Victorian England Essay
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Chapter 1 established the convict as frightening but with a human side, and this is shown again in chapter 39. Magwitch returns to see Pip in chapter 39. Again Magwitch takes Pip by surprise and frightens him. Eventually Pip recognises him. “If the wind and the rain had driven away the intervening years…I could not have known my convict more distinctly than I knew him now…”. He tells Pip that he has made him a gentleman. “I’m your second father.
You’re my son … I’ve put money away, only for you to spend.
” As in chapter 1, the convict is still fleeing from the law. Again Pip will have to help him. “I was sent for life. It’s death to come back.” As in the first chapter there is another person following Magwitch. “The person stopped when he stopped to make inquiry of me and the person took this way when he took this way.” Even though they gave Magwitch new clothes he was still more like a convict. “The influences of his solitary hut-life were upon him besides, and gave him a savage air that no dress could tame.” The word “savage” is often used in chapter 1. Magwitch tells the story of himself and Compeyson. “I noticed first of all what a gentle Compeyson looked…and what a sort of wretch I looked.”
Dickens is careful to establish the sense of danger though landscape in chapter 1 and he does this again towards the end of the book at the beginning of chapter 53. “Beyond their dark line there was a ribbon of clear sky” also in chapter 1 we got an impression of horizontal lines and wide-open spaces. Now again we are told of the flat view and repetition of “dark” gives a miserable feeling. “There was a melancholy wind” the moon makes it seem quite threatening and the weather is generally frightening. “Against my inclination, I went on against it” so although Pip feels that he wants to leave, he thinks he must go on to the Sluice house, as the note had told him to. “A stranger would have found them unsupportable”. Pip is used to the marshes but he understands that anyone else would want to run away.
In chapter 1 the reader saw that the language used by Pip and the convict was old-fashioned and in dialect. At the beginning of the first chapter when Magwitch and Pip first meet, Magwitch is in charge of the situation. “Darn me if I couldn’t eat ’em … and if I han’t half a mind to’t!” Although their relationship has changed by the end of the book, some aspects of the language are the same e.g.- Magwitch still talks in an uneducated way: “I knowed you couldn’t be that.”
At the end of chapter 56 Pip is in charge of his situation because he is helping Magwitch get out of the country without getting caught by the law, otherwise he would be given the death sentence. “Dear Magwitch, I must tell you, now at last. You understand what I say?” Magwitch still talks in dialect and old-fashioned. “Thank’ee, dear boy, thank’ee. God bless you! You’ve never deserted me, dear boy.” The way Pip talks has changed. “Are you in much pain to-day?” Pip talks in a higher class and like a gentleman.
Chapter 1 was important because it established setting, character and language for the rest of the book. It also began the story and set it in the harsh world of Victorian England. The message of the book is that gentlemen are not created by education or birth but by how they treat other people. For example, Bentley Drummle is born a gentleman but treats his wife cruelly whereas Joe is a workingman but is kind and thoughtful to others.