Write a close analysis of chapter 28 and briefly relate it to the rest of the novel. You will have to provide your own argument. Great Expectations is set in early Victorian England, a time when the Industrial Revolution transformed the social landscape. Social class was no longer entirely dependent on the circumstances of one's birth but the division between rich and poor was as finite as ever. Pip's sudden rise from country labourer to city gentleman forces him to move from one social extreme to another, Great Expectations presents the growth and development of a single character namely Phillip Pir rip or Pip. In this assignment I will analyse various themes and character interactions within Charles Dickens's Great Expectations with a specific focus on chapter 28 and it's relation to the rest of the novel.
As I will explain Charles Dickens was not only a famous storyteller but also a great social commentator. The chapter opens with Pip's decision to return home. His decision is not prompted by the need to visit old family and friends, but by news that his beloved Estella had returned to Satis house and wished to see him. This indicates Pip's newfound selfishness and seduction by status as he values the cold Estella above his loving friends and family. He comments that he will be an "inconvenience at Joe's" (pg 247) and instead opts to stay at the Blue Boar Inn.
This further proves his selfishness and seduction by status. His decision is ironic as he knows that in reality he would not be an inconvenience for Joe who loves Pip and claims that they are "ever the best of friends". He is projecting his feelings that Joe was an inconvenience to him in London onto Joe. On his visit to London Joe betrayed Pip's humble beginnings and embarrassed him. This shameful encounter indicates Pip's rejection of his past in aid of becoming a "gentleman". Pip describes his feelings towards the prospect of Joe coming to London as "Not with pleasure... with considerable disturbance, some mortification and a keen sense of incongruity" (pg 240, chapter 27).
He is embarrassed by Joe's poor dress sense and dull manners however by the end of the chapter it is Joe who leaves with some "simple dignity" (pg 247) and Pip who is left ashamed. This is an indication of Dickens's social commentary as it is written in the introduction, "The word 'gentleman's could prompt us to examine the portrait of society contained in the novel, for its crucial significance in our understanding of Dickens's social themes" (pg 23). The question of what defines a gentleman is posed often within the novel, should it be based on wealth and social standing or noble, reliable and honest character? I find the rest of the first paragraph "All other swindlers... myself as notes" (pg 247) very important. Pip explores the idea of cheating himself.
He is referring to "cheating himself" and fooling himself in his denial and poor justifications of why he should not stay at Joe's but these ideas are ironic as he really did cheat himself in believing that Miss Havisham was his benefactor. "Miss Havisham was going to make my fortune on a grand scale" (pg 165 chapter 18). The metaphors of "bad money" add more dramatic irony as the money used to fulfil his expectations and make him a gentleman came from a dubious source the convict Magwitch. It is a subtle but powerful comment on society that the noble convicts money was "bad" but money from a demented conniving old woman who happens to be of the "upper class" is good. In the next paragraph Pip is deciding whether or not to take his servant with him on his trip.
He calls his servant "that expensive Mercenary" (pg 247) and "the Avenger" and describes him as "if I can connect that expression with one who never attended on me if he could possibly help it" (pg 248). This indicates the follies and pretences of wealth and Pip's rise in stature as he hires a useless servant because it is what a gentleman does. It is an example of the pretences of wealth and class explored within the novel. What is more, his decision whether or not to take "the Avenger" with him depends entirely on what other people think. He decides not to bring him because his "patroness" may not approve and Trabb's boy "might worm himself into his intimacy and tell him things" (pg 247).
This also shows us Pip's new pride and arrogance; he fears his humble beginnings being revealed. His pride is later shattered when he discovers that a convict in exile provides his expectations. Only when he recovers from this shock and loses his money does Pip learn to be humble and moral in pledging his loyalty to Magwitch. We then see his encounter with the convicts.
