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Great Expectations > GE, Chapter 05

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message 1: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim | 5523 comments Mod
Hello all my dear friends,

This installment began with Chapter 5 Pip finds soldiers at the door at the same moment Mrs. Joe finds her pie is gone. The appearance of the soldiers makes her forget about her missing pie, for the time being anyway. One of the questions I have is about the following sentence:

“Excuse me, ladies and gentleman,” said the sergeant, “but as I have mentioned at the door to this smart young shaver,” (which he hadn’t), “I am on a chase in the name of the king, and I want the blacksmith.”

Now what I'm wondering is why the sergeant tells them he has already mentioned his reason for being there to Pip when he hadn't really done it? But now he does tell them - Pip included - that they are in need of a blacksmith to work on a pair of handcuffs that aren't locking properly, they need them fixed as soon as possible because they are seeking two escaped convicts believed to be out on the marshes. As Joe works in the forge the soldiers come into the house and:

"they stood about, as soldiers do; now, with their hands loosely clasped before them; now, resting a knee or a shoulder; now, easing a belt or a pouch; now, opening the door to spit stiffly over their high stocks, out into the yard. "

This next sentence is probably my favorite in this chapter:

"All these things I saw without then knowing that I saw them, for I was in an agony of apprehension. But beginning to perceive that the handcuffs were not for me, and that the military had so far got the better of the pie as to put it in the background, I collected a little more of my scattered wits."

For the next two hours Joe works on the handcuffs and the sergeant spends his time complementing Mrs. Joe and Mr. Pumblechook, the two people in the room who who least deserve any complements. Oh, and drinking Mr. Pumblecook's wine. His gift to Mrs. Joe. Finally, Joe is finished and he, Pip, and Mr. Wopsle go along with the soldiers in search of two escaped convicts. Pip tells us that none of the other villagers join them for:

the weather was cold and threatening, the way dreary, the footing bad, darkness coming on, and the people had good fires in-doors and were keeping the day."

The weather sounds wonderful to me. If I were Pip the last place I would want to be is anywhere near the two convicts, especially "his convict" I would be afraid that the convict would assume I was the one who told the soldiers where he had been hiding. This doesn't seem to occur to Pip however until they are far from town. And they do find the convicts, mostly because the two men are shouting at each other, not a particulary brilliant thing to do if you are attempting to escape from soldiers, or police, or whoever else may be chasing you. But they are shouting and the two convicts are discovered together, fighting furiously with one another in the marsh. Pip's convict makes sure that they know that it is he who "took" the other convict, and the other convict tells them that Pip's convict tried to murder him. Whatever is going on they are now captured. Pip’s convict protects Pip by saying he had stole some "wittles" from the blacksmith and tells Joe that he is sorry to have taken his pie, but Joe tells him he is welcome to it, "so far as it was ever mine" which I suppose means Mrs. Joe never would have let him have it. The convict is now taken away to a prison ship and Pip and Joe see him put into the boat. Pip tells us:

"Cribbed and barred and moored by massive rusty chains, the prison-ship seemed in my young eyes to be ironed like the prisoners. We saw the boat go alongside, and we saw him taken up the side and disappear. Then, the ends of the torches were flung hissing into the water, and went out, as if it were all over with him."

What is a prison ship anway? Does it just sit there with prisoner's living in it? Or is it taking the prisoner's somewhere?

Why do you suppose the convict was in the story in the first place? Will he be back or is this event going to effect Pip's life in some way for the rest of the book? You know, waking up in the middle of the night from a dream about the convict even after he is no longer a child, something like that. Maybe it had a meaning I missed.


