Describe Pip's first meeting with the convict and his consequent suffering until he runs away with the food for the convict on the marshes.

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pmiranda2857 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Pip first meets Magwitch in the marshes as a young boy,  he is terrified at the sight of a man with a leg iron.  The convict threatens Pip and demands that he bring him a file and food.

Pip is so frightened of Magwitch, believing that he will kill him, if he does not obey, that he takes great risks at home, stealing food from Mrs. Joe's pantry.  It is important to note, that Pip also feels great compassion for the hungry man in the marshes.

Pip's suffering begins immediately, because as he tries to save his food portion for Magwitch, his sister thinks that he is gulping his food and therefore administers a dose of tar-water, as well as a stern beating.

"The feeling of guilt has an unsettling effect on Pip. He cannot sleep; he cannot think of anything but his promise to steal for the convict."

"Pip firmly believes that he is definitely on his way to join the convicts on the Hulks because he asks questions; even worse, in the morning he is planning to steal."


lit24 | Student

When the little boy Pip meets the escaped convict Magwitch he is overwhelmed by fear and guilt.

The first words uttered by the terrified Pip in the novel are:" 'O! Don't cut my throat sir,' I pleaded in terror." Pip has a harrowing time at the hands of the convict who threatens him that if he does'nt bring a file and some  food the next morning, his companion "a young man" will take out his heart and liver. At the end of Ch.2 the adult Pip reminisces about this incident and remarks:"few people know what the secrecy of my terror."

In Ch.2 the little boy Pip describes how guilty ["the guilty knowledge that I was going to rob Mrs.Joe"] he felt that he had to steal from his sister's pantry to supply food for the convict.

Childish fear and guilt are accentuated by the childish imagination of the little boy Pip. When he goes to steal the food from the pantry he imagines that every board was calling after him "Stop thief!"

Surprisingly, Pip is not frightened of his sister. She has been beating him up regularly with "Tickler" so much so that he has become accustomed to her constant abusive nature and is only "repulsed by her at every turn." Ch 2.

His only source of comfort is his sister's husband Joe whom he always regarded "as a larger species of child, and as no more than my equal." But unwittingly Joe gets him in trouble when Pip hides his bread slice in his trousers.

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Great Expectations

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