Im reading great expectations by charles dickens. "stood near the door looking about me," "so bitter were my feelings, and so sharp was the smart without a name, that needed counteraction."


"Looking about" is the same as "looking at," but carries with it a slightly different connotation. "Looking at" is fairly superficial, but "looking about" is more encompassing - you are looking at the object in its entirety, looking at it with some sense of purpose.

"...smart without a name" is a reference to the previous paragraph, where Dickens writes:

I was so humiliated, hurt, spurned, offended, angry, sorry - I cannot hit upon the right name for the smart - God knows what its name was - that tears started to my eyes.

Pip is searching for the right descriptor for what he is feeling, but he can't identify/name one. The passage in your question refers back to this as the "smart without a name."

"smart" in this sense is fairly archaic; you won't hear it in modern English. Nonetheless, the definition for the word as it's used here is:

  1. keen mental suffering, as from wounded feelings, affliction, grievous loss, etc.
  • Thank you for your answer. Actually the first sentence goes like this, "When I first went into it"(the brewery)", and, rather oppressed by its gloom, stood near the door looking about me, " which leads me to believe the door is 'looking about' Pip. im not sure what that means. – H S park Mar 11 '17 at 23:35
  • In this case, Pip is looking at himself. He's "opressed by [the brewery's] gloom," and isn't sure what to do...so he stands near the door looking about himself. Here's another passage from a few paragraphs prior that has the same idea: "But, when she was gone, I looked about me for a place to hide my face in..." – nmar Mar 11 '17 at 23:37

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