It is apparent within this paragraph that Pip's previous dealings with Magwitch as a child had a profound effect on him, he still feels uncomfortable and uneasy with convicts many years later. He describes their irons as "irons of patterns I knew well" and "the dress that I likewise new well" (pg 248). Then comes a turning point, Pip realises that one of the convicts had been the man that had given him two pounds when he was at the Jolly Bargemen many years before. The author begins to capture our attention by tying up loose ends of the novel and beginning it profound sequence of "coincidences". The second paragraph goes on to with Pip describing the criminals as "lower animals" and a "disagreeable and degraded spectacle" (pg 249). Again we have social commentary.
Pip the grand "gentleman" views the convicts as less than human shows the superior attitude of the upper to lower classes. This view is ironic as the convict showed nobility and despite probably needing the money in his poor circumstances keeps his word and hands it over to a complete stranger who would not know the difference. This shows the most noble of acts contrasted with Pip not feeling obliged to even greet the man never mind re-compensate him. Also a "degraded spectacle" turns out to be his benefactor. These encounters and relationships as seen between Pip and the convicts indeed define Great Expectations as a "grotesque tragic-comedy" (introduction pg 12). We later in the novel Pip is revolted and recoils from his convict benefactor as he does these two convicts.
He describes feeling disdain for the convicts as he mentions "it is impossible to express with what acuteness I felt the convict's breathing, not only on the back of my head but all along my spine... my shrinking endeavours to fend him off" (pg 250). This is echoed by his response of the discovery of his patron, "the abhorrence in which I held the man, the dread I had of him, the repugnance with which I shrank from him, could not have been exceeded if he had been some terrible beast" (pg 337, chapter 39). Furthermore the weather in both instances is cold and bitter, linking the two scenes in pathetic fallacy, the weather reflecting the mood or situation, here reflecting Pip's bitter and cold response. Pip is happy to receive money from Miss Havisham who is in my opinion less noble and more evil than Magwitch just because of her social position. We discover that Magwitch's crimes were on the whole committed out of ignorance and manipulation as Magwitch explains "The time wi' Compeyson was a'most as hard a time as I ever had... Did I tell you I was tried, alone, for misdemeanour, while with Compeyson" (pg 364).
Miss Havisham however intentionally ruins and manipulates two young peoples lives, she confesses her treatment of Estella "I stole her heart away and put ice in its place" (pg 412). This fits in with the theme of social classes and the idea that wealth doesn't mean nobility of character. We then read that Pip considers paying the convicts back but is not concerned, "I must have lost it longer than I thought" (pg 250). Again the question is raised, what is a gentleman? The other convict says "Two pound notes, I'd sell all the friends I ever had, for one, and think it a blessed bargain" (pg 251) Ironically this is exactly what Pip does, he rejects his old friends in his quest for wealth and status, so what makes him better than the convicts? The chapter continues and Pip gets off the coach to avoid being recognised by the convict, earlier he is thankful that Herbert calls him Handel, "I thought what a blessed fortune it was, that Herbert had found another name for me than Pip" (pg 250).
This also echoes the idea of him rejecting his past. As he gets off the coach he is filled with fear", I could not have said what I was afraid of, for my fear was altogether undefined and vague... revival of a few minutes of terror childhood" (pg 252). This premonition is foreshadowing of his discovery of his true benefactor. Pips change in character when he pledges loyalty to Magwitch indicates the moral growth and identity crises that defines Pip as one of literatures great characters. In the last two paragraphs of the chapter we see that as Pip receives his fortune, Mr Pumblechook suddenly "admits" to being Pip's friend and patron, Pip explains "I entertained a conviction... I had gone to the North Pole...
I should have met somebody there... who would have told me that Pumblechook was my earliest patron and founder of my fortunes" (pg 253). Ironically in Pips youth Pumblechook accused him of not having a sufficient ethical conscious and not appreciating what he had, a contradiction in Pumblechook lying for free publicity in the local paper, "a highly respected individual not entirely unconnected with the corn and seed trade" (pg 252). In this essay I have closely analysed the chapter while briefly relating it to the rest of the novel. The essay outlines various themes including the definition of a true gentleman, the measure of character being dependant on wealth and social status as well as Dickens's subtle but poignant comments on society. Dickens proves himself as a master storyteller and social commentator through his use of themes and character interaction and "coincidence".
Fuck I left it at my mom.