How does Dickens use satire in this excerpt from Great Expectations and what is the impact? "So, we all put our pocket - handkerchiefs to our faces, as if our noses were bleeding... Of so distinguished a procession."

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

This passage ridicules the ostentatious funeral ceremony that Trabb and Co. directs. It is first a procession in which the mourners must dramatize their grief by holding handkerchiefs to their faces, marching as though on parade all the way to the graveyard with ribbons streaming from their hats. 

In Chapter XXXV of Great Expectations, Pip returns home for the funeral of his sister only to find that the whole affair has been aggrandized. When Trabb and Co. are ready for Joe and Pip and the others to form a procession, they are instructed to be ready with their handkerchiefs and hold them to their noses as though they are crying. Trabb fidgets with their black coverings for the hats, their capes, and the tying of ribbons. On a cue, they all march to the graveyard. As they do so, "the obsequious Pumblechook" brushes Pip's cape, fiddles with his hat band, and whispers to him. Another couple, Mr. and Mrs. Hubble, are so proud of being included in this group that they are

...surpassingly conceited and vainglorious in being members of so distinguished a procession.

The neighborhood is also impressed with this funeral as boys run after them, shouting "Here they are!" and almost cheer when they probably do not even know who Mrs. Joe was. Certainly, she is given more importance dead than when she was alive.

 

 

 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial