor was evident. The novel follows the ill-fated life of the protagonist in the novel, ‘Pip’. Dickens writes in such a way that each character is a subject of either sympathy or scorn. Dickens implies that Pip is a subject of sympathy through his use of guilt and suffering. Dickens also uses powerful vocabulary to create a poignant image of Pip and his surroundings. The story itself is narrated by middle aged Pip and Dickens intentionally uses him so that we see the story through the perspective of Pip as a child and an adult. Dickens even uses Pip’s name as an indication of his stature and future actions, ‘Pip’ could be seen as a small apple seed that grows into a large tree. As well as ‘pirrip’, a palindrome, being conceived as the word ‘rip’ placed symmetrically symbolising his character ripping into different personalities as he grows. Our first impressions of Pip are that he is a timid but remorseful boy. We can see this from where he is first found, by his parent’s gravestone. Dickens has us sympathising for Pip as we discover he is an orphan and the fact that he is exposed to death and tragedy from a young age. Pip’s reaction to his surroundings merely perpetuates his faint-hearted approach “the small bundle of fears growing afraid of it all and beginning to cry was pip”. This enhances Dickens main aim of initiating sympathy for Pip, and this, consequently, lasts for the novels entirety. Dickens cleverly uses pathetic fallacy to emphasize and magnify Pip's emotional states and unconscious sentiments. At the same time, the weather also foreshadows momentous changes in Pip's life and augments the reader’s sympathy for Pip. This is first done in the church graveyard “That this bleak place overgrown with...
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