Thursday, April 13, 2023

Pip’s nighttime plan to “enlist for India as a private soldier” in Charles Dickens’s “Great Expectations” (1861)

When Pip in Charles Dicken's "Great Expectations" (1861) first discovers that the "benefactor" who gave him his "great expectations" is Abel Magwitch, the escaped convict the young Pip had once stolen food for, he gets up in the middle of night and considers a plan to "enlist for India as a private soldier." According to Jerome Meckier's timeline for the novel, this takes place in November or December 1828. At the time, the military instrument of the East India Company's control of much of India was its own private army separate from the British Army. So Pip does not want to be Private Pirrip; he wants to join the Company's army. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 13 April 2023)

No comments: