How does Charles Dickens use setting to develop Wemmick?Chapters 25-26 of Great Expectations

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Before Pip walks to Wemmick's home with him, he knows only a man with "a post-office mouth" who simply takes in information and delivers information in a business-like fashion that reveals no personality.  However, when Pip and Wemmick arrive at Walworth, Pip is amazed,  

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....

I think it was the smallest house I ever saw; with the queerest Gothic windows....and a Gothic door, almost too small to get in at.

After they cross a plank over a mini-moat, Wemmick informs Pip that at nine o'clock he fires a small cannon for his deaf Aged Parent, who delights in the explosion.  In the back, Wemmick has a mini-farm of pigs, fowl, and rabbits with a garden. 

"Well, it's a good thing, you know.  It brushes the Newgate cobwebs away and pleases the Aged."

Pip thoroughly enjoys his evening as he perceives another side to John Wemmick, that of a devoted son who loves animals and has a warm personality.  However, in the morning as Pip and he walk to London, Wemmick "seemed to get drier and drier as we went along."

The little castle named Walworth walls in Wemmick's loves:  his father, his animals, his garden.  Once Wemmick is outside his small fortress, he builds figurative ramparts around him by making his face wooden and his emotions impenetrable.  Because he places these walls around his emotions, Wemmick fails as a father-figure for the orphan Pip who continues his search for such a man.


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Great Expectations

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