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"Great Expectations"

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Introduction

"Great Expectations" This Essay aims to examine the sympathy that Dickens created for his characters. I will be concentrating on two extracts from the novel "Great Expectations". Extract one is when Pip and Magwitch meet initially; extract two is Pip's first encounter with Miss Havisham. The three main characters I will be focusing on are Pip, Magwitch and Miss Havisham. "Great Expectations" was written in the 1800's, a time which suffered from grave poverty due to the government who offer no relief to the poor. Poverty and squallier was all around. Pickpockets, prostitutes, beggers and drunks were everywhere, desperate for money. Dickens was particularly effected by this because o his own childhood trauma. He was born into the middle class which allowed him to obtain an education. This was until his father was imprisoned for multiple debts, which forced Dickens and his family into a diminished standard of life. This meant that Dickens and was forced to work from an early age. Whilst being poor himself he saw extreme poverty far greater than his own. He wrote about real life in his books, which showed the upper and middle classes, who read them, how awful the lifestyle of a poor person was. Dickens creates sympathy for Pip through the use of setting. In the first extract Pip is in a cold, dark graveyard. ...read more.

Middle

his eyes looked most powerfully down into mine." Magwitch is leaning over Pip, making him feel anxious and becoming very scared. Pip is very frightened as he is being threatened by Magwitch. ""O! Don't cut my throat sir" I pleaded in terror" This creates sympathy for Pip because he is begging Magwitch not to cut his throat, pleading for his life. This is an intimidating situation for Pip and shows him to be desperate, which is understandable for a young boy in his position. Dickens wants the reader to feel sympathy for Magwitch as well as Pip. We know that Magwitch is a convict by the way he is described, which does help create feelings for him. "A fearful man, all coarse grey, with a great iron on his leg." This tells us that he is a convict because of the information given to us about the iron at the end of the quote. Additionally, it describes him as "all coarse grey" meaning he was from a prison, probably saying he was prison garbage. He is delineated in a way which makes him sound scared but determined. The fact he is a "fearful man" probably means he frightens others, just like he is doing to Pip. Along with this, Dickens includes a lot of detail about Magwitch's state of health. ...read more.

Conclusion

An example of this is when Magwitch is threatening Pop in extract one. For this reason I feel that most sympathy for Pip because nothing happens to eliminate the sympathy created for him. Throughout both extracts Pop is a victim or feels nervous, upset, intimidated or scared. Whereas Miss Havisham is described with words connecting sympathy to death. This is the only other method Dickens uses which works effectively and really helps create a picture of poor heart broken Miss Havisham. "...no brightness left but the brightness of her sunken eyes" is one example of this method. It creates pity for her from the reader. Dickens is very successful at building sympathy for each character, especially for Pip who seems to be in unpleasant places a lot of the time. However, it is easy to create sympathy for a child yet for Magwitch it's harder. The reader has to think about the state Magwitch is in before feeling sympathy for him because he threatens a young boy. Miss Havisham is weird now, emotionless and lifeless which helps create sympathy for her. But our knowledge of her intended manipulation of Estella and Pip brings out her bad qualities. Her bitterness and want for revenge against all men, these are not attractive characteristics which are unlikely to make anyone feel any sympathy for her. So Dickens used his methods of creating sympathy effectively and they worked effectively. ?? ?? ?? ?? By Liesel Vaughan ...read more.

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