Dickens seems to have a highly developed sense of theatre, and this is proven countless times in his works. The three ‘stages’ of Pip’s life could also be called Acts, because if you were to make Great Expectations into a play, the three stages would most certainly be divided into Acts 1, 2 and 3. Dickens ‘brings down the curtain’ at the end of the first stage with a few very powerful paragraphs. These paragraphs illustrate Pip’s feeling of loss, lonliness, and even dejection, and describe the parting between Pip, Biddy and Joe. It also describes the way Pip keeps questioning himself as the carriage pulls away from the town; he constantly is debating whether or not to jump out and walk back, but by the time he decides to, he has journeyed too far to walk back. It almost seems that Dickens is trying to shut the door on the first stage of Pip’s life, and showing that he can never go back.
The final paragraphs describe Pip as he walks away, fighting back tears. He realizes that if he had cried in front of Joe and Biddy, he would have stayed for ‘just one more night’, but that one night would have turned into two, then three, and he would have become increasingly reluctant to leave the comfortable setting of the forge, even if it was his dream to go to London and become a gentleman. These last few paragraphs clearly illustrate Dickens’ wonderful use of language to create a mood.