© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
 

Characters

Quote #37

And now, those six days which were to have run out so slowly, had run out fast and were gone, and to-morrow looked me in the face more steadily than I could look at it. As the six evenings had dwindled away, to five, to four, to three, to two, I had become more and more appreciative of the society of Joe and Biddy. (19.102)

One of the coolest things about Great Expectations is how accurately it conveys the way we experience time. Dumped on your wedding day? Boy, does time seem to slow down. Anticipating a big, exciting move and worried about leaving behind your entire family? It's here before you know it.

Quote #38

When I awoke, without having parted in my sleep with the perception of my wretchedness, the clocks of the Eastward churches were striking five, the candles were wasted out, the fire was dead, and the wind and rain intensified the thick black darkness. (39.102)

Even in the thick of a great, blinding storm, time marches on—it's Pip's one constant. Like death and taxes, but slightly less dire. (Maybe.)

Quote #39

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. (3.1)

The mists make things look "phantom-like" and "invisible"—almost as though the marshes are a dream-world. Or, maybe a nightmare world. Either way, there's something not-quite-real about them.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
back to top