Tristram Shandy | 4344 comments Mod
I did not want to lose the following quotations, especially the one about the blades of grass, and so I'm making them again here:

Chapter 5 is full of splendid little passages, e.g. the reference to Mr. Pumblechook's "fat sort of laugh", which sums up his character pretty well. Then there is the following observation, which forebodes no good, and is just a linguistic gem:

"the shudder of the dying day in every blade of grass"

Isn't that creepy, and full of meaning? Or the end of the chapter, where we get this about the convict:

"No one seemed surprised to see him, or interested in seeing him, or glad to see him, or sorry to see him or spoke a word" -

you can really sense how hopeless the convict's fate lies before him, and then the chapter ends like this:

"Then, the ends of the torches were flung hissing into the water, and went out, as if it were all over with him."

It's nearly like watching a film.


Everyman | 829 comments Mod
Kim wrote: "One of the questions I have is about the following sentence:

“Excuse me, ladies and gentleman,” said the sergeant, “but as I have mentioned at the door to this smart young shaver,” (which he hadn’t), “I am on a chase in the name of the king, and I want the blacksmith.” ."


Well, isn't it possible that the sergeant did in fact mention it, but Pip was momentarily traumatized by the appearance of armed soldiers at the door at the very moment he was expecting the sky to fall about his head for the theft of the pie, and his mind simply didn't take it in? I think this may be a very subtle but clever way of telling us how frozen in shock Pip was when he first opened the door.


Everyman | 829 comments Mod
Tristram wrote: "It's nearly like watching a film."

Film noir?


Xan Shadowflutter (shadowflutter) | 867 comments "Young shaver." Taken one way this would mean Pip is older than I thought. But I looked up "shaver," and one of the definitions is "young child, especially a boy." That would make him younger than I thought. Dickens!!


Bionic Jean (bionicjean) We're never really told why Joe and Pip accompany the soldiers to look for the convicts. They have to run along at quite a pace to keep up. Is it just for the thrill? They certainly don't feel at all keen to catch them, and in fact feel quite sorry for the convicts when they are caught.

I seem to remember reading that the general public were often on the side of the convict, as people could be transported - or even hanged - for very minor offences indeed, such as stealing fruit from a market stall. So more major crimes were unlikely, and that perhaps explains the sympathy we see for them here, rather than any vengeance often displayed by crowds, whipping themselves up at public hangings. We can also see, even at this early stage, that there is no love lost between these two convicts, and that "Pip's" convict is very keen to impress on the soldiers that he had captured the other one for them. It makes us wonder why.

Is anyone else finding that Pip's sister reminds them of Lady Dedlock's French lady's maid, in Bleak House? That whirlwind of demonic energy!


message 7: by Bionic Jean (last edited Feb 04, 2017 12:03PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) Interestingly convicts in Britain were not actually send to America at the time of Great Expectations any more. That stopped in 1776, and after then they were sent to Australia. It's estimated that 140,000 criminals were transported to Australia between 1810 and 1852 (8 years before this was published - it was actually abolished in 1857). It was for life. If a convict ever returned to Britain, they were hanged (by law, until 1834), even though the original offences were sometimes quite minor by modern standards.

I'm trying to work out Dickens's attitude to emigration and am remembering an earlier novel, Bleak House. In that, he he has the appallingly single-minded Mrs. Jellyby, whom he based on the missionary Caroline Chisholm, founder of the "Family Colonisation Loan Society" involved in the assisted emigation of young families to Australia for a better life. He does seem to be ambivalent about this - judgemental on the one hand (because of her neglect of what he saw as her family duties) and approving the concept on the other.

And only 5 years after Great Expectations began to be first serialised, 2 of Dickens' own sons were encouraged to do this, Alfred in 1865 and Edward ("Plorn") in 1868. Odd that this desirable state was so close in time to the novel he was writing, which is full of dread of an unknown land. He must have been casting his mind back quite a way!


Tristram Shandy | 4344 comments Mod
Xan Shadowflutter wrote: ""Young shaver." Taken one way this would mean Pip is older than I thought. But I looked up "shaver," and one of the definitions is "young child, especially a boy." That would make him younger than ..."

