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Discuss the relationship between character and location in the case of Magwitch and the marshes; Miss Havisham and Satis House (chapters 1-19).

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Introduction

Discuss the relationship between character and location in the case of Magwitch and the marshes; Miss Havisham and Satis House (chapters 1-19) Both the characters Miss Havisham and Magwitch are linked closely with their respective surroundings, as Dickens employs imagery and pathetic fallacy to illustrate this. Although many characters in Great Expectations reflect their environments, the relationship of Miss Havisham and Magwitch offer a particular contrast. The novel echoes many of Dickens's own life experiences, and the reader is given a strong flavour of Victorian history and commonplace. There is no doubt that when Dickens describes the marshes in the early stages of the novel, he is influenced by his own passion for the Kent marshes and docks. In a physical sense, the convict seems to mirror the marshes in many ways, "A fearful man, all in coarse grey... A man who had been soaked in water, and smothered in mud..." The colours of Magwitch's reflect the bleakness of the surroundings, and the way he has been "soaked in water" and "smothered in mud" emphasise how he appears to erupt violently from the marsh and be part of it. ...read more.

Middle

Miss Havisham's relationship with Satis House is deeper, perhaps more sinister. When Pip first witnesses Miss Havisham, he remembers being taken to see, " a skeleton in the ashes of a rich dress, that had been dug out of a vault." Like the interior of the house, the overgrown garden and the disused brewery are suggestive of Miss Havisham's own decayed and barren, misused body. The idea of the emptiness of possessions, which is to be a recurring theme in the novel, is also underlined by the meaning concealed in Miss Havisham's name. The, "Have a sham" reflects how this gaunt woman has been warped in time by the pretence of the wedding. The "Satis" name of the house means "enough" and one could conclude that the building is tired of all the neglect. Miss Havisham's body reflects the festering of her wedding items and clothes, "I saw that the bride within her bridal dress had withered like the dress, and like the flowers, and had no brightness left but the brightness of her sunken eyes." ...read more.

Conclusion

The great decaying bride cake is a symbol of her morbid, poisoned mind, as it is positioned central to the table. The demise of the wedding preparations epitomises the theme of decay. The "black fungus" on the wedding cake is an extension of herself, as she seems to know, when she invites her money-sucking relatives to feast on her like the speckled spiders and the black beetles when she is laid on the dining table following death. In conclusion, the world of the marsh and Satis House are not that far apart, neither are the two characters of Magwitch of Miss Havisham. The dirt and decay of Miss Havisham's chamber are associated with the elemental mud of the village graveyard that Pip visits. The mist on the marshes and spider's cobwebs are seen by Pip on the rotting wedding cake in the banquet hall. Finally, both characters influence Pip in very different ways throughout the entire novel. ...read more.

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