What feelings or ideas does the main character have in Chapter one of "Great Expectations"?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The main feelings the central character, Pip, has in Chapter 1 are fear, and a sense of being small and helpless in the face of belligerent forces much stronger than him.  Through his descriptions, he evokes the sympathy of the reader, describing himself initially as a "small bundle of shivers growing afraid of it all and beginning to cry".  An orphan, he has come to the graveyard to see the resting places of his parents and five young siblings.  While he is there, he is accosted by "a fearful man", before whose menace he "plead(s) in terror", his own eyes looking up "most helplessly up into his".

In his interaction with the man, who is obviously an escaped convict, Pip's terror and comparative insignificance is emphasized over and over.  The convict is "so sudden and strong" that he picks Pip up and flips him over with ease, making the world "go head over heels before (him)".  He threatens Pip with gory consequences, noting what "fat cheeks" the boy has, and offering to eat them.  Pip concedes that his cheeks probably are fat, even though the rest of him is "undersized, for (his) years, and not strong".

To increase the threat of terror and danger, the convict tells Pip "in fearful terms" that he is not alone, having with him another man, in comparison to whom the convict is "a Angel".  The convict warns Pip that if he doesn't do as he is told, his "heart and liver shall be tore out, roasted and ate" by his sinister companion (Chapter 1).

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Great Expectations

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