• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Both Miss Havisham and Magwitch are powerful influences on Pips life,

Extracts from this document...


Pip's "shadow parents" Sam Miranda S4A Both Miss Havisham and Magwitch are powerful influences on Pip's life, in a psychological, and to some extent physical, manner. In this essay, I hope to explore these influences, and investigate what affects they have on Pip's development. Naturally, the fact that Pip is an orphan, and never knew his parents, means there is space for characters to come in and exact a definite, parental control. The novel echoes many of Dickens's own life experiences- he had a strained relationship with his parents when they were condemned to imprisonment for debt difficulties. The sense of abandonment and sudden awareness of the fragility of class distinctions he experienced during this time was to haunt him for the rest of his life, and this is mirrored by the great contrast in, "shadow parents." On the one hand we have the wealthy Miss Havisham, inhabiting a decaying yet grand mansion, and on the other we have a hardened criminal emerging from the gloomy marshes. The opening chapter gives the reader a powerful idea of how Pip is suffering from having no identity, as Pip seeks to find his role in an inhospitable world. The windswept, barren place of mud, mist and water provides the perfect setting for a frantic convict to emerge. In his search for his origins, Pip seems to have created "a second father" in Magwitch, who turns him upside down metaphorically as well as literally, and places him on his parents' tombstone. ...read more.


Pip's consciousness of his class, and thus dissatisfaction with his origins, leads him to believe that the rich Miss Havisham is his secret benefactor. Pip thus becomes alarmed when the true identity of the benefactor is revealed, because Magwitch brings him back his criminal relations and throws him back to his growing up at the forge. Once again, this time at a more critical stage, Pip is hindered in his quest to become a gentleman. From the start of his search into the 'identity of things' the reader follows Pip's progress as he moves through a world of confusing and conflicting signs. Part of the growing of drama in the novel is the way that Pip wilfully ' misreads' clues to the origin of his expectations. Guilt and a sense of responsibility are permanently printed on the consciousness from the beginning and for most of the end narrative he seeks to contain them. He is in denial about his early, " criminal," past and finds it impossible to confess to Joe. When Magwitch eventually reveals himself as the source of Pip's expectations, Pip' shock is more powerful because we sense that the knowledge has been repressed but indistinctly known all along. It has been a necessary and essential part of Pip's guilt-torn personality. The true psychological effects of Miss Havisham are depicted early on in the novel, as Pip expresses his dissatisfaction of the class he is bound to: ...read more.


feels obliged to inflict pain on the entire male race, where as one could say Magwitch's poor, criminal background has distanced Pip from Estella's radiance. In conclusion, Magwitch and Miss Havisham exact definite psychological, even physical, influences on Pip, both acting as his, "shadow parents". Although to some extent Jaggers, Joe and Mrs Joe are, "shadow parents," the characters of Magwitch and Miss Havisham are particularly significant in Pip's development. They seem to reverse their supposed roles in Great Expectations, and although there are omens and hints of change, the reader expects Magwitch to maintain his criminal, violent attributes, and return to menace Pip, and Miss Havisham to be his saviour and helper in his quest to become a gentleman. In a journal format, Dickens needed to employ many plot twists, as Magwitch turns out to be the mysterious benefactor, and Miss Havisham the manipulative monster who psychologically hurts and confuses Pip in so many ways. It is difficult to say who is the "best" shadow parent, because although Magwitch supplies the money which sees Pip through becoming a gentleman, in his own mind Pip is motivated by Miss Havisham and has visions of achieving great wealth and wedding Estella. If we look at the novel in hindsight, we can conclude that Magwitch is the superior "shadow parent" as he is clearly dedicated to helping Pip, where as Miss Havisham does nothing but psychologically twist him. Word count 2,338 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Great Expectations section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Great Expectations essays

  1. Great Expectations Role of Magwitch

    no longer along by living in London with his friend Mr Herbert Pocket. Before the meeting of Magwitch and Pip takes place the setting which Dicken's describes is similar to that of chapter 1. "In the teeth of such a wind."


    and remarks "I am glad you enjoy it." He shows that he is pleased to help the convict. Dickens is portraying Pip empathising with the convict; who is a victim of life, just as Pip is. Pip is both attracted and repulsed by the convict and also fascinated.

  1. Charles Dickens Great Expectations Chapter 8: Pips Visit To Mrs Havisham

    A very dull house of old brick. Described as being dismal with a many iron bars to it, maybe to suggest it has a prison feel to it. On top of that, many of the windows had been all walled up. And the remaining lower windows were rusted and barred.

  2. What influences shape young Pip'sCharacter in " Great Expectations"

    Now Joe could have been very heavy handed with Pip's sister like most people were in the Victorian times however he didn't do this and instead it was really the other way around. " Knowing her to have a hard and heavy hand, and to be much in the habit

  1. Free essay

    Great Expectations. Discuss how the theme of class is developed through Pips visit to ...

    she uses slang unlike an upper class person usually would not do. Estella tries to be upper class but she is betrayed by her lower class language. Readers are invited to believe that she wants to be upper class because she likes looking down on others.

  2. Great Expectations: Pip's Character Change

    Joe's constant abuse. After their conversation, Pip realises that he cares deeply for Joe and appreciates everything that the blacksmith does for him. Also, he develops "A new admiration of Joe from that night" and "a new sensation of feeling conscious that I was looking up to Joe in my

  1. Great Expectations - A key theme in the novel is that of pride and ...

    "Yes; I think you are very pretty." "Am I insulting?" "Not so much so as you were the last time?" 'Said I' "Not so much so?" "No" Here Estella does not seem so insulting but as the passage continues, we can see that the Estella that Pip saw when he first met her again comes back.

  2. Describe in detail, Pip's first visit to Satis House and how the visit and ...

    Pip replies, "Your heart." All of a sudden she uttered the word, "Broken!" With an eager look, strong prominence and an uncanny smile with a type of boast to it. The impression of things was that she has used men and woman over a long period of time to entertainment herself, by watching people playing.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work