Did Dickens use figures of speech in "Great Expectations"? How can we describe his language in the novel?language= words used, expressions ... and so on.

Expert Answers
ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Dickens uses figures of speech throughout the novel. In fact his use of Pip, the name for the main character is a palindrome--a word that reads exactly the same backward or forward. The reason Dickens uses this device is because Pip is actually telling the story looking backwards but he tells it by starting at the beginning and working forward to the end.

The language of "Great Expectations" is first person. What is remarkable about the book is that Pip remembers so many small details about his fears and their causes, plus he is able to write down the many dialects and voices people use during the course of the novel. For example, he is able to capture the rough, uneducated speech of Magwitch and Orlick, the repetitious speech of Aged Parent and the two different ways Wemmick speaks, first in the office and then at home. When describing his childhood, Pip's language is both childish but it is mixed with adult description. For instance, he called the tombstones in the cemetery "lozenges", an image which connotes both small size but also something that is soothing to the throat, as if one had been crying. Thus, Dickens is able to bridge both the world of the maturing Pip and mix it with adult perceptions.

Read the study guide:
Great Expectations

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question