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What are the signs of Mrs. Pocket's preoccupation in Chapter 22 of Great Expectations...
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As in his other works, in Great Expectations there is what is referred to as a "double narrative" in which Dickens is both sentimental and cynical, playful and severe, imaginative and realistic. These juxtaposing narrative tones often are evidenced in a single scene. Chapter XXII and XXIII contain examples of this double-narrative with a comic-irony of narrative tone.
When Pip is introduced to Mrs. Pocket by her son Herbert, for instance, she glances up from a book she is reading and asks him, "I hope your mama is quite well?" And, although taken aback by the question, Pip replies that if she were there, she would have been well and appreciative of the "compliment," Mrs. Pocket takes no notice, but rambles about something else.
In another instance, Pip comments that he notices that the children were not being "brought up"; rather, they were "tumbling up" as any time they pass before Mrs. Pocket, they trip over a footstool that she has hidden under her skirts. Oblivious to their plights, the children must be rescued by the servant, humorously named Flopson, who retrieves seven times the hankerchief of Mrs. Pocket, who seemingly is preoccupied by a book. The comic-irony of her preoccupation of her reading is, of course, that the reader wonders how she could possibly concentrate on printed pages when she is unaware of children tripping over her, and objects dropping from her hand.
Posted by mwestwood on July 31, 2010 at 2:00 AM (Answer #1)
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