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Great Expectations

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Amisha Pabari GREAT EXPECTATIONS COURSEWORK Great Expectations is a story about the impact that money can have on people's lives. Money can change anybody and Pip was no exception. When Pip is poor he truly wants to be a gentleman, he has "great expectations" for himself. He loses friends, family and parts of himself all to be a true gentleman and forgets about the true values of life. Eventually he realises that letting money rule your life can have harmful effects. There are many themes that run through this novel. One important theme is class and status. During the Victorian times, class played a huge part in society and throughout the novel the strict class system is conveyed. An example of where this is shown is when Pip is embarrassed that his benefactor was Magwitch, a convict. This shows that someone who is high up in society does not want anything to do with someone in the lower class. Another theme is about things that make a perfect Victorian gentleman. A Victorian gentleman would have had to have the following qualities. He would have to be mannerable, well dressed, educated, wealthy, have a nice house, have servants and come from a good background. Another theme is crime and punishment. Punishment in the Victorian times was very harsh. We see this when we hear about Magwitch. When we see him on the marshes, he is in a very bad condition. We also see that at the end of the story Magwitch is going to be hanged for returning to Britain from Australia. Small crimes were seen as huge matters a thief could receive seven years transportation to Australia. ...read more.


By Chapter thirty-nine Pip does not want to be reminded of his past and about how poor he was. He thinks that his benefactor is Miss Havisham. He also thinks that he is much respected and does not want anything to do with poor, lower class people. This is conveyed in the text when Dickens writes "I shuddered at the thought that for anything I knew, his hand might be stained with blood", this quote shows that in chapter 1 Pip was willing to help Magwitch but now that Pip is wealthy when Magwitch touches him he is horrified and ashamed. This shows how much Pip has changed since he has become rich. The point in the novel when Magwitch is telling Pip that he is his benefactor there is a lot of tension. Dickens created this tension by making Magwitch ask many questions until eventually Pip realises what Magwitch is trying to convey. This is reflected when Magwitch asks the first question "might a mere warmint ask what property?" After hearing, this Pip has not yet suspected what the convict is trying to say but may be worried about why Magwitch is asking personal questions. Pip tells Magwitch that he does not know and then Magwitch repeats the question. "Might a mere warmint ask whose property?" Pip then gives the same reply. When he answers, he is faltering which means that he might be lying or could be beginning to get scared. It could also mean that Pip is stuck for words because he does not want Magwitch to know that the house does not belong to him. Magwitch then begins to ask questions that give Pip and the reader more hints that he is Pip's benefactor. ...read more.


This shows that Pip has affection for Magwitch. Magwitch also returns the affection. He says "God bless you!" This shows that he cares about Pip and he knows that he is going to die and is therefore giving Pip all his blessings. To make sure that his second father dies peacefully Pip tells Magwitch that his daughter is still alive and that he loves her. I think that Magwitch changes a lot throughout the novel. At the beginning, he is seen as a terrifying character and towards the middle of the novel, we see a more caring side to him. This loving side develops more towards the end of the story. At the beginning of "Great Expectations", I feel sympathy towards Pip but then at the middle of the novel Pip came across as a snob and so our feelings about Pip change. However, at the end we regain our respect towards Pip when he realises the true meaning of a gentleman. At the start, Pip is nice to Magwitch because he is scared of him but towards the end, Pip respects Magwitch for helping him. Through Magwitch, Dickens gives us the message that criminals can be reformed and deserves a second chance. Dickens also gets the message across that money can change a person but we should not forget who we really are and who our true friends and family are. Pip realises this throughout the course of the novel. He goes back to live with Joe and lives happily ever after. He realises that a gentleman is not someone with wealth, education and social status but is someone who is caring and knows the true values of life, someone like Joe or Magwitch. ...read more.

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