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Charles Dickens present Pip as vulnerable in the opening chapters of ‘Great Expectations’

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Charles Dickens wrote ‘Great Expectations’ in 1864. Great Expectations is about a boy called Pip, and how his life changes for the good when he meets Magwitch, a convict in the marshes. Charles Dickens wrote ‘Great Expectations’ and drew upon the similarities to his own life. He was born in 1812 and was the eldest son in a family of 8, his father went to prison, so he had to work in a warehouse, but still went on to be one of the greatest Victorian novelists. That is how the story mirrors his life. Pip too starts off as a poor person then achieves greatness in his life. Charles Dickens uses a wide range of techniques to make Pip, the main character vulnerable, so the reader will feel sympathetic towards him. The way Charles Dickens makes Pip vulnerable is he meets people who treat him very badly, and he is forced to be alone in desolate places, at the start of the novel.

In the opening chapters of ‘Great Expectations’, the settings is in the marshes near the River Thames. It is dark, frightening, it is cloudy and the wind is very rough. Pip is a young orphan in a graveyard on his own looking at his parents, and brothers’ grave, wondering what they were like. Charles Dickens uses adjectives to create a dangerous setting. The phrase “bleak place with overgrown nettle,” suggests that this place is deserted, empty, frightening and is petrifying for Pip. Another phrase, “the sky was just a row of angry red lines “suggests that the Charles Dickens is personifying that the sky is a row of long angry red lines, and that the sky is cloudy and very frightening. This makes the reader imagine that the environment around pip is against him and the weather is aggressive towards him. This is intensified by Charles Dickens who uses metaphors to create a desolate, bleak picture of the landscape. He says “the distant savage lair from which the wind was rushing has the sea.” The comparison helps the reader to imagine that the wind is very rough and the wind is attacking Pip it looks like everything is against him; making him more vulnerable, this makes the reader feel sorry for Pip because Charles Dickens makes Pip as a little boy who is gullible, and his mind thinks that everything is against him, because he has such a vivid imagination.

Charles Dickens makes Pip vulnerable in the graveyard, but his vulnerability increases when he meets a convict unexpectedly in the graveyard. Charles Dickens uses compound sentences to describe the convict. This builds up tension adding to his description, for example the convict is described as, ‘a fearful man, in all coarse grey, with a great iron on his leg. This description makes the convict look like a ghost to Pip. He uses speech and dialogue to describe the convict, such as ‘hold your noise… or I’ll cut your throat!” This reveals that the convict is aggressive, and he is a man who will actually take his heart and liver out. Dickens also uses powerful adjectives, another quote ‘a fearful man, all in coarse grey… broken shoes.’ This makes Pip think that the convict is not a normal person. He also uses powerful verbs, ‘limped and shivered and glared and growled.’ This makes frightened because he is shivering and limping just like a ghost would. When Pip meets the convict the reader feels sorry for him, because he is in a graveyard alone, but then he meets a convict who threatens to kill him, and he is so small and insignificant that he can’t do anything about it.

When Pips home life is described, his vulnerability drastically increases, because of his sister who bullies him and abuses him. Pips sister Mrs Joe Gargery beats and bullies Pip so much that it is exaggerated to make us laugh. ‘She concluded by throwing me… at Joe’. She throws him like a rag doll at Joe. This makes the reader feel sorry for Pip, because she resents him and always complains about him. Mrs Joe also treats her husband very badly. The quote ‘it’s bad enough to be a blacksmiths wife without being your mother, this explains that she hates Joe and Pip, and that she is like the man of the house.

The only good thing about Pips home life is the way Joe treats him with compassion in comparison. Joe is like a brother to Pip he treats him with care, and he is the only person pip can go to, and the only person who cares for him. Charles Dickens uses verbs such as, ‘I whimpered,’ and ‘I don’t know’ to show that pip is a quiet boy, and is scare of Mrs. Joe. His home life makes him more vulnerable, because his home life is violent, he is beaten by a stick called Tickler ‘tickler was a wax ended cane, worn smooth by collision with my tickled frame; this suggests that violence is constant. Pips home life will make the reader feel even more sympathetic for Pip, because he gets beat and, he has no one who cares for him except for Joe Gargery, who also gets abused by Mrs Joe Gargery, the reader will also amuse be amused, because Joe Gargery who is supposed to be the man of the house is abused by his own wife. Pips home life is compared to the graveyard and meeting the convict, because he doesn’t know which is more scary stealing food and getting caught, or the convict.

Pip meets Estella and Miss Havisham which changes his life for ever because of his sister who gets payed to send Pip to their house. This makes his vulnerability increase even more, because meeting Estella makes him realise how poor he is, and how he wants to become a gentleman to impress Estella who he has fallen in love with. When Pip goes to the house he feels frightened because of stories around the village about Miss Havisham and the house. When he gets there the house is boarded up and there is no daylight in the house which will make him very frightened of the house. When Pip meets Miss Havisham he is frightened and nervous because when he sees her he thinks she’s a crazy woman who is demented. Charles dickens uses adjectives to show contrast between Pip and Estella.

The quote ‘clumsy labouring boy’ and ‘beautiful and self possessed’, suggests that there is a huge difference between Pip and Estella; Estella is a rich and beautiful person, and Pip is a poor boy who is clumsy. Charles Dickens also uses dialogue to show difference and also shows the huge difference between Pip and Estella.’ You coarse little monster and ‘you little wretch’. The use of dialogue reveals that Estella insults him very much and also shows the huge difference between the two, because she can call Pip names and he can’t do anything because he is so insignificant. The quote ‘He calls the Knaves, Jacks, this boy, shows the difference in status Estella and Pip have; Estella makes fun of Pip, because he calls the knaves jacks, we can imagine that Pip will be extremely embarrassed inside. Not only does Estella verbally abuse Pip she also hits him. The quote ‘she slapped my face with such force’ shows that Estella slaps Pip and also abuses him, this will make Pip feel even more vulnerable, because he can nothing about Estella slapping him. This makes the reader feel sympathetic for Pip, because Estella makes him feel insignificant, and makes him want to become a gentleman.

The techniques Charles Dickens uses to make Pip vulnerable is the background of Pip, Pip is an orphan who also has 5 dead brothers this makes him vulnerable, because he has no one to protect him and is a target for people. The setting, the graveyard, his house and Satis house make him vulnerable because, because the graveyard is a desolate place which is muddy and is overgrown with nettles, so it is a place no one would like to be. Satis house is a dark place with no natural sunlight and is dirty with cobwebs all over this place; the house will make Pip feel like he is in a witch’s house, since Pip is so gullible this place would make Pip feel more vulnerable. The people he meets also make him vulnerable, like the convict, his sister, Miss Havisham and Estella.

The Convict is a person who is fearful and is in coarse grey clothes, and he is very aggressive and violent because, he threatens to take Pip heart and liver out, so this would make him vulnerable. His sister is violent and show resents towards him she beats him with a cane, and the cane beating is so constant the cane has his frame on it, and finally Estella makes him vulnerable because, she make fun of him because, he is poor and wears coarse boots this make him realise how poor he is and make depressed, and motivates him to become a gentleman. Charles dickens language techniques is very complex because the words he uses to make the reader feel so sorry for Pip, and the complex sentences which has more than 3 ands in, this makes it build up tension. This make the reader want to carry on reading and find out what will happen to Pip at the end of the novel.

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