How do you think Dickens creates mood when Pip returns to Satis House in Ch58 & Ch59He creates the mood by setting

5 Answers

mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

In Chapter LIX there is especially the emphasis of age and the ruin of life. Pip himself says of Stis House, 

For I had a presentiment that I should never be there again, and I felt that the dying light was suited to my last view of it.

The tone of this chapter is one of a death-knell:  As Pip walks behind the walls of High Street on his way to Satis House, the area is "as silent as the old monks in their graves"; once he arrives, an elderly woman lights the way up the darkened stairway at Satis House where Miss Havisham sits in a "ragged chair" by an "ashy fire" resembling her "broken heart which is dust."

"The mournfulness of the place and time" is pronounced as Pip strolls around the grounds, imagining the ghosts of the past as he recalls how Estella had "wrung" his heart. In an inspiring moment to check on Miss Havisham, Pip returns to her room to find her immersed in her own funeral pyre, as it were.  The poor woman is wrapped in white as a shroud, and to the end she begs Pip to forgive her.  He kisses Miss Havisham goodbye and in forgiveness.




kplhardison's profile pic

Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted on

The mood in Chapter 58 preceding Pip's first re-encounter with Satis house matches the first-person narrator's tone and is one of self-ironic disappointment. This mood is developed through vocabulary and imagery. For instance, words and phrases like heavy, fall, exceedingly cool, indifferent chamber, and pulled down. Contrasts are also important to developing the mood, for instance: high fortunes contrasting with heavy fall and indifferent chamber contrasting with superior accommodations.

In Chapter 59, the mood changes to one of gentleness and surprise. Again the vocabulary is significant in establishing this: bodily eye, fancy (mind's eye), and softly. Contrast plays a part in building the mood again but this time it is contrast in expectations. For instance, Pip's expectation is to see Joe and Biddy but he also sees what he could not have expected: "at the fire was -- I again!" Also, when he goes to Satis House , he expects to see the ruins; he did not expect to see Estella. Finally, he did not expect to have an opportunity to share Estella's life with her with "no shadow of another parting from her."

litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

There is a great contrast between the house at the end of the book and at the beginning, just as there is a great contrast in Pip. He has grown up, and sees things differently. As a child, the house was mysterious and mystical. It and Miss Havisham had special powers over him. When he returned, he saw it as it was. Its power is over. It is returning back to the real world, just as Pip has done.
accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Reference as well must be made to the symbolism of the description of the ivy in Chapter 59 which offers a mood of hope and of a brighter future for Pip and Estella. Note how, as Pip contemplates the disappearance of the former Satis House that he knew, he spots some of the old ivy and reports how it had "struck root anew, and was growing green on low quiet mounds of ruin." Surely this descriptive detail is immensely suggestive, as it foreshadows the way in which something good can grow from the "mounds of ruin" that represent Pip and Estella's lives.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I think that the first way in which Dickens does this is through his description of Satis House at the start of Chapter 58.  The house, like Pip, has come down in the world.  It is going to be auctioned off and pulled apart.  This sets the mood for these ending chapters.  In these chapters Pip has been pulled down and is going to end up as a chastened and better person.  The plight of the house sets the mood for this, making us contemplate how fortunes change in the world.