The well-known novel Great Expectations was the last great work by Charles Dickens. It is about an orphan, Pip, who is brought up in the early nineteenth century.
Pip meets a girl named Estella who is of the upper class, this encounter leads him into the dream of becoming a gentleman. He is introduced to a lawyer, Mr. Jaggers, who becomes his guardian while staying in London. When he reaches London and enters Mr. Jaggers office, his thoughts are revealed and the room is put into detailed description. The use of diction, narrative voice, and setting help the readers learn more about Jaggers, contributes in creating an interesting atmosphere, as well as foreshadowing future incidents.
The passage (in chapter 20) where Pip reveals to us the inner qualities and setting of Mr. Jaggers room, the diction used is extremely significant. Throughout the majority of the passage, Pip uses negative wording in order to express Mr. Jaggers character. The features described in the room link directly to Mr. Jaggers personality. The room was lighted by a skylight only and was a most dismal place. The darkness expressed through these words relate to Mr. Jaggers occupation as a criminal defense lawyer. The dullness and guilt involved in doing his job is also shown here. The mention of casts and coffins sets a mood of death within the setting and scene. These words create a creepy atmosphere in which foreshadows that Mr. Jaggers newfound involvement in Pips life will not necessarily be all good. This is contradictory to how Pip feels pursuing his dream into becoming a gentleman. The distorted adjoining houses looking as if they had twisted themselves to peep down at me. Being that Mr. Jaggers is a criminal defense lawyer and deals with many underworld clients, its as if he is also playing the bad guy. These adjoining buildings act as if they are watching his every move. The place seems so dirty, with the blacks and flies everywhere and everything layered with dust and grit that lay thick. Pip, the narrator, repeatedly uses words such as twisted, distorted, dreadful, and twitchy while describing the office. All these words create an eerie atmosphere as well as a spooky image of Mr. Jaggers. Mr. Jaggers is a powerful character that is harsh, and everything about him seems frightening and fierce. The diction used in this passage just gives him an overall bad image.
Pip, the orphan, acts as the narrator throughout the whole novel. His tone of voice is very important in contributing to the effect of the present scene. In this passage, Pip stares in awe around the room, he talks of the accessories in Mr. Jaggers room as if they are real. I really could not bear the two casts on the shelf above Mr. Jaggers chair, and got up and went out. Pips own action of having to leave the room at such an expense proves to the reader how awful the room is. As the room links to Mr. Jaggers character, this makes the reader in turn, become fearful of Mr. Jaggers. Pips narrative voice is also very confused. I wondered whether the two swollen faces where of Mr. Jaggers family. His confusion is able to strike the reader as very observant with all the questions that he has to ask. Pips very detailed description of Mr. Jaggers room indicates to us the exact first impression that Pip must have of the lawyer: Mr. Jaggers is shown to be a frightening fellow. The narrative voice of Pip is useful in helping the reader understand Mr. Jaggers character more clearly in this passage.
The setting of Mr. Jaggers room is essential in explaining to the reader, indirectly, what the mans personality is like. Mr. Jaggers own high- backed chair was of deadly black horsehair, with rows of brass nails round it, like a coffin. The high- backed chair acts as an instrument in expressing Mr. Jaggers powerful character. It is ironic how someone with so much power would use horsehair, killing an animal, to use as part of his furniture. And yet, this hair is nailed down onto the chair, as if the power would run away. An old rusty pistol, a sword in a scabbard, several strange- looking boxes and packages. The objects that are lying around his room dont seem like things that a real lawyer would have laying around in his office. There is not so many papers about which is also quite odd. Two dreadful casts on a shelf, of faces peculiarly swollen, and twitchy about the nose. These casts being twitching about the nose might act as the upper class why are once again watching Mr. Jaggers. Or maybe it is just a symbol of his connection to the upper class society. The setting of Mr. Jaggers office is greatly significant in illustrating to us his character.
The passage where Mr. Jaggers room is keenly described by Pip is valuable in giving the reader a clearer perspective of the lawyer. Mr. Jaggers business- like mannerism and harsh qualities are shown through this passage. Pips narrative voice was important as well as the setting itself. The words that Pip used and his action of leaving the close room shows the frightening side of Mr. Jaggers personality. The literary devices such as diction, narrative voice, and setting are significant in developing Mr. Jaggers character.