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

Dickens' skill is especially shown in his creation of Magwitch. Discuss the convict's importance both as a key figure in Pip's life and as a means of criticising society.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Dickens' skill is especially shown in his creation of Magwitch. Discuss the convict's importance both as a key figure in Pip's life and as a means of criticising society. Dickens uses his skill to make the reader believe that Magwitch is an evil person at the beginning of the novel. Dickens describes Magwitch as seen through a child's eye, which is Pip. The first image of Magwitch is exaggerated because of a child's imagination and terror. Dickens uses sounds and smells to remember people. For example Jaggers always smells of scented soap after court and when Magwitch is emotional there is a click in his throat. Although these are minor details we recognise people quicker. At the beginning of the novel we associate Magwitch with animal and beast like manners. This is because the first impression of Magwitch through the young Pip and then the hunt for Magwitch by the soldiers. In chapter 28 while Pip is travelling to Satis House he hears a conversation between two convicts who are being transported by coach under guard. Here the convicts are described as "a most disagreeable and degraded spectacle." Dickens uses words like "growling " to covey the impression that these convicts are animal like. Dickens describes the convicts as, "Then they both laughed, and began cracking nuts, and spitting the shells about." ...read more.

Middle

Magwitch is a key character in the novel to unveiling all of the mysterious in it. There is a gradual uncovering a denouement by him in chapter 42 called "Compeyson." We find out a lot about Magwitch's heritage that he was born poor and that he had no family. Magwitch talks of his first memories as a young child he says, "I first become aware of myself...a thieving turnips for my living. Someone had run away from me...and he'd took the fire with him and left me very cold." This shows how society has neglected orphans his first memories is of stealing and being betrayal. Magwitch talks about his trial where Compeyson got 7 years and Magwitch got 14 years. Compeyson got half the sentence because, "First of all what a gentleman Compeyson looked with his curly hair and black clothes and his white pocket handkerchief and what a common sort of wretch I (Magwitch) looked." Magwitch said that he had given up all hope when he said, "I was hiding among the graves there envying them as was in them." This definitely shows how poor people and convicts were treated that society did not look after them and that these people felt no sense of place or belonging n the world. Dickens uses this chapter to show the inadequacy in the legal system and also that there is a lot wrong with society. ...read more.

Conclusion

Pip goes straight away even with an injured arm and there he finds it to be a trap that it is Orlick who tries to kill him. He learns the great value of friendship and he buys Herbert branch of Clarrikers' business. I think Pip does this because he feels guilty for getting Herbert into debt in the first place. Not only did Pip feels pity for Magwitch when he is dying so did Jaggers. For example Jaggers tries to push back Magwitch's trial date back so he can die in peace but it fails. This is shown when it says, "Mr Jaggers caused an application to be made for the postponement of his trial." Again Dickens makes a point about the legal system when he says, "The trial was very short and very clear." Basically Dickens is criticising how he poor were judged in court; it was guilty until proven innocent for them. At Magwitch's trial he is condemned to death and he says, "My Lord, I have received my sentence of Death from the Almighty, but I bow to yours." Magwitch says this in the most elegance way and shows his courage in accepting his death sentence. By the time of his trial and death he has acquired a dignity which did not seem to be evident when he was the animal which "glared and growled" and frightened Pip half to death at the beginning of the novel. ...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. 'Is Magwitch a criminal or victim of society?'

    Also Magwitch asks for wittels and a file. He could have asked for something which has a much greater value, like jewellery and money. From this we can indicate that Magwitch is just a hungry, cold and an uncomfortable feeling man, who will do anything to keep himself out of hunger.

  2. explore the importance of Magwitch in the story of 'Great Expectations'

    It also gives the reader the sense that there is something is watching Pip and lurking around him as he visits the graveyard. The hazy air and the "wind rushing in" adds suspense as it feels as if someone is closing in on him and almost touching him.

  1. Is Magwitch a criminal or a victim of society? In the ...

    he threatens Pip straight away making us think he's evil and doesn't care about what he says. He also threatens Pip by saying there is another man watching him and will kill him if he doesn't do what he wants, but this is just to scare him as there is no other man that Magwitch yet knows about.

  2. "Is Magwitch a Criminal or a Victim of Society

    than first meets the eye, and if he is not a miscreant after all. Therefore this suggests that actually, he may not be the criminal we took him for, so he may not necessarily deserve the label of criminal. We hear no more of Magwitch until chapter 39, where we find Pip slightly disillusioned with his new life style.

  1. Comparing Chapter 1 of Great Expectations where Pip first meets the convict, with Chapter ...

    He was covered in mud and was soaked in water. "A man who had been soaked in water, and smothered in mud, and lamed by stones, and cut by flints, and stung by nettles, and torn by briars; who limped, and shivered, and glared and growled; and whose teeth chattered in his head as he seized me by the chin."

  2. Satis house has been described as the

    "And that the small bundle of shivers growing afraid of it all and beginning to cry, was Pip" The use of long sentences gives the effect of lifeless space upon the reader, though they probably don't realise it. This gives a first and lasting impression of Pip's youth being painful, wasted and empty.

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