Great Expectations Questions and Answers
by Charles Dickens

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What is the significance of the hand motif in Great Expectations?

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Dickens uses the hand motif throughout Great Expectations as a way of indicating character. We're told, for instance, that Pip has been brought up "by hand," by a sister with a "hard and heavy hand." Then we have Estella's rude description of Pip's hands as "coarse," as those of a "common laboring boy". Pip, who so desperately wants to impress Estella, bemoans the fact that he has such rough hands. They clearly mark him out as one...

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