Illustration of Pip visiting a graveyard

Great Expectations

by Charles Dickens

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What does the convict tell Pip to bring him?

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At the graveyard at the beginning of chapter 1, Pip hears a man telling him to stand still or "I'll cut your throat." A man appears, dressed in "coarse grey" with a "great iron on his leg." Pip observes that he is limping. He appears to have been stung by nettles and cut and bruised by flints and stones from head to foot.

Grabbing Pip by the chin, the man asks him where he lives and who he lives with. When Pip tells him that he lives with a blacksmith, the man suddenly becomes interested and demands that Pip bring him a "file" and "wittles" (this mispronunciation of "victuals," meaning food) to the old Battery early the next morning. If Pip doesn't, the man says, he will order his companion to tear out Pip's heart and liver.

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In the exposition to Great Expectations, the "fearful man in coarse gray" tells Pip to bring him some "wittles," food, and a file.  After having shaken Pip upside down and telling Pip that he will cut out his liver and heart if he does not comply, the large, foreboding man terrifies Pip into complying with his wish.  Yet, the kind-hearted Pip also has sympathy for this poor creature who trembles.  With concern, later Pip asks the convict if he has the flu, and the convict replies that he believes so.

Pip's act of thievery from the pantry of Mrs. Joe's kitchen causes humorous repercussions on Christmas Day when Uncle Pumblechook drinks from the glass that should contain brandy, but the bottle from which it comes has been refilled with tar water from a nearby jug by Pip, who was mistaken as to the contents.

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