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Exploring the importance of Jaggers in Dickens' "Great Expectations" on character and plot, focussing on mannerisms, speech rhythms, his role as a lawyer and the crime theme.

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Introduction

Chapter Twenty-Six "He conducted us to" to "and fall to work" Discuss the setting in the extract and what it reveals of Jaggers. Go on to explore the importance of Jaggers in the novel as a whole to the development of themes, character and plot, focussing on mannerisms, speech rhythms, his role as a lawyer and the crime theme. Dickens opens this paragraph by using proper nouns to give a sense of place. Jaggers 'conducts' Pip, again suggesting his control. Like Jaggers' office, the house is grand, but uncared for, this is a very similar image to that of Satis House. The gothic elements of Satis House appear here too, with adjectives such as 'gloomy' and 'dark'. The 'little used' hallway suggests a link to Miss Havisham only using a few of the rooms in Satis house. Jaggers tells his guests that 'he held a whole house, but rarely used more of it than we saw' and this is mirrored by Miss Havisham only being seen in a couple of rooms, only leaving them to eat, in the middle of the night, when no-one can see her. ...read more.

Middle

There is no direct speech, only reported here, whereas Wemmick chatted gleefully all the way to Walworth and throughout Pip's visit, here, it is suggested that Jaggers says practically nothing - he is a man who talks out of necessity, not for the sake of conversation. Also, whereas Wemmick had nothing to do with work in his home, not even talk about it, Jaggers house is just an extension of his office, with criminal law books, as if reading these were his only pleasure and entertainment. Whilst Wemmick's home has been carefully painted and designed to look like a castle, Jaggers' house has 'nothing merely ornamental to be seen'. The similarities between Jaggers' office and his house are obvious. This highlights the contrast between Wemmick and him, where Wemmick has a marked division between work and home, Jaggers' house is just an extension of his office, complete with the crime and grime lexical sets and the gothic elements seen in both. The topography here, The visit to Walworth, and the in the next chapter, the visit to Jaggers' house, is deliberate to highlight such contrasts. ...read more.

Conclusion

For example, he has a huge house, but uses very little of it, this mirrors his physical size - 'great hand', 'large head' etcetera and therefore his non-physical power over people. In the same way, the darkness of his 'property' mirrors his own physical attributes such as his dark bushy eyebrows, dark complexion and deep eyes. Jaggers is more of a symbolic character than a functional character. He himself represents law, lawyers, justice and crime. He is Dickens showing his opinions of this part of society - bullying, dark, cold, but powerful. Therefore, Jaggers has a very consistent character, and all his attributes are shown throughout the novel, unchanging - such as his professionalism - and repetitive - such as his physical features, his constant control and dominance and his obsessive hand washing, a psychological mechanism to keep the criminal taint from corrupting him. He is also a static character. Whereas many of the characters move, or change - for example, Mrs Joe and Miss Havisham die, the children of the novel grow up, marry and so on - Jaggers stays exactly the same. The events of the novel pass him as any other case does. This suggests again, he has no emotional attachment to anything or anybody. ...read more.

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