What literary devices are used  in Chapter XXVII of Great Expectations?Charles Dickens's Great Expectations

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While a poignant at the end, Chapter 27 exemplifies Dickens's satiric humor in Joe's London visit to Pip at Barnard's Inn and the absurdity of the situation.  As the chapter begins, Pip reads a letter from Biddy that contains figures of speech, especially

Metaphors (unstated comparisons)

"the light of a liberty" - [Biddy hopes that Pip does not think Joe is too bold in asking to come and visit him in London now that Pip is a "gentleman."]

"the love of poor old days" - This expression is a metaphor for the days when Pip and Joe had a loving father/son relationship.

 "a good heart" - This is a comparison of Joe's nature

"wrestles with Barnard" - A metaphor for Pip's efforts to make his apartment attractive, an effort that usually fails.

In the following passage, there are several metaphors: 1. Pip compares his debt to "occupying pages"; 2. he has been so spendthrigt that he hired a servant; 3. Pip is dominated by the servant instead; 4. the servant is compared to a monster;5. the servant boy is compared to "the refuse..."; and 6. the servant is likened to a gothic figure:

I enjoyed the honour of 1.occupying a few prominent pages in the books of a neighbouring upholsterer. I had 2.got on so fast of late, that I had even started a boy in boots...3.in bondage and slavery to whom I might be said to pass my days. For, after I had made 4.the monster (out of 5.the refuse of my washerwoman's family) ....and with both of these horrible requirements 6.he haunted my existence.

"This avenging phantom" is another unstated comparison to the servant.

‘Ceptin’ Wopsle; he's had a drop.”- Wopsle has fallen in social level.

“and I believe its character do stand i'; but I wouldn't keep a pig in it myself—not in the case that I wished him to fatten wholesome and to eat with a meller flavour on him.”  - Speaking of Barnard's Inn, Joe compares it to a pig sty. 

"... the bird's-nest under his left arm for the moment, and groping in it for an egg with his right" - Pip describes Joe's hat, comparing it to a bird's nest.

Similes (stated comparisons using as or like)

"Barnard was shedding sooty tears outside the window, like some weak giant of a Sweep."

:...he caught both my hands and worked them straight up and down, as if I had been the last-patented Pump."

"But Joe, taking it up carefully with both hands, like a bird's-nest with eggs in it..."

Satire (humor that ridicules) that provides comic relief

"as it is there drawd too architectooralooral.” -  Dickens pokes fun of Joe's attempts to sound learned.

I really believe Joe would have prolonged this word (mightily expressive to my mind of some architecture that I know) into a perfect Chorus, but for his attention being providentially attracted by his hat, which was toppling. Indeed, it demanded from him a constant attention, and a quickness of eye and hand, very like that exacted by wicket-keeping

  - In this passage, Dickens humorously describes Joe's awkwardness and satirizes the absurdity of the situation of Joe's visit that mortifies the snobbish Pip.

Visual Imagery

You won't find half so much fault in me if you think of me in my forge dress, with my hammer in my hand [alliteration with repetiition of /h/], or even my pipe

Allusions (famous references)

"Roscian…National Bard…” [Shakespeare]

 Blacking Ware'us             

[the blacking warehouse where Dickens worked as a boy]

 Chorus - [an allusion to Greek plays that had a chorus of speakers who commented on the action]


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Great Expectations

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