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

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Introduction

With particular reference to chapters one, thirty-nine and fifty-six, explore the importance of Magwitch in the story of 'Great Expectations'. Charles Dickens was born on the seventh of February in 1812. When he was twelve, his farther was put in a Debtors prison while he lived in London. He was not very rich as he occupied mainly manual jobs at the start of his career. Gradually he moved up to a court reporter and then finally a novelist. This was to be known as the time when Dickens started producing his most well known books. Great Expectations is a novel showing us how the protagonist; Pip, advances through his life by attempting to upgrade his social status. Dickens comments on the ways in which he viewed life and the different things that surrounded it as he grew up. The book is written as if the author is a social commentator and he criticises the various points of his life as Pip. Dickens was a critic of poverty and Victorian standards and he uses the growth of his characters in relation to others to demonstrate his views on social reform. His first person narrative style allows him to emphasise the negative aspects of Pip. Great Expectations is also one of Dickens's most autobiographical novels as he looks back on his life. He displays it as a book of self-education with touches of mystery and romance, also known as a "Bildungsroman". I believe that Charles Dickens uses a certain character to highlight Pip's changes into becoming gentlemen. He uses Magwitch as a representative of the criminal class. Pip's fate is controlled by Magwitch to a certain extent, which is why he is such a significant character. ...read more.

Middle

Dickens now uses the weather to portray the misery and dread of the forthcoming events. Although Pip is in a state of depression, there is still a sense of tension in the atmosphere. He is in a lot of debt and his "uninvited guest" helps him to realise and reflect on what he has done. Pip's relationship with Magwitch also progressing throughout this chapter as Dickens gradually lets Pip come to terms with his secret benefactor. This realization emphasises one of the themes in "Great Expectations" in regards to social class. At the beginning of chapter thirty-nine Dickens makes Pip's surroundings seem like they are foreshadowing the arrival of the convict. The writer uses pathetic fallacy to show Pip's emotions, which are the most disheartening of his life. "Dispirited and anxious, and long disappointed" shows the reader that he is unhappy and he has not got what he had wanted. This could also suggest that he is realising his morally wrong conduct in his life so far. The storm is a sign of a low depression, which causes thunderstorms; this can then be seen to reflect on Pip's state of mind. There are also aspects of this chapter, which look back on previous chapters including chapter one where Pip and Magwitch met for the first time. The "discharge of the cannon" hints that Magwitch is due to arrive because it was this, which the gun ships did to signify that a convict has escaped which added a sense of foreboding. Dickens also uses the heavy veil to show a symbol of depression, which is also mentioned in chapter one. The "Vast heavy veil" also suggests that something concealed is about to be revealed which relates to Magwitch's arrival. ...read more.

Conclusion

Magwitch is in many ways responsible for the alterations that have occurred throughout Pip's existence. He has made him a more social and wealthy gentlemen as well. But, in many cases it has been Pip who has appreciated and regretted what he has done wrong in the past. With the help of Magwitch, Pip has been able to understand the importance of relationships and love, over wealth and social class. Dickens has used Pip to show how he has learned how to put his main concerns in front in many situations. He has helped the reader see how Pip has always wanted to improve himself as an idealist. This is shown when he wants to learn how to read and become a gentlemen on the whole. However Pip's ambitions were morally wrong at first even though Magwitch helped him achieve them, but then, Magwitch also helped him become a true gentleman as well. Magwitch and Joe were both influential in the upbringing of Pip. But, I believe that Magwitch can be seen as a "catalyst" in regards to Pip as he has supported him financially and emotionally. Dickens has explored the differences in class during Great Expectations. He has discovered the poor and wretched criminals such as Magwitch, but he has also looked at the very rich and rude upper class including Mrs. Havisham. This is why the central theme of Charles Dickens's novel is social class and Pip is used to investigate this through him upgrading his status through self-improvement. The continuous development of Magwitchs and Pip's characters are therefore dependent on this theme. Their relationship has helped uncover the attitudes of crime as it has shown through the various characters and is a theme that is repeated many times in the novel. ?? ?? ?? ?? GCSE English Coursework ...read more.

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