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‘Great Expectations’ – Pip First Meets the Convict Essay Sample

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‘Great Expectations’ – Pip First Meets the Convict Essay Sample

Chapter one and thirty-nine are linked in various ways. The chapters are linked through the weather, the characters, and the changes in the characters, Charles Dickens message to his readers, and life in the nineteenth century.

In chapter one I felt sorry for Pip because he is scared and he feels as though he is being threatened. Although the convict is bigger then Pip and the reader sees him as a bully, we are given gentle hints of the pain he has gone through. He is described as ‘soaked’, ‘lamed’ and ‘cut’. We are also told that he ‘limped’ and ‘shivered’ which tells us that he must be going through some pain. Pip is scared because he doesn’t know the convict and therefore he fears the unknown. He is also young and vulnerable. Along with not knowing the convict the appearance of the convict is horrific. He is described as in chains and covered in mud.

The convict uses a strong dialect in his speech in chapter one. He speaks as though he is still in jail. He says things like ‘hold your noise’; this is supposed to mean be quiet. Even though we the reader think that his English is bad and therefore he is not intelligent but this is proven wrong later on. He asks Pip where his house his to see if he can be useful. Again his English is bad when he asks this he says, ‘Pint out the place’ instead of point out the place but that is his dialect to make him seem like a thug. The way Dickens shows the convict’s clever and tactical side.

In chapter thirty-nine the circumstances are completely different. Pip has now matured into a young man and has gained his self-confidence. He has changed from a countryman and has become a City man. He now has more authority and he has become more arrogant, and now asks the questions he wants because he does not fear him. The reason behind this is that he has is now educated.

This is shown when the convict uses the good cop bad cop method. He gets Pip to believe that he has a friend in the bushes who is even more evil and dangerous then him and if he doesn’t bring him the food and file he will let him loose. He also needed to use this method because he asked questions before he threatened Pip and, thought he was losing his chance to escape. Also in this chapter he gives the orders and asks the questions. ‘Tell us your name?’ and ‘where do you live!’ an example of only a few examples of these questions. These questions give him control and allow him to be dominant and in control of the conversation.

In chapter thirty-nine things turn around. It is Pip, who has now become a gentleman, asking the questions. The convict has become much more respectable. He now wears a hat, which was expected of gentlemen in the ninetieth century. His language is still poor but the tone of his voice is much more respectable. This shows that he has changed, from being evil to good. This transformation would’ve appealed to the Victorian readers because of the huge difference in social class and now they have both seemed to have gone up a step. He is also more humble towards Pip because he realises that Pip is now more socially advanced and therefore is higher up then him. This also shows that Dickens didn’t like criminals being shipped off to Australia. He was very critical of the treatment of convicts in the 19th century. It shows that he believes when given the chance people can change. The readers will now fell sorry for the convict because he has changed but Pip is not giving him the chance. This we find out form when the convict says

“You acted noble my boy, and I have never forget it.” Pip replies with as the convict came to embrace him

“Stay! Keep off!”

This shows he is still angry but the line that proves he doesn’t want anything to do with him is when he says,

“That I cannot wish to renew that chance intercourse with you of long ago.” He is basically saying that we met a long and that was then this is now and I don’t want anything to do with you.

In the first chapter the readers felt sorry for Pip because he seemed helpless and was so young whereas in chapter thirty-nine they don’t feel sorry for him. In fact they sort of despise him because he is not giving the convict the chance to say what he’s got to say. Eventually when Pip realises that the money came from the convict he instantly becomes silent. He just cannot believe that he has got to this peak in the social hierarchy because of the convict. He is now in total despair. The line

“The dread I had of him, could not have been exceeded if he had been some terrible beast,” tells us this.

Another change that has occurred since the first meeting is that, Pip has grown up and become more of a man. The convict has grown old and isn’t threatening any more but is much more humble, perhaps because of his age.

Dickens uses the wind as a metaphor in both chapters. He is crating a sense of foreboding. This symbolizes the return of the convict. Along with the wing a similar chilling setting has been used. In the first chapter they met in the graveyard whereas in this one they meet in a thunderstorm again when Pip is alone. This creates a mysterious effect. The line ‘like discharges of a cannon’ echoes the sound of the gunships when the convict first escaped from the ship. This makes the reader think that the convict is returning.

In these two chapters Dickens has given a clear message to the readers that criminals can change and they deserve to be given a second chance and not to be shipped off to Australia. This book also shows us the difference in class back then and how people of different class could not get along. Dickens really criticised the society in the 19th century especially the government and was made it know that he did not believe convicts should be deported to Australia.

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