Group 4: Refelction

Group 4: Places That Show The Development Of Pip

By: Kathryn Capone, Emma Sens, Clare Corbett, Cameron Luquer, Kristopher Bangsil, and Isa Higgins

Our goal with this project was to delve deeper into the places that Pip visits in Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, and learn about how they affect who he is and who he becomes. All of these locations influence Pip in some way; they all impact his behavior, thoughts, and/or growth throughout the novel. Some of the same places even have a different meaning to him as the novel progresses. Our map that we made can be helpful to anyone who has read Great Expectations and wants to understand more about how certain places connect with Pip. They can click through the locations on our map to use as a study tool, or simply use the map to learn more about Pip’s connections to different locations and how they influence him. Overall, we wanted to use this map to explore Pip’s journey in a more tangible way to examine how he develops.

The process to complete this project required each of us taking 10 chapters from Great Expectations, and making a list of the different places that Pip visits. Then, we had to narrow down our list to only the most significant places; our lists in the beginning were long, so we had to decide which ones we wanted to write about. We chose the ones that we thought seemed to impact Pip the most. Next, we created our map and we each marked the places that we chose. Notably, some research was involved in finding these places because the novel itself wasn’t fully clear as to where some of these places are in real life. For instance, the Halfway House and Marshes involved some research to approximate where they were. After that, we all had to make our connections between what happens to Pip at our chosen locations and describe how they influence his characterization. Then, we put these connections in the descriptions of each of the places marked on the map. Additionally, we found pictures online of most places to give a visual of what they look like, and we made sure that they are all labeled for reuse to avoid copyright. Using Google Maps offered an interesting and innovative way of documenting Pip’s character growth in a more tangible medium. When looking at the map and reading the descriptions, you can see how each space mold Pip and how with every lesson learned, his expectations change. One thing that is not shown by the map is how some marked places are important to multiple chapters since they are commonly visited places by Pip. However, this obstacle was tackled in giving descriptions of the overarching meaning of a place in tandem with specific recountings of events that occurred at that location. 

One example of a connection we made between a place and Pip’s characterization is in chapter 54. This is when Pip is on the Thames River with Magwitch and he has a huge revelation about him. After they’re caught by the customs officers Pip states, “For now, my repugnance to him had all melted away; and in the hunted, wounded, shackled creature who held my hands in his, I only saw a man who was meant to be my benefactor” (75). Thus, he realizes that Magwitch was meant to be his benefactor and he no longer feels any judgement towards him. Interestingly, his revelation happens on a river, which could be symbolic because the water could represent a “baptism” for Pip; this is because he is able to wash away his previous mistakes in judging someone based on the label of a “convict,” and gets rid of believing in the assumptions that society makes about him. Essentially, Pip now sees Magwitch as a kind and sympathetic man; he uses the language of “hunted,” “wounded,” and “shackled” when describing Magwitch. All in all, Magwitch is no longer the scary and intimidating creature he previously thought that he was. Here, our connection that we made is that the water of the Thames allowed for Pip to fully cleanse himself and represents how he is a fully changed person from before because he no longer cares about labels or his status. 

These connections, and the project itself gave us a deeper understanding of who Dickens was and what his beliefs were, taught us how to create our own Google Maps, and we were able to develop deep connections with the novel about Pip as a character. In creating this map, we were able to see how various characters relate to different places and how illuminating it can be to see a character outside of the place they were initially introduced in. For example, when Joe goes to visit Pip in London, a time when he’s becoming a “proper gentleman”, he makes a conscious effort to refer to Pip as “sir” because of his newly elevated status. Joe rarely slips in his polite dialogue, and when confronted about it he explains how he must treat Pip properly now that their roles have changed. In seeing Joe out of his house and out of the forge, we are able to see other aspects of his character that we may not have previously seen, which is also true to Pip and how different locations and people bring out different parts of his identity.

This is the link to our map with all of the places we selected to demonstrate Pip’s character development along with explanations.

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