What atmosphere has been been created and what feelings are aroused in the reader of "Great Expecations"?The response will help me start my essay; so, please provide as much detail as possible...

What atmosphere has been been created and what feelings are aroused in the reader of "Great Expecations"?

The response will help me start my essay; so, please provide as much detail as possible and quotes. Thanks

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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As is typical of many of the novels of Charles Dickens, there is a sympathy that is aroused in the readers upon learning that little Pip is an orphan and brutalized by his sister and verbally ambused by the "impostor," Uncle Pumblechook.  The opening scene in which Pip stands in the grey marsh, looking at the granite tombstones of his dead mother and father, whom he never knew, is very poignant.  Added to this, the appearance of the "man in grey," [notice the repeated use of the word grey] the convict, offers not only a melancholic scene, but one that threatens the poor child.

When Pip returns home, he is threatened by his cruel sister, who "raises him by hand."  Only the tender Joe, whom Pip has

a new sensation of feeling conscious that I was looking up to Joe in my heart.

is a refuge from the harshness of life for Pip.  Later, when Pip is assigned to visit Satis House and Estella ridicules him as a "common Laboring boy," the sympathies of the reader are further aroused.  So, throughout the narrative, the reader hopes that Pip will attain the love of the aloof Estella and that he will become, as he desires, a gentleman.  But, the reader wishes for Pip to be a gentleman in the true sense of the word, not with the false value with which Pip perceives being a gentleman. 

Disappointed in Pip in the Second Stage as he rejects true values for the false ones, the reader is relieved in the Third Stage when Pip realizes his folly in rejecting Joe and in being repulsed by Provis.  For, Pip returns to the loving person that he was as a child; he returns to Joe and Biddy, expressing gratitude for their love. Even the cruel Miss Havisham is redeemed as she begs forgiveness of Pip; with this confession, the reader cannot help being touched. Indeed, "Great Expectations" is a heartwarming and poignant narrative.

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