Atmosphere in Great Expectations - Sample Essay
At the end of Chapter 19 the mood and atmosphere changes as Pip has to decide whether to go to London to meet the girl of his dreams or to stay with his friends in in his little, quiet village. Pip has been left money by an unknown person. He thinks Mrs Havisham has left it to him as she is the only wealthy person he knows and she wants him to be fit to marry her adopted daughter Estella. Pip cannot make up his mind whether to stay or to go. Pip cannot bear to let go of all his friends and relatives, especially Biddy and Joe. Biddy was the house keeper.
Dickens tells us that Pip is having to make a hard decision by using the phrase “repeatedly unlocking and unstrapping my small portmanteau and locking and strapping it up again”. Pip decides to leave and find the girl of his dreams and he is so upset. Dickens tells us that he is “sobbing with tears”. The atmosphere in the village when Pip is just about to leave is dull and there is a lot of sadness throughout the village. Pip is so upset that he can’t talk to anyone; he decided to say his last farewell to his very old friend, the finger post, located at the edge of his village.
Pip puts his hand on the finger post and cries out “Good-bye, o my dear, dear friend! ” this is personification, as you don’t tend to talk to objects. Dickens uses this to show that Pip is in a really bad state. He says his farewells to all of his friends and then he starts the long, tiring journey to London. On the journey to London the atmosphere is changing all the time. It is like when he changes from one coach to another his mood is changing. Dickens uses the phrase at the end of the chapter “And the mists had all solemnly risen now, and the world lay spread before me”.
He uses this to show the reader that there’s no going back and it’s too far, too late. This is the end of chapter 19. At the start of Chapter 20 Pip is struggling being on his own and having no one to talk too. There’s a metaphor at the start of the chapter “ravel of traffic frayed out” he use this to show the reader that there are cars everywhere and he’s in a traffic jam. Then Dickens uses listing, “Cross Keys, Wood-street, Cheap side, London” this tells us that Pip is really bored and at the end of his temper. When Pip arrives in London he describes it as “ugly”, “crooked”, “narrow” and “dirty”.
Dickens uses these words to show us what an unbelievably dirty place it was and a place which you would not want to visit. Dickens tells us that Pip has been sent to Mr Jaggers address, it said on the invitation “Little Britain” “just out of Smithfield, and close by the coach office”. When Pip arrives in Little Britain he pays the coachman. Then the coach man, while staring at the door with the name “Mr Jaggers” painted on the top says,” I know him! He darkly closed an eye at Mr Jaggers’s name, and shook his head”. This obviously is going to make Pip feel that he’s not wanted around here.
Pip goes to the front office and asks for Mr Jaggers, the clerk says that he’s at court, and then he asks Pip “Am I addressing Mr Pip? ” Which makes it sound formal? Pip goes into Mr Jaggers’ room and describes it with a simile “the skylight, eccentrically patched like a broken head”. Pip tells us that there is a lack of light in the room by saying “distorted adjoining houses looking as if they had twisted themselves to peep down at me”. This is personification. Pip later describes Mr Jaggers’ room with a simile “Mr Jaggers own high-backed chair was of deadly black horse-hair, with rows of brass nails round it, like a coffin”.
His chair had statues of heads which look sinister. It had images of death on it. When Pip is describing the atmosphere of Mr Jaggers’ room he repeats the word “dismal”. He also describes the air as exhausting in Mr Jaggers room. The clerk advises him to go to Smithfield market. It is a meat market. When he arrives there he describes the atmosphere as a “shameful place” he tells us about the “filth and fat and blood and foam” the use of the ‘ands’ makes it sound more powerful, it is also an alliteration of the letter ‘f’.
He also says how all of the “filth and fat and blood and foam” stuck to him and he had to rub it off but he was finding it hard. He tells us the smell of the area strongly smells of “spirits and beer”. This tells us that there are a lot of drunken people around. St. Paul’s cathedral was near Smithfield market. It had a large dome which should be white but it is black because of the soot from the chimneys burning coal. This makes it a lot duller and brings a lot more sadness. Also by St. Pauls cathedral was Newgate prison.
Pip contrast’s Newgate prison with St. Paul’s cathedral. Pip is scared of the prison when he looks at it because it looks evil. In Newgate prison they put straw on the floor to deaden the noise. Jagger appears to be quite threatening when he is dealing with people, for example when he is talking to the little Jew “You thought! I think for you; that’s enough for you. If I want you, I know where to find you; I don’t want you to find me. Now I won’t have it. I won’t hear a word. ” This shows us the power Mr Jaggers has over other people.