Great Expectations

what does jaggers's office reveal about him?

chpt 20 or 21

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Mr. Jaggers of Great Expectations is modeled after a notoriously unscrupulous lawyer who was also rude and abrupt for whom Charles Dickens worked. In Dickens's novel, Jaggers has his office in the dismal area near Newgate prison, and it reflects the passage of his criminal clientele. For, much like a prison cell, the room is dark, lit only by a patched skylight; a chair of "deadly black" made of stiff horse-hair with nails all around it "like a coffin." The walls are greasy from the many prisoner/clients who have stood against it as the are faced by Jaggers. When they are sent out abruptly, they must sidle along the wall to reach the doorway as the office is so narrow. On the shelves are various weapons such as swords and files; two death masks sit along with these items.

Having worked so long with the low, criminal element of London, Jaggers himself is much like an emotionally detached jailer who abruptly disposes of people, saying "there's an end of it" and waves them away after assuring himself that they have paid Wemmick. Pip narrates that he even "seemed to bully his very sandwich as he ate it." Indeed, his office reflects his personality: There is no warmth, no atachment to humanity, no sunshine or sentimentality to Mr. Jaggers, who merely goes efficiently about his dark business of defending London's worst.