Renowned for his marvelous characterizations, Charles Dickens often develops themes and motifs through dialogue; in addition, he reveals much of the personalities through the speech of the various characters in Great Expectations. Here are some selected passages:
1. Miss Havisham, the strange woman in a tattered wedding addresses Pip as he looks around the grim room, "I am tired...I sometimes have sick fancies, and I ahve a sick fancy that I want to see some play. There, there!...Are you sullen and obstinate?"
2. Pip "No ma'am. I am very sorry for you and very sorry I can't play just now. If you compalain of me, I shall get into trouble with my sister, so I would do it if I could; but it's so new here, and so fine--and melancholy--" I stopped, fearing I might say too much....
3. Joe After Pip fabricates what has transpired at Miss Havisham's during his first visit, Joe tells him,"Dont' you tell me no more of 'em[ lies], Pip. That ain't the way to get out of being common, old chap. And as to being common, I don't make it out at all clear. You are oncommon in some things...Likewise you're a oncommon scholar."
4. Pumblechook "I wish you the joy of money." The materialistic Pumblechook has learned of Pip's "great expectations." Now, to Pumblechook Pip has been elevated.
5. Jaggers, who deals always with the criminal element has a low estimation of men. As Jaggers descends the stairs of Satis house and first encounters Pip he says, "Boy of the neighborhood? Hey?...Well! Behave yourself. I have a pretty large experience of boys, and you're a bad set of fellows. Now mind!"
6. Estella indicates how she is controlled and directed by Miss Havisham in the effort to wreak revenge upon the male gender, "We are not free to follow our own devices, you and I." Estella arrives in London and tells Pip she is going to live in Richmond where she will be educated as a lady.
7. Wemmick, with his mouth like "a post office" gives and take information in the most practical manner. One day, he advises Pip who wishes to "put some money down" in order to help Herbert, "Mr. Pip,...pitch your oney into the Thames and you know the end of it. Serve a friend with it, and you may know the end of it too--but it's a less pleasand and profitable end."
8. As Herbert Pocket and Pip talk in their new lodging, he tells Pip in a most cordial way, "...I dare say we shall be often together, and I should like to banish any needless restraint between us. Will you do me the favour to begin at once to call me by my Christian name, Herbert?”
9. Flopson, the frustrated maid of the Pockets continuously must rescue the children from harm as the distracted Sarah Pocket reads from a book of titles. She tells Mrs. Pocket in Ch. 22, "Why, if it ain't your footstool!” cried Flopson. “And if you keep it under your skirts like that, who's to help tumbling? Here! Take the baby, Mum, and give me your book.”
10. Magwitch explains his past to Pip the next day after his sudden appearance on his stairs, "...But to give it you short and handy, I'll put it at once into a mouthful of English. In jail and out of jail, in jail and out of jail, in jail and out of jail. There, you've got it. That's my life pretty much, down to such times as I got shipped off, arter Pip stood my friend." (The last line is certainly telling: Pip's kindness to him has been monumental in Magwitch's life.)