It's a nice expression, though ;-)


Tristram Shandy | 4344 comments Mod
Jean wrote: "We're never really told why Joe and Pip accompany the soldiers to look for the convicts. They have to run along at quite a pace to keep up. Is it just for the thrill? They certainly don't feel at a..."

I am sure that the two convicts could not really have committed any really atrocious crime because then they would probably have been hanged by the standards of their time. Maybe, they committed robbery, larceny or something of that sort - and being on board a prison ship was probably not much better than being hanged. Just imagine how little place there was on board these ships, and how dirty everything must have been. The convict's hunger, and his dog-like manner of dealing with his food, would also imply that rations on board those Hulks were probably neither ample nor wholesome.


Tristram Shandy | 4344 comments Mod
Jean wrote: "Is anyone else finding that Pip's sister reminds them of Lady Dedlock's French lady's maid, in Bleak House? That whirlwind of demonic energy!"

Mrs. Joe rather reminds me of Mrs. Snagsby in terms of being a quarrelsome wife, who - at the bottom of her heart - is probably not a bad person at all but just a bitter one. I am still ready and willing to stick up for poor Mrs. Joe on account of her being the only really adult and responsible person in the household and - as has been said elsewhere - the only one who does the daily chores in the Gargergy household.


Xan Shadowflutter (shadowflutter) | 867 comments I will add my own speculation. Mrs. Joe having witnessed so many siblings die and possibly her mother in childbirth may be reason enough there are no children in the Gargergy household. Losing child at that time was all too common, but that many is unusual, like a curse.


message 12: by Bionic Jean (last edited Feb 05, 2017 05:48AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) Tristram, "those two convicts could not really have committed any really atrocious crime because then they would probably have been hanged by the standards of their time"
Yes! You've zoomed in on it.


Peter | 2922 comments Mod
Jean wrote: "Interestingly convicts in Britain were not actually send to America at the time of Great Expectations any more. That stopped in 1776, and after then they were sent to Australia. It's es..."

Jean

Your information and study on the shipping of convicts is very interesting. I have just posted on your comments concerning clocks and time. If there is more that might be of interest to us on the shipping of criminals I'd be happy to keep an eye out for watches, clocks and other measurements of time.

There is SO much going on in this novel.


Bionic Jean (bionicjean) Isn't there! I'll keep an eye out Peter :)


Everyman | 829 comments Mod
Xan Shadowflutter wrote: "Losing child at that time was all too common, but that many is unusual, like a curse. ."

Apparently, I've read, the five little lozenges in the churchyard are based on an actual set of child memorials in the churchyard of St. James's Church in Cooling, which his son described as "his favorite church." However, the churchyard actually has a set of not five but thirteen child graves from two families who were related.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-ke...


Bionic Jean (bionicjean) Oh that is incredibly sad. I knew how common infant mortality was at that time, of course, but this really brings it home to you. One instance where Dickens was not at all guilty of exaggeration for effect :(


Mary Lou | 2228 comments Everyman wrote: "Xan Shadowflutter wrote: "Losing child at that time was all too common, but that many is unusual, like a curse. ."

Apparently, I've read, the five little lozenges in the churchyard are based on an..."


I recently saw this in a Dickens documentary. It was called "Uncovering the Real Dickens" with Peter Ackroyd. It mixed reenactments and fake interviews with Dickens, his family, and friends, along with straight information. The portrayals were kind of hokey, but made it a little less dry. At any rate, Ackroyd visited the cemetery Everyman spoke of, and I can see why those memorials would have impacted Dickens and made their way into one of his stories.


Tristram Shandy | 4344 comments Mod
Jean wrote: "Oh that is incredibly sad. I knew how common infant mortality was at that time, of course, but this really brings it home to you. One instance where Dickens was not at all guilty of exaggeration fo..."

In fact, Dickens must have felt that unless he lowered the number of gravestones down to five, people might accuse him of exaggerating for effect. That's an instance of very bitter irony.


