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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.

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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.


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.


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.

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