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noumenon52
07-26-2013, 11:51 PM
In chapter 3 of Great Expectations, when Pip wondered that the convict didn't hear the cannon the previous night. The convict said:


“Why, see now!” said he. “When a man's alone on these flats, with a light head and a light stomach, perishing of cold and want, he hears nothin' all night, but guns firing, and voices calling. Hears? He sees the soldiers, with their red coats lighted up by the torches carried afore, closing in round him. Hears his number called, hears himself challenged, hears the rattle of the muskets, hears the orders ‘Make ready! Present! Cover him steady, men!’ and is laid hands on—and there's nothin'! Why, if I see one pursuing party last night—coming up in order, Damn 'em, with their tramp, tramp—I see a hundred. And as to firing! Why, I see the mist shake with the cannon, arter it was broad day—But this man;” he had said all the rest as if he had forgotten my being there; “did you notice anything in him?”

I don't quite understand what the convict tried to tell Pip. Did he just imagine what another convict might have heard and seen? Did he himself see the pursuing soldiers and hear the cannon? What did he mean when he said ".. and is laid hands on—and there's nothin'! Why, if I see one pursuing party last night—coming up in order, Damn 'em, with their tramp, tramp—I see a hundred. And as to firing! Why, I see the mist shake with the cannon, arter it was broad day---" ? Please explain.

mona amon
07-27-2013, 01:53 AM
Being a hunted down fugitive, the convict is so full of the fear of being caught that he imagines all the time that he hears guns firing, people pursuing him, lying in wait for him etc. So, although he really did hear the cannon in the night (because they really were firing the cannon for the other convict) he thinks that he imagines it, and only realizes it wasn't all in his mind when Pip tells him about it.

noumenon52
07-27-2013, 11:39 PM
Thanks a lot, mona amon.