How to analyse a passage like this or any passage from Great Expectations:

Analyse the following passage from Great Expectations?

I put up for the night at the local inn, and got up early the next morning to go to Miss Havisham s. It was too early yet to pay my visit, so I walked aimlessly into the country thinking about my benefactor and painting brilliant pictures of her plans for me. She had adopted Estella, she had as good as adopted me, and it could not fail to be her intention to bring us together. She intended me to restore the old house, admit the sunshine into the dark rooms, set the clocks going and the cold fireplaces burning - in short, do all the manly acts of a prince in a romantic story, and marry the princess.

  • Could you please edit your question to clarify what sort of analysis is expected? Strictly speaking, a passage can be analysed in more than one way.
    – Tsundoku
    Dec 15, 2022 at 15:53

1 Answer 1


Methods and Techniques

In order to analyze this passage from Great Expectations, we should use a few different methods and techniques. We can begin by looking closely at the language used in each part of the text, as it will help us interpret what is being communicated or implied beneath the surface meaning. For example, phrases like "brilliant pictures" suggest that Pip has romanticized his benefactor's intentions for him, while words like "prince" make us think of chivalry, which helps us understand how he sees himself fulfilling her prophecies.

We can also draw attention to Dickens’ literary devices found within this extract, notably personification (e.g., painting a brilliant picture), which offer insight into not only Pip but Miss Havisham too, who clearly wields significant power if she holds enough influence over characters to bring them together with Estella in accordance with her plans. Also, repetition helps make the meanings of some ideas clearer. This is especially true for ideas about fixing up old houses and Princess-Prince stories that subvert expected gender roles. Repetition also goes well with imagery like comparing light and darkness or a fireplace burning, which suggests that warmth comes into open hearts after long periods of darkness, which means shyness has been overcome.

Overall, we can deduce that Miss Havisham has provided Pip with the opportunity of a lifetime; not only is he being given the chance to make something of himself through education and experience, but his ultimate goal may be romantic fulfillment. Therefore, by using a range of analysis methods and techniques combined together—close readings and interpretations, literary devices employed in Dickens’ writing such as imagery and personification—we are able to interpret this passage from Great Expectations more fully than if relying on one approach alone. It is through this holistic understanding that we can appreciate how the dialogue between Pip and Miss Havisham offers him hope and belief in himself to achieve his aspirations. To summarize, Miss Havisham's prediction of Pip's potential—to restore what was once old and broken and be rewarded in return with social status or a Prince-Princess type relationship—fuels Pip's desire for a better life.  


In this passage about Pip's aimless wanderings, he thinks about his benefactor's plans and paints a vivid picture of how he fixes up an old house so that "sunlight gets into the dark rooms" and "clocks start ticking." This is a metaphor for bringing order out of chaos and letting warmth into open hearts after long periods of darkness or shyness, as shown by the contrasts between light and dark.

Furthermore, Dickens employs personification when detailing how Miss Havisham intends for Estella and himself to be brought together. He not only foreshadows potential romantic resolutions later within the novel but implies significant power wielded over characters, literally molding them towards fulfilling her destiny-like prophecies like those found commonly in fairy tales—specifically here referencing Princes Meeting Princesses stories associated with chivalry themes underscored through words such as "prince." To summarize, using various literary devices in conjunction with close readings and interpretations provides us with both insight into character motivations and a better understanding of what makes this extract unique, i.e., readers have arguably been given hints previously unseen in other similar texts. By looking closely at the language and literary devices used in this passage from Great Expectations, we can see how Miss Havisham's prediction that things might turn out "far too good" than he could ever imagine or hope for gives Pip the chance to improve his social life and maybe find love. 

  • You nailed it, I can't ask for more. Thank you sooo much Dec 9, 2022 at 21:12

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