Compare the marshes to London and what they symbolize to Pip before his leaving for London. How does he feel about each once he has been in London?

Expert Answers
ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator


During the novel, Dickens sets up a contrast between the marshes, the town and London. The people in each setting are different and serve to differentiate the various parts of England and society. The marsh people seem to be more obvious and straightforward. Even the convict, however frightening he may seem, is set on one goal, escaping. Later, he is also just as centered on achieving another goal which is revealed later in the novel. Orlick is another person from the marsh who is so focused on his own desires that he cannot distinguish right from wrong. It is not a surprise when he attacks Mrs. Joe because she had the audacity to stand in his way. In the marshes, it is physical strength that is the most important. However, in the town, even Tragg's boy can make fun of Pip, even though Pip will have more money that he will ever have. The town is full of people who have ulterior motives and maneuver, not through brute strength, but though their own machinations and plots to try to get ahead. In London, the town is as the buildings. For instance, Jaggers is both feared and respected and seems to have no hidden agenda, but he is also impersonal. The only person in London who lets down his guard is Wemmick, and he is forced to lead a double life, one impersonal professional life at the office and then a wonderful home life at home. All the settings, London is the place where there is the least amount of individuality and those, like Wemmick that possess it are forced to keep it private. Once can hide in the marshes, but not in London where there are too many people to watch what happens. 


Read the study guide:
Great Expectations

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question