Everyman | 829 comments Mod
Tristram wrote: "Jean wrote: "Oh that is incredibly sad. I knew how common infant mortality was at that time, of course, but this really brings it home to you. One instance where Dickens was not at all guilty of ex..."

Well, since there were 13 graves for two families, it could have been 6 from one and 7 from the other, so dropping it to five isn't that big a change.


message 20: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim | 5523 comments Mod


Three soldiers, the first carrying a torch, the others with bayonets fixed, are leading the convict away in chains.

Chapter 5

John McLenan

1860

Harper's Weekly 4 (8 December 1860)

Commentary:

The illustrator emphasizes the threat that the convict appeared to pose society by showing the scene in which soldiers with bayonets fixed lead away the recaptured convict. The smoking torch underscores the fact that this is a night scene, an effect to which the general blurriness of all but the first rank of soldiers contributes. Marsh reeds and cattails in the foreground economically establish the setting as the Thames marshes. Shortly Magwitch will exonerate Pip of the theft of the "wittles" from Mrs. Gargery's pantry.


message 21: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim | 5523 comments Mod


Then Joe began to hammer and clink, hammer and clink

Chapter 5

John McLenan

1860

Harper's Weekly 4 (8 December 1860)

Text Illustrated:

As I watched them while they all stood clustering about the forge, enjoying themselves so much, I thought what terrible good sauce for a dinner my fugitive friend on the marshes was. They had not enjoyed themselves a quarter so much, before the entertainment was brightened with the excitement he furnished. And now, when they were all in lively anticipation of “the two villains” being taken, and when the bellows seemed to roar for the fugitives, the fire to flare for them, the smoke to hurry away in pursuit of them, Joe to hammer and clink for them, and all the murky shadows on the wall to shake at them in menace as the blaze rose and sank, and the red-hot sparks dropped and died, the pale afternoon outside almost seemed in my pitying young fancy to have turned pale on their account, poor wretches.


message 22: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim | 5523 comments Mod

"The sergeant ran in first"

Chapter 5

F. A. Fraser

1877

An illustration for the Household Edition of Dickens's Great Expectations

Text Illustrated:

"It was a run indeed now, and what Joe called, in the only two words he spoke all the time, “a Winder.” Down banks and up banks, and over gates, and splashing into dikes, and breaking among coarse rushes: no man cared where he went. As we came nearer to the shouting, it became more and more apparent that it was made by more than one voice. Sometimes, it seemed to stop altogether, and then the soldiers stopped. When it broke out again, the soldiers made for it at a greater rate than ever, and we after them. After a while, we had so run it down, that we could hear one voice calling “Murder!” and another voice, “Convicts! Runaways! Guard! This way for the runaway convicts!” Then both voices would seem to be stifled in a struggle, and then would break out again. And when it had come to this, the soldiers ran like deer, and Joe too.

The sergeant ran in first, when we had run the noise quite down, and two of his men ran in close upon him. Their pieces were cocked and levelled when we all ran in.

“Here are both men!” panted the sergeant, struggling at the bottom of a ditch. “Surrender, you two! and confound you for two wild beasts! Come asunder!”

Water was splashing, and mud was flying, and oaths were being sworn, and blows were being struck, when some more men went down into the ditch to help the sergeant, and dragged out, separately, my convict and the other one. Both were bleeding and panting and execrating and struggling; but of course I knew them both directly."



message 23: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim | 5523 comments Mod


'With you — Hob and Nob,' returned the Sergeant [in the Forge prior to Magwitch's Capture]

Chapter 5

Charles Green

1898

Dickens's Great Expectations, Gadshill Edition

Commentary:

The Annotated Dickens provides the following caption, which is not in the original Gadshill Edition: "He drank to His Majesty's Health" (Ch. 5).

