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Examine the way Dickens presents three of the characters who have major influences on Pip in the story

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Examine the way Dickens presents three of the characters who have major influences on Pip in the story. In your answer, analyse the ways Dickens uses language to convey the characters and to explore important themes in the novel. Choose three extracts to analyse closely. Characterization is very important in Dickens' writing because it allows him to create a powerful illusion of a person; producing a character that the reader gets attached to, cares about and even possibly can relate to. Through the three characters I have chosen to write about, Magwitch, Joe Gargery and Miss Havisham, Dickens explores and represents his ideas and moral perspective on power and punishment; using techniques such as descriptive language, imagery, dialogue and actions. Straight away in the novel we are introduced to the theme of punishment through the convict, Magwitch. "The man was limping towards the latter as if he were the pirate come to life" this simile creates a frightening image for a child's imagination and especially the young Pip who perhaps sees the convict as the ghost of a pirate. Pirates are also criminals which, therefore introduces the theme of capital punishment. The word 'limping' adds to the image as the convict cannot walk like an average human being and consequently makes the image of the convict even more dehumanised. ...read more.


The theme of power links the convict Magwitch to Pip's brother Joe Gargery, who we are introduced to in Chapter Two. Joe is introduced rather humorously, for example, Dickens jokes about Pip's misunderstanding of the phrase 'being bought up by hand' and the fact that Joe and Pip call the cane they are whipped with by Mrs Joe a 'tickler'. Although humorous, it makes the reader sympathize with Joe who is quite clearly maltreated and overpowered by his wife. The physical descriptions of Joe and Mrs Joe also determine who's the good-natured one and the one who should receive sympathy from the reader for the way they are treated by the other. "Joe was a fair man, with curls of flaxen hair on each side of his smooth face" these angelic physical characteristics are used to tell us that Mr Joe is pure, mild and quite the angel himself. Whereas the description of Mrs Joe "with black hair and eyes, had such a prevailing redness of skin that I sometimes used to wonder whether it was possible she washed herself with a nutmeg-grater" gives us quite the opposite opinion of her personality and her hard, red skin implies that she is a rather hard hearted, overbearing and abusive person; which is established by the way she treats Joe. ...read more.


Miss Havisham represents the extremes of a character tied to environment. Never seeing sunlight or venturing outside of her dusty rooms, Miss Havisham is a warped and ultimately destructive character, who Dickens clearly treats as unhealthy. It is my guess, that Dickens gave Miss Havisham her name because of her role in the story. I noticed the word 'sham' in her surname and immediately connected it with Pip assuming that she was his benefactress. The word sham means something that is a counterfeit; not what it seems to be and can be related with an imposter; a person who makes deceitful pretenses. These two definitions seem to sum up the situation between Miss Havisham and Pip, and Miss Havisham's personality perfectly. In Great Expectations justice is enacted by the writer Dickens, who clearly despises the upper-class, making the moral theme of the story quite simple: affection, loyalty, and conscience are more important than social advancement, wealth, and class. We can tell this because in the end, after years of maltreatment from his wife, the humble blacksmith Joe Gargery ends up married to Biddy, who treats him well. Whereas the spiteful, destructive Miss Havisham dies in a fire. The way Dickens kills off Miss Havisham in the story suggests that he believes that all upper-class people should be burnt to death for their cliquish attitude and behaviour. ...read more.

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  1. How does Dickens create the characters of Magwitch and Miss Havisham? How does the ...

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