Week 13: Dirty Old London

A change of scenery this week, as the second stage of Pip’s expectations opens in “ugly, crooked, narrow, and dirty” London. Pip is an unimpressed tourist, visiting the city for the first time and focusing almost exclusively on the “dismal”: the word is used six times in these two chapters, from the personified “dismal rooms” to the “dismal atmosphere”, “dismal trees”, “dismal houses” – and even “dismal sparrows” and “dismal cats”, as the environment rubs off on its inhabitants. Perhaps Pip is a little homesick? It’s certainly a stark contrast to the sentimental end to the chapter before, with its description of the “peaceful and quiet” village with its “light mists”. Continue reading “Week 13: Dirty Old London”


Week 12: Armageddon out of here

The close of this week’s instalment informs us that ‘This is the end of the first stage of Pip’s expectations’. Rather ominous, you might think or, alternatively, anti-climactic. After all, the end of the first stage suggests we are still at the beginning, or at least the end of the beginning, aka: the middle. But actually there’s a lot in the tone and content of this instalment that emphasises the end of an era. Continue reading “Week 12: Armageddon out of here”

Week 11: A Turning Point

And so, the moment we’ve all been expecting! (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) It’s been a while since we’ve had a single chapter instalment, but it seems to suit this week perfectly as the narrative focuses on a relatively short period of time – namely a single (particularly eventful) Saturday night. This instalment naturally drew my mind back once more to Pip’s memorable image of the chain of iron, gold, thorns or flowers that we discussed on the blog in Part 6, and which came up again in our comments last week. Here we move rapidly from just another night at the pub with Mr Wopsle and his amateur dramatics to the realisation of Pip’s greatest dream – a ‘first link’ on a memorable day that seems to be distancing us from the world Pip has experienced so far and setting him off on an entirely new trajectory. Continue reading “Week 11: A Turning Point”