The scene contrasts Pumblechook's toadying to the forces of the Establishment (the soldiers sent out to recapture the escaped convicts) and Joe's doggedly working (right of centre, rear). While blond-haired Joe pays careful attention to the repair of the handcuffs that will be needed once the escapees are apprehended, the Seargeant flatters Pumblechook as a man who "knows what's what" as he consumes the port wine that the seed merchant has brought as a present for Mrs. Joe's Christmas dinner. Pip watches in amazement and apprehension (still mindful of how the tar-water in the brandy was detected) as the two toast one another, their bodies and raised arms effectively "imprisoning" the figure of Pip. Green has surely chosen this moment because it also implies a criticism of the military leader for drinking on the job.



message 24: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim | 5523 comments Mod

The sergeant ran in first when he had run the noise quite down

Chapter 5

Felix O. C. Darley

1861

Commentary:

"Whereas other illustrators, such as Marcus Stone, have entirely overlooked the escaped convicts, or have focused instead on the convict's dramatic encounter with Pip in the churchyard in the early chapters, as is the case with Furniss's illustration Pip's Struggle with the Escaped Convict, with only the benefit of McLenan's illustrations as a reference, Darley has realized the dramatic moment when the party of soldiers comes across the two escapees, wrestling in the mud of the marshes. The tangle of arms, the expressions on the faces, and the composition of the plate generally make it a highly effective realization of a textual moment rarely dealt with by illustrators. In contrast to the central position accorded Pip and his brother-in-law and surrogate parent in the Darley photogravure, note Fraser's emphasis on the wrestling convicts and the absence of Pip as observer in "The sergeant ran in first". Darley's precision in the depiction of the military uniforms suggests that he researched the matter in order to make the illustration convincing historically. The most apt point of comparison for Darley's dynamic handling of the convicts remains, however, John McLenan's serial illustration, the uncaptioned headpiece for the 8 December 1860 issue of Harper's Weekly: A Journal of Civilization."


Tristram Shandy | 4344 comments Mod
Thank you for completing our threads again, Kim!

(Shhh, here are some extra ones: !!!!!!!!!)


message 26: by Kim (last edited Feb 07, 2017 09:21AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim | 5523 comments Mod
Tristram wrote: "Thank you for completing our threads again, Kim!

(Shhh, here are some extra ones: !!!!!!!!!)"


You're a nut.......!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Tristram Shandy | 4344 comments Mod
Kim wrote: "Tristram wrote: "Thank you for completing our threads again, Kim!

(Shhh, here are some extra ones: !!!!!!!!!)"

You're a nut.......!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"


And as such the perfect customer for a netmeg grater!!!!!!


Everyman | 829 comments Mod
Tristram wrote: "Kim wrote: "And as such the perfect customer for a nutmeg grater."

You are both greater in my book.


message 29: by [deleted user] (new)

I'm also wondering about the convict, if he reappears later in the book. I read this so long ago, I can't remember.
I think the convict was put in the beginning of the book to add some sort of excitement to Pip's life...he certainly didn't lead much of an exciting life before that event happened. I think it showed, in a way, that maybe he also felt like a convict, being in the situation he was in, with little chance of anything exciting happening in his future.
It was interesting to see how his fear of his sister finding out what he had taken, compared to his feelings of guilt for stealing Joe's tool.


message 30: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim | 5523 comments Mod
Everyman wrote: "Tristram wrote: "Kim wrote: "And as such the perfect customer for a nutmeg grater."

You are both greater in my book."


:-)


Tristram Shandy | 4344 comments Mod
Julie wrote: "It was interesting to see how his fear of his sister finding out what he had taken, compared to his feelings of guilt for stealing Joe's tool."

A very interesting observation that links up fine with the remark I made in the thread on Chapters 12-13.


message 32: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim | 5523 comments Mod



Peter | 2922 comments Mod
The convict in the bottom right looks like a relative of Frankenstein... or Rambo.


Bionic Jean (bionicjean) What happened to Julie?


