In Great Expectations, how does the atmosphere differ in Wemmick's and Jaggers's houses?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The atmosphere in Jaggers house is cold and dismal, while Wemmick’s is homey and pleasnt.

Wemmick lives in the neighborhood of Walworth in a little cottage.  Wemmick’s house is literally his castle.

Wemmick's house was a little wooden cottage in the midst of plots of garden, and the top of it was cut out and painted like a battery mounted with guns. (Ch 25)

Wemmick’s house is very quaint and whimsical, because it pleases his father, the Aged Parent.  It is a very small house even to Pip, painted to look like gun turrets and with “Gothic windows” and a door.  He even fires a gun every night at nine o’clock, and there is a real flagstaff.  Wemmick keeps pig, chickens, and rabbits, and even has a garden.

Jaggers lives in a better house in a better neighborhood, but it is much gloomier.

He conducted us to Gerrard-street, Soho, to a house on the south side of that street, rather a stately house of its kind, but dolefully in want of painting, and with dirty windows. (ch 26)

Wemmick warns Pip about Jaggers’s house when he invites Pip to his.  Jaggers never locks his doors or windows, because no one dares rob him.  Jaggers has nothing valuable though, so the pleasure would be his if anyone tried to rob him.  Everything is described as dark, bare, or gloomy.

Jaggers and Wemmick both deal with their profession differently.  Wemmick chooses to forget about work and be as whimsical as possible at home.  Jaggers carries the gloom home with him.

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Great Expectations

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