The next paragraph is a brilliant description of the place where Pip is. Dickens uses descriptive language such as ‘raw’, ‘overgrown’, ‘dark’ and ‘scattered’ to create an atmosphere of the bleakness of the place and gives the reader a great impression of the places, loneliness and landscape. Dickens uses descriptive phrases such as ‘raw afternoon’, ‘bleak place overgrown with nettles’, ‘dark flat wilderness’ and ‘scattered cattle’ to create an unwelcoming and bleak atmospheric picture of this hostile environment he has created.
Dickens creates mood and makes the reader feel sympathy for Pip in this paragraph by describing first the church and where Pip’s family are ‘dead and buried’, then the marshes, then the ‘low leaden line’ (the river), next he describes the ‘distant savage lair’ (a metaphor for the sea, a lair referring to the home of something vicious). Dickens lastly brings the descriptions of the images back to a ‘small bundle of shivers growing afraid of it all and beginning to cry’, referring to Pip, making him seem small and pathetic compared to his large, hostile, bleak surroundings and portraying to the reader his severe helplessness.
Dickens effectively creates a scary atmosphere in the next part of the chapter by starting off with a voice shouting, “Hold your noise. ” The suddenness and unexpectedness of this line makes the reader genuinely shocked and surprised, thus making us relate to Pip’s horror. Dickens goes on to introduce the escaped convict into the story.
We can make this assumption of the identity of the character by reading Pip’s description of the ‘fearful man, wearing coarse grey’ (suggesting he looks rough and his clothes are torn like he has been running) and ‘great iron on his leg’ (prisoners of Dickens era were forced to wear iron shackles on their legs and were kept on prison boats moored on the shore, we already know from the text that Pip lives near the sea). We can tell from this that he has escaped as the iron is still attached to his leg. We get a profile of the convict’s character from the evidence in the way he acts towards and talks to Pip.
The convict uses such violent language as “keep still you little devil or I’ll cut your throat”, “You young dog” and “what fat cheeks you got, darn me if I couldn’t eat em! ” This shows he is obviously a very dangerous and intimidating man. The convict also seizes Pip by the chin, turns him upside down to ’empty his pockets’ and tilts him back so “his eyes looked most powerfully down into mine”. All this evidence shows the convict is sly and knows how to get what he wants by intimidation. He knows how to play on this small boys innocence by using violent language and brutality.
He cleverly knows how to scare a little boy as he has obviously been previously studying Pip crying and sees his weakness, and an opportunity to abuse this knowledge. We can tell the convict is desperate and starving as Dickens uses adjectives such as ‘ravenously’ (describing the convict eating bread from his pocket), suggesting he has not eaten for a while. We can tell getting food is one of the convict’s main priorities when he asks/threatens Pip to bring him a file (presumably to get off the iron) and ‘wittles’ (scraps of food). The use of the dated word ‘wittles’ also reflects the influences of Dickens era.
Dickens describes the convict as re-enforcing his requests to Pip in an intimidating way in the next part of the chapter. The convict does this to make sure Pip doesn’t tell anyone about his presence, suggesting he is ‘on the run’. Dickens creates this affect by describing the convict as again playing on Pip’s innocence. The convict does this by confirming that he ‘ain’t alone’. As if the convicts extreme brutality and aggression isn’t terrifying enough for Pip, the convict states he has ‘a young man with him and in comparison with which young man I am an angel’.