Illustration of Pip visiting a graveyard

Great Expectations

by Charles Dickens

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Pip's dream of going to London

All night their were coaches in my broken sleep, going to wrong places instead of to London, and having in the traces, now dogs, now cats, now pigs, now men - never horses. Fantastic failures of journeys occupied me until the day dawned and the birds were singing.

What does this passage depict of Pip's state of mind? Why does he see different animals but never horses?

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In Chapter XIX of Stage I, after telling Joe that he would rather walk to the stagecoach alone for fear that the contrast between his new suit and Joe's humble clothes would draw the attention of onlookers who were more urbane, Pip is ashamed of having said this.  In his sleep, he is fearful of his voyage as he sees all types of coaches going all different directions, just as he at this point is directionless.  His imaginings of different animals pulling the coach in the harness--"traces"--indicate his imaginings of his trip to London as one that portends failure, or at least, lack of direction.

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