Tristram Shandy | 4344 comments Mod
Good question, Jean. I noticed that there are some posts made by a "deleted user".


message 36: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim | 5523 comments Mod
Me too. I was wondering how you get to be a "deleted user". We've had people leave our group before, someone named Adam from long ago and Joy, she contributed quite a lot for awhile. But they've both been gone for a long time and their comments went with them - no deleted user. So I don't know now, if you leave a group do all your messages stay behind? They must because I think ours are still in Pickwick, or do you delete them one by one before you go? And could deleted member mean she left goodreads altogether? I don't know.


message 37: by Bionic Jean (last edited Feb 24, 2017 09:07AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) Yes, it means she's left Goodreads altogether. Or deleted her account and started up another one.

It just seemed odd to have a "deleted user" so soon! I wonder why you'd join a group if you were so close to leaving GR - but then we often don't know the story, I guess.

I think when you leave a group usually your comments stay (mine have in The Group Which Shall Not Be Named) but there may be an option to delete them all. I've known comments disappear along with a member in another group. On the other hand I've some comments go and some stay, so that could be them deleting them one by one, as you said.


Tristram Shandy | 4344 comments Mod
So apparently, there are two similar but different phenomena: On the one hand, there are deleted users, whose comments still remain after these users have left Goodreads or started a new career under a new account. On the other hand, there are users - and I remember the two cases Kim refers to - whose comments disappear along with their accounts. It seems quite unlikely to me that somebody who leaves Goodreads should take the trouble of hunting down and then manually delete their sometimes innumerable comments.

This is mysterious ...


message 39: by Bionic Jean (last edited Feb 25, 2017 09:13AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) I think you're given the option when you delete your account, of also deleting all the comments you've ever made. But I have known people who delete "selected" comments too, or a whole thread if they started it. Or ... but perhaps we won't go into that possibility ;) So there are three - or maybe even four - scenarios.


Bionic Jean (bionicjean) Classics Illustrated pages 8&9:




Everyman | 829 comments Mod
Kim wrote: "We've had people leave our group before, someone named Adam from long ago and Joy, she contributed quite a lot for awhile. But they've both been gone for a long time."

Uh, your idea of a long time and mine are quite different. This group has only been in existence for a few weeks.


message 42: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim | 5523 comments Mod
Tristram wrote: "So apparently, there are two similar but different phenomena: On the one hand, there are deleted users, whose comments still remain after these users have left Goodreads or started a new career und..."

Well don't try it. At least we have the pleasure of knowing that we don't have to fear the creator of the group this time. I'm pretty sure we won't be kicked out as moderators in here! :-)


Everyman | 829 comments Mod
Kim wrote: "I'm pretty sure we won't be kicked out as moderators in here! :-)
."


Not as long as you admit that Little Nell is a wimp.

[Evil chuckle.]


Tristram Shandy | 4344 comments Mod
Everyman wrote: "Kim wrote: "I'm pretty sure we won't be kicked out as moderators in here! :-)
."

Not as long as you admit that Little Nell is a wimp.

[Evil chuckle.]"


I hereby solemnly declare that I do think Little Nell a wimp. Come on, Kim, it's not that difficult!


Tristram Shandy | 4344 comments Mod
Jean wrote: "Classics Illustrated pages 8&9:

"


Jean, you bring colour into my rainy day. My family is away for the weekend, and the house is so silent that I can actually listen to Handel. At the moment, I'm still enjoying this, but I somehow already miss my little ones - and my wife, who brings me up by hand ;-)


Bionic Jean (bionicjean) Here you are Tristram :)






Peter | 2922 comments Mod
Our cast of illustrators continues to expand.


Tristram Shandy | 4344 comments Mod
Nice cartoons, Jean! The antagonists may perish in horrifying ways but in my heart they'll live on forever ;-)


Bionic Jean (bionicjean) Can someone explain to me what "Decemberists" are though, please?


Xan Shadowflutter (shadowflutter) | 867 comments Jean,

They're an American Indie Rock Group :-)

I think, not sure, the term refers to revolutionaries in Tsarist Russian -- a December revolt.


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