Sunday, April 26, 2009

Great Expectations

Great Expectations Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

(Follow the chapter links for the Gutenberg online text of the book.)

Chapters 1-6

Ch. 1: The only image I have in my head from a movie is that of Robert DeNiro bursting out of the water, and that does not match up with the swampy scene conjured up by the book for me. No wonder I couldn't watch the movie.

Ch. 2: "My sister, Mrs. Joe, with black hair and eyes, had such a prevailing redness of skin that I sometimes used to wonder whether it was possible she washed herself with a nutmeg-grater instead of soap."

Oooooh. ouch. Joe's a good guy. I'm liking Joe. Sister, not so much. Will she be more than 2-dimensional? Pip picks the pie that was "put away so carefully." Uh-oh, Pip. Don't do that.

Ch. 3: "The mist was heavier yet when I got out upon the marshes, so that instead of my running at everything, everything seemed to run at me. This was very disagreeable to a guilty mind. The gates and dikes and banks came bursting at me through the mist..."
Love this. 2nd convict-->mystery coming?

Ch. 4: Mrs. Joe plays the martyr. So much family lost...where is her grief? Stolen pie on Xmas day...this does not bode well.

Interesting: the churchmen speak of of chopping up and eating Pip, just as the convict did.
Convict: "You fail...and your liver shall be tore out, roasted, and ate."
Mr. Pumblechook, on if Pip had been born a swine: "And what would have been your destination?" turning on me again. "You would have been disposed of for so many shillings according to the market price of the article, and Dunstable the butcher would have come up to you as you lay in your straw, and he would have whipped you under his left arm, and with his right he would have tucked up his frock to get a penknife from out of his waistcoat-pocket, and he would have shed your blood and had your life."

Off the mark regarding the Prodigal Son, I would say. Haha, tar water in the brandy! Pip is saved by the cop at the door re: pie.

Ch. 5: "I noticed that Mr. Pumblechook in his hospitality appeared to forget that he had made a present of the wine, but took the bottle from Mrs. Joe and had all the credit of handing it about in a gush of joviality. Even I got some."

Pip's convict gives himself up, the better to get...revenge? ...the real culprit?

Ch. 6: Pip can't tell Joe: "The fear of losing Joe's confidence, and of thenceforth sitting in the chimney corner at night staring drearily at my forever lost companion and friend, tied up my tongue."

Chapters 7-12

Ch. 7: Pip --> teaching Joe to read; Miss Havisham --> summons Pip to play
Ch. 8: Mr. Pumblechook's premises = farinaceous = having a mealy texture or surface; containing or rich in starch. ....oh, now I see.

of Estella: Though she called me "boy" so often, and with a carelessness that was far from complimentary, she was of about my own age.

Everything stopped at twenty minutes to nine. Pip couldn't be honest with Joe, but is with Miss Havisham. Estella has quite the attitude for one who follows a lot of orders.

Ch. 9: "I entertained an impression that there would be something coarse and treacherous in my dragging [Miss Havisham] as she really was (to say nothing of Miss Estella) before the contemplation of Mrs. Joe. Consequently, I said as little as I could, and had my face shoved against the kitchen wall. " Pip seems to have a natural inclination for tact.

Pip says Miss H is tall and dark. Wait, is that making her sound like his sister, who I notice he described as tall and bony with dark hair?
And then I told Joe that I felt very miserable, and that I hadn't been able to explain myself to Mrs. Joe and Pumblechook, who were so rude to me, and that there had been a beautiful young lady at Miss Havisham's who was dreadfully proud, and that she had said I was common, and that I knew I was common, and that I wished I was not common, and that the lies had come of it somehow, though I didn't know how.

This was a case of metaphysics, at least as difficult for Joe to deal with as for me. But Joe took the case altogether out of the region of metaphysics, and by that means vanquished it.

Hmmm. I wonder if this will be Pip's krypton. Will he be able to be manipulated when it comes to the 'region of metaphysics'?
Imagine one selected day struck out of it, and think how different its course would have been. Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day.
Pausing.... Hmmm. For me, it would be that day I paused at the bookshelf on Eastern Philosophies at the bookstore at St. John's and George Wenberg noticed and asked if I was wondering where to start. I started.

Ch. 10: Stranger plies Joe with drink. Stranger knew Pip's convict. Stranger has Joe's file that Pip gave to the convict. Stranger gives Pip a large amount of money by Pip's, Joe's, and Mrs. Joe's measure. Pip has a nightmare about the file.

Ch. 11:
Pip still "unwilling to play." Estella makes him cry. It is important to Estella and to Miss H that Pip think Estella's pretty.
But the black beetles took no notice of the agitation, and groped about the hearth in a ponderous elderly way, as if they were short-sighted and hard of hearing, and not on terms with one another.

These crawling things had fascinated my attention, and I was watching them from a distance, when Miss Havisham laid a hand upon my shoulder. In her other hand she had a crutch-headed stick on which she leaned, and she looked like the Witch of the place.
The place is creepy and weird, but interesting for a boy to explore, like abandoned houses rumored to be haunted. Then there's the weird vibes blatantly and deliberately created by Miss H between the children. Hints that she will be avenged of men through Estella.

And who's the boy who fights Pip, thus facilitating a kiss from Estella? Just how old is Pip, that he likes the crawlie things, but is taken in by a kiss?

Ch. 12: "When the day came round for my return to the scene of the deed of violence, my terrors reached their height. ...However, go to Miss Havisham's I must, and go I did. And behold! nothing came of the late struggle. It was not alluded to in any way, and no pale young gentleman was to be discovered on the premises."

So...Miss H is keeping Pip from apprenticeship, wants to keep him ignorant, and isn't paying him to spend countless hours in her creepy old house. The singing of Old Clem --> sounds surreal.

Only Biddy gets the truth from Pip. "Why it came natural to me to do so, and why Biddy had a deep concern in everything I told her, I did not know then, though I think I know now." Biddy is the girl teaching Pip everything she learns.
What could I become with these surroundings? How could my character fail to be influenced by them? Is it to be wondered at if my thoughts were dazed, as my eyes were, when I came out into the natural light from the misty yellow rooms?
She's putting a spell on him.

Now Miss H wants Joe to come too, to apprentice Pip at her place. This discombobulates Mrs. Joe.
When she had exhausted a torrent of such inquiries, she threw a candlestick at Joe, burst into a loud sobbing, got out the dustpan,—which was always a very bad sign,—put on her coarse apron, and began cleaning up to a terrible extent.
Oh wait. Is it because she wasn't invited, and these two were?

Reflection upon reading what I just wrote:

It seems all may hinge about that "one selected day." I should have been thinking of the "long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers." Snap! I think those are used to bind fairies, and I bet maybe they also can bind witches. Then there are the creepy crawlies, and Miss H looking like the witch of the place, the darkness and candles, and that girl, apprentice witch. The hangers-on, seeking the favor of the witch. How did I not get that when I even said she's putting a spell on him.

This would change the reading entirely. Boy howdy, then those movies really do miss it.

But then, it could be related to this sermon. Or perhaps that concept was floating about back then. I'll read it later if I get the time. I found that sermon by searching for complete term "chain of iron."

No comments: