Why does Pip want to become a frog or an eel?

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It's not Pip who says he wants to become a frog or an eel, but Abel Magwitch. He says it right after a frightened Pip bids him goodnight in the churchyard where they first meet. The escaped convict is practically freezing to death out there on the cold Romney Marshes....

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It's not Pip who says he wants to become a frog or an eel, but Abel Magwitch. He says it right after a frightened Pip bids him goodnight in the churchyard where they first meet. The escaped convict is practically freezing to death out there on the cold Romney Marshes. Although Pip will soon be able to fetch him some food, drink, and a file to help Magwitch cut off his leg iron, he won't able to do anything to mitigate the harshness of these cold, wintry conditions.

Wet, muddy, and miserable, with his teeth chattering loudly inside his head, Magwitch thinks he'd be much better off being a frog, an eel, or some other cold-blooded creature better able to withstand such frightful conditions. If Magwitch could somehow miraculously turn into such a creature, he'd easily be able to hop or slither away from the detachment of soldiers out looking for him.

That Magwitch is able to introduce a touch of levity into his situation tells us a lot about his character. Despite being a rather forbidding-looking character, and despite having made lots of blood-curdling threats against young Pip, we sense that there's something more than meets the eye about this dangerous-looking escaped convict.

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