The Chain Motif in Dickens' "Great Expectations."

Essay by PoloCollarsup69High School, 10th gradeA, May 2005

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Chris Collins

Mrs. Gibson

English 1 Honors

12 April 2004

"The Chain Motif"

In Chapter sixteen of Great Expectations Charles Dickens uses the chain motif. In Great Expectations Dickens uses many different motifs. Dickens uses the chain motif to help develop characters and to drive the plot.

First, Dickend states the Joe has been at the local bar smoking his pipe, again. "Joe has been at the Three Jolly Bargemen, smoking his pipe..." Dickens has mentioned Joe smoking his pipe before, making it possible to say Joe could possibly be a "Chain" smoker. This reiterates, or develops, Joe's character.

Second, It is written that Pip's sister was assaulted with something "Blunt and heavy," this weapon was a convicts chain. Though the word "Chain," is not used, "Leg iron," and "manacle" are. Pip notices that this is the same iron that was filed; filed bye a file he had supplied.

This sparks a guilt trip with Pip, further driving the plot.

Third, the word "Iron" is used again in the next paragraph when Pip is constructing his on idea of how the assault went down. He deduced that the "Iron," he found had been, "His convicts" iron. Pip starts to think that he is somewhat guilty, because he supplied the file in which the iron was filed, and if he had never done this, his sister would not be near fatally injured. This made him want to tell Joe about him aiding and abetting the convict. "I suffered unspeakable trouble while I considered and reconsidered whether I should at last dissolve that spell of my childhood and tell Joe all the story." This Iron weapon incident, drives the plot into many other conflicts.

Dickens uses the chain motif to help develop characters and to drive the plot. He furthers...

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