Great Expectations Study Guide

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Great Expectations Stage I of Pip's Expectations: Ch. I to IX Chapter I 1. How does Dickens use setting to convey the mood right at the opening? 2. What does Dickens' description of the first convict tell us about him? 3. What is surprising about the narrative point-of- view Dickens has adopted? 4. How does Dickens contrast the convict and Pip? 5. But in what ways are these two characters similar? 6. What objects does the convict want brought to him? 7. What personal circumstance of Pip's is convenient for the convict?* Note: This is the first coincidence of a plot that comes to depend on coincidences. Vocabulary: “wittles" = vittles (food); “battery" = gun enplacement, in this case probably dating from the Napoleonic Wars, which ended at Waterloo in 1815. Chapter II 1. How does Dickens arouse our sympathies for certain characters? 2. Why does Pip live with village blacksmith Joe Gargery? 3. What is the nature of the relationship between these two characters? 4. What object that Pip takes the convict makes him feel guilty and nearly gets him discovered? Vocabulary: “bolting" = swallowing without properly chewing (probably an indication of Pip's apprehensiveness at the dinner table); “hulks" = former naval vessels now being used as temporary prisons. [The first instalment (1 Dec. 1860) ended here.] Chapter III 1. What is surprising about the attitude of the two convicts towards one another? 2. What object in this chapter leads to a real mystery later on? Vocabulary: “rimy" = frosty. Chapter IV Note Mr. Wopsle's self-righteous biblical allusion: “Swine were the companions of the prodigal" (see Luke XV:11-32). 1. Explain the expression “like monumental Crusaders as to their legs." 2. What special occasion is being celebrated and how? 3. And yet why does Pip feel apprehensive and miserable? Vocabulary: “penitentials" = possibly a reference to
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