What are 3 puns in Great Expectations?I have been asked to find 3 puns in Great Expectations. I found one about the tickler (the whip), and 1 about bolting food. If someone could find one more I...

What are 3 puns in Great Expectations?

I have been asked to find 3 puns in Great Expectations. I found one about the tickler (the whip), and 1 about bolting food. If someone could find one more I would greatly appreciate it. Please say what chapter and explain how it is a pun. Thank you soo much.

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A pun is usually the humorous use of a word to suggest two or more meanings at the same time. 

  • Known for his disdain of what he considered a frivolous aristocracy in England, Charles Dickens often satirizes those who admire and imitate this upper class.  For instance, when Herbert Pocket introduces Pip to Sarah Pocket, the wife of the unprepossing Matthew Pocket, she In Chapter 25aspires to this class and does little but read from a book of titles while her children tumble all over her. Pip watches the children tumble and be kicked around; then, he remarks that they appear to be "tumbling up."  The play upon tumble is that Mrs. Pocket does not work for her position; she "tumbles" into it.  She also fumbles at raising children; instead they are raised by nannies, who are superior in training their own children rather than their own.
  • In Chapter 25, Wemmick, the secretary to Mr. Jaggers, takes Pip home with him.  There, Pip observes how Wemmick cares for his father.  He even has a cannon to go off every night. 

At last, when we got to his place of business and he pulled out his key from his coat-collar, he looked as unconscious of his Walworth property as if the Castle and the drawbridge and the arbour and the lake and the fountain and the Aged, had all been blown into space together by the last discharge of the Stinger.  [the cord of the cannon is what the Stinger is termed.  Also, a stinger is the end of the bumble bee]

  • When Pip returns to Miss Havisham's and she asks him to walk her around the decaying table,

There were three ladies in the room and one gentleman. Before I had been standing at the window five minutes, they somehow conveyed to me that they were all toadies and humbugs, but that each of them pretended not to know that the others were toadies and humbugs: because the admission that he or she did know it, would have made him or her out to be a toady and humbug.

A toady is both a flatterer and a creature who sits and waits until something lands or dies near him; then, he swallows  it. The pun upon the word toady is that Camilla and Sarah Pocket are flatterers of Miss Havisham while at the same time they sit and wait for her to die.

In addition to these, there are several other puns in Great Expectations.  Like many Britishers, Dickens enjoyed satire and pun, "the lowest form of wit" said Shakespeare who entertained his groundlings with them.

bigdreams1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Let's start by defining a pun so we know what we're working with. A pun is the use of a word in a way that suggests it's different meanings. Having said that, I agree that your first two qualify as puns. Another would be in chapter 8 when Estella is playing cards with Pip. During the game, Estella refers to Pip as a "Jack" (which we know is a playing card, but is also another way of saying the word "knave" which means a low class person.

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Great Expectations

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