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Great Expectations Symbols

In: English and Literature

Submitted By Josiah27
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AP English
Great Expectations Symbol Essay
Josiah Enos

In Charles Dickens Great Expectations, symbolism is prevalent throughout the story. Dickens adds meaning to otherwise irrelevant things, such as the mist, which clouds some of the story. In doing so, he adds a hidden meaning to these objects, forcing the readers to think. The mist captures aspects of mystery and also of surprise, it is a part of who Pip is. By using the mist as a symbol, Dickens represents the mystery and indecision overshadowing Pip. Great Expectations cleverly uses symbolism to represent something much more significant than what is on the surface. Dickens uses the mist to represent the clarity needed to think. Pip is someone who struggles to find himself, to find where he belongs. He feels comfortable in the mist, as it hides and obscures him from the world for a short time. It grounds him, reminding him that no matter where he goes he will always be just a laboring boy. It's something that he is familiar with, as it was part of his turbulent childhood. The mist knows Pip, and likewise, Pip knows the mist. In the mist and its obscure nature, Pip becomes transparent. It gives him answers, " the mists were rising as I walked away… Biddy was quite right, all I can say is—they were quite right, too" (Dickens, p. 432) the mist knows the cowardly tendencies of Pip. Seeing the moves he is going to make before he makes them. The mist brings Pip back, reminding him of who and what he is. The mist is also symbolic of danger, and mystery. Through the mist we are introduced to the fearsome character of Magwitch. As Magwitch emerges from the mist it is plain to see that he is a “ a fearful man… with a great iron on his leg” (Dickens P, 32) he is a prisoner looking to free himself. The mist surrounded Magwitch much like it did with Pip. While for Pip it grounded him, the...

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