This passage is from the second part of the book “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens. This is the part at which Pip has arrived in London and is on his way to go and see Jagers. His is told to wait as Jagers in a court meeting and when he mentions that he wishes to go out to have a look is suggested to go onto Smithfield. This extract then goes on to describe in depth the first, yet lasting, thoughts that Pip gets of London and the experiences that add to this image that is created.
It is a very descriptive extract that is both narrative at the same time. The first impressions that we read about London from Pip are extremely powerful describing words that portray a negative image of London. He uses words such as ‘shameful place’, ‘ all asmear with filth and fat and blood and foam. ” This creates a very dirty image in my mind of London and how he sees it. Also the repetitive usage of ‘and’ creates emphasis on the fact that London is extremely unclean and polluted.
This is significant as you can compare it to his village of Kent where he comes from. This showed me how he has changed in his opinion of London from what he dreamed about. He thought that London was a place of beauty but rather he comes and on his first day encounters such filthy settings and places. This just shows how he may slowly be gaining an appreciation of his home more than before. Another interesting impression that Pip describes about London is the fact that he noticed a Church NEXT to a Prison.
It shows that such things were not planed out correctly. How can you have a Church next to a Prison? A place of worship next to a place were the cruellest people are kept? It shows how even now, Pip has begun to notice and questions things that he sees, how he is more judgmental of his ‘dream’ city. Another characteristic that I noticed was the fact that there were a large number of drunken people loitering about. According to Pips description, these people were standing outside the courtroom listening in on what was happening.
This to me shows the social degradation that is present in the London society and it shows to Pip how different people are between both his hometown and London. It was not what he expected. But is something that he is likely to encounter as his time in London progresses. What happened next was something that I did not predict or expect to happen. This was the encounter with the drunken minister of Justice. This came as a surprise for me but it did serve as an excellent way to portray Pips impressions. The drunk Judge shows the depravity as well as the corruption of the Justice system.
Both are shown by the not only the drunken appearance of the Judge but also by the way in which the Judge tried to form a transaction with Pip in order to show him what a court room is like. This shows the level at which the people of London have stooped down to, the level that even those who are to uphold justice, give fairness between people and sustain equality are unable to do that. This has a lasting effect on Pips outlook and the type of person who he becomes later on during the course of the novel.
We even see a small form of a supposed sense of humour from Pip who tells us how the Judge was even kind enough to show him the gallows, the area where people are publicly whipped, the room from which the culprits are brought from and even went on to tell Pip how there was to be four hangings in two days time. This ‘humorous’ perspective is Pips way of being sarcastic in my estimation. He is trying to show how backward London really and truly is. It also showed me the apparent innocence of Pips character at this stage as he narrates, “This was horrible, and gave me a sickening idea of London”.