What literary terms are used in Great Expectations in chapters 40 and 41? Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

After encountering Magwitch in Chapter 39, Pip is faced with the dilemma of what to do for him.  He decides to tell people that his Uncle Provis has come to visit him and hide him.  And, although Pip does not have the Avenger with him, there is a woman and her niece who are exceedingly curious, snooping constantly on him.

I had no Avenger in my service now, but I was looked after by an inflammatory old female, assisted by an animated rag-bag (metaphor) whom she called her niece; and to keep a room secret from them would be to invite curiosity and exaggeration.

After Pip trips over someone on the stairs, he runs to the Watchman and asks him to bring his lantern so that they can find who it is. Pip narrates,

The watchman made more light of the matter (figure of speech)

meaning that the watchman does not think that there is anything to worry about.  Later Pip sits before the fire:

 I lighted my fire, which burnt with a raw pale flare (light and sensory imagery)

As Pip considers his situation, he narrates,

As to forming any plan for the future, I could as soon have formed an elephant. (simile)

In the morning, the old woman and

her niece came in—the latter with a head not easily distinguishable from her dusty broom (metaphor)

When Provis awakens and comes into Pip's front room, Pip asks him questions and feeds him.  As Pip watches he thinks that Provis

  looked terribly like a hungry old dog. (simile)

Provis then gets out his pipe

he put the surplus tobacco back again, as if his pocket were a drawer. (simile)

Another description of Provis uses imagery:

his furrowed bald head with its iron grey hair at the sides. (tactile and visual imagery)

Provis compares himself to a bird:

As to what I dare, I'm a old bird now, as has dared all manner of traps since first he was fledged, and I'm not afeerd to perch upon a scarecrow (metaphor)

and his bald head tattooed with deep wrinkles (metaphor,imagery) falling forward on his breast

In another description of Provis in Chapter 41, Pip narrates,

He took out his black pipe and was going to fill it with negro-head, when, looking at the tangle of tobacco in his hand, he seemed to think it might perplex the thread of his narrative. (metaphors) 

Read the study guide:
Great Expectations

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question