Symbolism of Mist and Personal Beliefs in Great Expectations

June 7, 2022 by Essay Writer

Symbolism in a text is provided to bring forth the deeper meaning that the author intended to convey. As characters grow and develop, they unlock what the symbolic effect that it may have on then. In the well-known book, Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, the mist symbolizes something that reveals the truth rather than obscures them. Mist is known for making it very difficult to see and, well for getting things wet; however, through Pip’s expectations the mist exposed Pip to more rather than hide him from the truth.

The first encounter Pip had with the mist introduced him to someone who would change his life. When Pip was caught upon the marshes, “the mist was heavier than before so that instead of [him] running at everything, everything seemed to be running at [him]” (Dickens 23). It seems as if the mist foreshadowed Pip’s expectations in the mere first chapters of the book. Dickens stated the mist was heavier than before, which could simply mean there was a great amount of mist, or it could mean that the mist was revealing the hidden truths that came with meeting the convict and the journeys that followed.

After Mrs. Joe’s funeral, where Pip still longed to be a gentleman, he made promises he couldn’t keep. Being the sweet gentleman boy that he was, he promised Biddy and Joe that he would return back to the marshes and accompany them throughout their time of grief. With a head full of doubt, Biddy challenged Pip’s promise and questioned him. In that moment he looked out towards the mist for assistance and “once more, the mists were rising as [he] walked away… and that Biddy was quite right, all [he] can say is – [the mist] was quite right too” (Dickens 357).

As Pip was contemplating his decision to return, he realized that the mist already unveiled his answer by rising in front of him, calling him back to his hometown, reminding him of his past as a blacksmith. Again, in this example, the mist symbolized the revealing of Pip’s expectations and truths. The mist made another appearance when “it had all solemnly risen now, and the world lay spread before [Pip]” (Dickens 410). At this point in Pip’s expectations, he thought he had everything figured out and believed he was destined to become a gentleman. Because the mist was not prominent due to the fact that it had rise, Pip’s views were ironically obscured in the pure light of day.


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