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Examine how Dickens uses the characters Pip and Magwitch to explore themes, attitudes and ideas in great expectations

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Introduction

Examine how Dickens uses the characters Pip and Magwitch to explore themes, attitudes and ideas in great expectations Dickens wrote "Great Expectations" to display just how unfair the criminal justice system and the class system of his day were. He successfully achieves this by telling the story of two characters caught up in these harsh systems; Pip and Magwitch. Pip is the main character and the book follows him from a small child. This is to get an insight into his life and to help the audience understand and relate with him and his feelings throughout the book. Dickens emphasises this even more by writing in the first person thus giving the audience a more accurate account of Pip's feelings and creating a more personal relationship between reader and character. Magwitch is also mostly portrayed in a good light as - although being a criminal - the audience is shown he is a good person at heart by certain actions he takes and his gestures and movements towards Pip. These two characters are very similar as Dickens depicts them both as kind people with good intentions. This image though is purposefully distorted as Dickens takes the readers and the characters on a journey into the snobby, overpowering world of the upper class and the brutal, unjust criminal justice system. Dickens then uses his characters to shock the reader as he shows what ordinary human being can become in the unforgiving time he lived in. ...read more.

Middle

Dickens has made these characters into what he believes is the average working class person, hard working with a good heart though the rest of the world is against their very survival. In the second extract however we see Pip as an upper class citizen and we see how a nice boy can become something totally different given the chance. Dickens aims in this extract to put people against upper class citizens and their snobbery and see that Pip, and therefore others would be much better off, personality wise as working class people. He also show however his belief that it is not the upper class peoples fault they are the way they are it is just how people felt they needed to act to get what they thought of as a decent life as we see Pip, a kind person stuck in this trap. The beginning of the extract shows Pip opening the door to what he believes could only be a mad man. This can be seen as Dickens explains Pips reaction to the stranger as a "stupid kind of amazement". Dickens uses this description to depict the emotion felt towards the man. Pip knows; because he has been converted to thinking that way that people like that do not turn up of someone like his door step. It is a "stupid" kind of amazement because it was stupid of this man to be here. ...read more.

Conclusion

"arter having looked for'ard so distant and come so fur..." This shows this has hit Magwitch hard as he had been thinking of this moment for so long and how he expected such a different reaction. Pip had broken his dreams he had worked so hard for and the audience can see this hurts him. As is evident throughout this extract Dickens is making the audience feel sorry for poor Magwitch and become increasingly angry with Pip's obnoxiousness. This is then taken one step further as Magwitch continues to speak, without anguish or angry towards an ungrateful Pip but excusing his behaviour: "...but your not to blame for that - neither on us is to blame..." As a now well established as morally correct character on the audiences eyes they too will also now think of Pip in this way. Now venting their anger not towards Pip as such but towards the upper class society as a whole. This is the aim of this book and is why Dickens wrote it, this extract displays this very effectively. The extract contrasts a snobby Pip against the nicest possible character to emphasise just how mean Pip has managed to become through his new found ideas of life, brought to him through his money. Both men with a kind soul stretched to something they are not by the criminal justice system and the class system. Both of them with ideas and attitudes at certain points that would not resemble their own but are what they had become through almost no fault of their own. ?? ?? ?? ?? Emma Elphick 11e1 - 1 - ...read more.

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