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Ours was the marsh country, down by the river, within, as the river wound, twenty miles of the sea. My first most vivid and broad impression of the identity of things, seems to me to have been gained on a memorable raw afternoon towards evening. (1.1.3)
Pip’s hometown of Kent is inextricably linked to the ocean and to all of the emotion attached to an ocean. The landscape of Pip’s hometown seems to mirror Pip’s inner landscape.
It was a rimy morning, and very damp. I had seen the damp lying on the outside of my little window, as if some goblin had been crying there all night, and using the window for a pocket-handkerchief. Now, I saw the damp lying on the bare hedges and spare grass, like a coarser sort of spiders' webs; hanging itself from twig to twig and blade to blade. On every rail and gate, wet lay clammy; and the marsh-mist was so thick, that the wooden finger on the post directing people to our village – a direction which they never accepted, for they never came there – was invisible to me until I was quite close under it. Then, as I looked up at it, while it dripped, it seemed to my oppressed conscience like a phantom devoting me to the Hulks. (1.3.1)
The mists distinguish Pip’s homeland. They make it impossible to see. They signal a dream-state and are indicative of a larger, oppressive force.
The journey from our town to the metropolis, was a journey of about five hours. It was a little past mid-day when the four- horse stage-coach by which I was a passenger, got into the ravel of traffic frayed out about the Cross Keys, Wood-street, Cheapside, London. (2.20.1)
While five hours doesn’t seem like a long time, it serves to indicate that London and Kent were two very different places with lots of land between them. The distance serves to separate the two regions even more. When Pip chooses to go home, it’s important to have this context in mind. It’s a full day’s journey.