Compare chapter 1 of ‘Great Expectations’ in which Pip first meets the convict, with chapter 39, when he meets him for the second time. The title of the novel that I studied is, ‘Great Expectations’, written in the 19th century by Charles Dickens. Pip, an orphan often goes to the cemetery to mourn for his dead parents and brothers. While mourning one day, a convict hiding in that same cemetery scares him. All that he thinks of is to listen and obey the man.
As the story evolves, we are also introduced to the sentimental part of Pip’s life. He is in love with a girl named Estella but unfortunately, she doesn’t like him. When Pip becomes the perfect gentleman, he inherits some fortune. He mistakes the real provider thinking it is Miss Havisham, until one night he meets the convict again. The latter claims that he is the person providing him with money. Pip was unable to accept both the truth and the man. For my assignment, I am focussing on the 1st and 39th chapter of the book, where Pip first meets the convict, and when he meets him for the second time.
In the first chapter of the book, the circumstances that Pip is in are very pitiful. He is an orphan and although he has a big sister, he does not get the motherly affection he is supposed to in his life. He seems to be very drawn to the place where his parents are buried as stated, “my fancies regarding what they were like were unreasonably derived from their tombstones,” (chapter 1, pg 1, line 9-10). This shows how much he misses parental affection that his sister, Mrs Joe cannot give him although she looks after him. Furthermore, Pip appears to be naï¿½ve and he is very lonely as a little boy because he doesn’t have friends.
In contrast to chapter thirty- nine, we are introduced to an arrogant man that doesn’t care for others’ feelings at all. He is no longer that orphan boy for whom we had so much pity. Also in the first chapter, we see how Pip is very helpless in his state. By saying this, I mean that his sister is always beating him whenever he returns home from the church late at night. What he thinks or does do not matter to his sister and he always ends up keeping his point of view to himself. As a result, he suppresses his feelings deep inside him. I find him rather submissive for a boy of his age. When the convict keeps on being harsh to him and scares him, he decides to “get him a file, and I would get him what broken bits of food I could, and I would come to him at the Battery, early in the morning,” (chapter 1, pg 4,line 10-12).
On the other hand, the rude man that we meet in chapter thirty-nine is not that helpless at all. He has a home, a lot of money, as well as a lot of pride. Furthermore, he values people by social standard as he tells Magwitch “that I cannot wish to renew that chance intercourse with you of long ago, under these different circumstances,” (chapter 39, pg 301, line 35-36). On top of that, he has been educated and can now “read regularly so many hours a day” (chapter 39, pg 298, line 10-11). He becomes a gentleman in life but he is refusing Magwitch, the man who actually made him great as said in the book “not to disguise that I wished him gone” (chapter 39, pg 302, line 13-14).
It actually happens that he forgets his origin in the middle of the story. As far as the convict is concerned, he was in great need of food in the first chapter and he acted quite harshly towards Pip. He gives an impression of starvation as he goes on “and your heart and your liver shall be tore out, roasted and ate,” (chapter 1, pg 3, line 38). Nevertheless, we know that he is an escaped prisoner and obviously he doesn’t want the police to catch him again. This can be justified by the conversation he has with Pip, “you never dare to say a word or dare to make a sign concerning your having seen such a person as me, or any person sumever,” (chapter 1, pg 3, line 34-36).
We can understand that life was not that easy for him in jail as well. All through the years he was in jail, he was in the company of other harsh people. I think when he meets Pip for the first time, he does not care to socialise and to behave properly with strangers because the situation he is in does not permit him to do so. That is why he shakes Pip as if he is an animal until he is close to become “sick,” (chapter 1, pg 3, line 26). In addition to this, he wants to make sure that pip doesn’t report their meeting.
However in chapter thirty- nine, the convict is much older and has softened a big deal. Moreover, since he was expelled from the country, he started to live in society in Australia again and he behaves himself well in chapter thirty-nine, when he meets Pip for the second time as he goes on saying “I wish to come in, Master,” (chapter 39, pg 300, line 8). Maybe he has a grudge against himself about the way he acted when he met Pip in the graveyard. He even tries to approach Pip in a different way by kissing his hand several times “and still held them,” (chapter 39, pg 301, line 18). I think it is to express how grateful he is towards pip and to show that he has changed as well.
There are some frightening elements in the first chapter like the graveyard background, which is associated with death. The image that we get from a graveyard is not very reassuring and we can deduce from our own reaction, as readers, how Pip is feeling as a little boy. As if that was not enough, the names of Pip’s family printed on graveyards as clearly mentioned “the shape of the letters on my father’s…. From the character and turn of the inscription,” (chapter 1, pg 1, line 7 & 9) increase our sympathy for him. I think that the writer is trying to put us, readers in the place of his main character just to make us feel how life is when one is alone and poor.
When almost all of our family members are dead and we have to visit their graveyards, instead of themselves in person. Furthermore, for a little boy like Pip, an orphan since birth, the kind of ” raw afternoon” (chapter 1, pg 1, line 27) in the graveyard does not suit him because it gives the impression of a cold atmosphere, the kind that hurts. In addition to this, the mention of a ” bleak place” (chapter 1, pg 1, line 28) shows us how isolated the place.
Also, I think that the writer wants us to realise how courageous Pip is to be able to visit his beloved ones in such a place. Likewise, we understand the state of mind Magwitch is in when there is the mention of “gibbet” (chapter 1, PG 5, line 2). It is not very pleasant reminding someone of his own death. We know that he is an escaped prisoner and he is hiding in the graveyard so that the police cannot find him. Here again, we are introduced to a dilemma of a grown up person where one has to live in a haunted and isolated place and where there are only dead people around.