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Great Expectations.

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Introduction

Great Expectations. "Great Expectations" was written by Charles Dickens in 1861. It is about a young boy called Pip showing him from the age of seven through to the age of mid-thirties. Pip shows us the important events in his life and shows many different situations he faces that influence him in his goals in life. It gives the audience something to relate to showing that everyone goes through struggles in life like Pip and shows that wealth doesn't change people doesn't matter. "Great expectations" shows various themes of crime, law and the criminal justice system. Dickens' views are shown throughout the novel. He uses different characters to define people's common views about crime and punishment. Dicken's shows his views through Magwitch. Charles Dickens experienced the prison system due to his father's imprisonment. This made an effect on Dicken's writing by the experience that he faced. John Dickens, Charles' father, worked as a clerk at the Navy Pay office and struggled to pay debts. When he couldn't pay them all he got arrested and sent to Marshalsea Prison- this would have been an awful experience for Charles and that's why he shows his views in his writing. "Great expectations" is a harsh critism on the British Legal and Penal System. Magwitch is a character that highlights Dickens' concerns with the criminal justice system. At first Magwitch frightens Pip in the churchyard but by the end of the novel Pip realises Magwitch's inner nobility and helps him to evade the law and the police. Dickens was trying to find the good in even the darkest of characters by using Magwitch to show what Dickens thought about crime. In chapter one Dickens uses a lot of metaphors and similes to describe the setting and atmosphere. Pip describes the day as being "a memorable raw afternoon." It shows it is harsh and cold. He also says "this bleak place overgrown with nettles was the church yard" this shows it's very dull and the nettles show sharp and stinging and it doesn't get looked after much. ...read more.

Middle

He is overcome with emotion and so happy to be there. Magwitch shows Pip that everything he has done was for Pip. "... I'm your second father. You're my son- more to me nor any son. I've put away money, only for you to spend." He did everything for Pip- he admires him very much and shows Pip great devotion "...I'll make that boy a gentleman! And I done it!" Magwitch shows Pip how much he means to him because he risked his life to see him "I was sent for life. It's death to come back. There's been overmuch coming back of late years, and I should of a certainty be hanged if took." The readers' reaction to Pip is that he is being very harsh and cruel to Magwitch however we understand the fear that he has and Dickens shows the general view that people had to convicts- even if they hadn't committed a murder, people thought they were all terrible murderers and never saw the good side in them. The reader feels very sympathetic to Magwitch that after everything he has done for Pip he is being rejected and treated harshly by Pip. We feel sorry to Magwitch because of the commitment and generosity he has shown to Pip and how disappointed and upset he is feeling by the cold reception. Chapter 39 is a climax to the novel. When it was originally published in three volumes, Magwitch's reappearance marked the end of the second volume and readers had to wait for the third volume to find out what happens next. Great expectations was so popular that there were massive queues of people waiting for the arrival of the next volume. The following chapters show Magwitch reveals more to Pip about himself including his name. The significance of Dickens giving him the Christian name 'Abel' because in the old testament Abel was the victim in the story of Abel and his brother Cain, as Cain killed Abel. ...read more.

Conclusion

Dickens shows Pip's feelings towards Magwitch he says "For several days and nights after he was sentenced I took no rest", "but was wholly absorbed in these appeals." Pip tried everything to help Magwitch by sending many appeals and he cares deeply for him. In the hospital when Magwitch is dying Pip holds Magwitch and tells him about his daughter Estella and the love he for her. Magwitch dies happily and Pip loves him very much. There is a contrast from Pip's feelings shown earlier in the novel, he has realised the good in Magwitch and deeply loves him. At the end of the chapter Pip says "O Lord, be merciful to him a sinner." This is a reference from Luke 18:10-14, Dickens is showing Magwitch is a good man and God will forgive him. In conclusion to the novel we have seen several changes and developments in the character Magwitch- at the beginning we see in him a stereotypical criminal that grows to become a kind and generous benefactor to Pip. We've seen the struggles and how badly Magwitch is treated in the courts and how harsh the Victorian society was. Dickens expresses his views on the Victorian society showing his hatred and anger towards the judical system making the reader feel very sorry for Magwitch and feels Dickens' views as well. Dickens has made a point of showing how harshly people were judged as stereotypical criminals when really they weren't a bad murderer they were just trying to survive the poverty that they faced, the story reflects the number of people like Magwitch who had suffered in the same unfair way that Magwitch had been treated. It's a warming story that emphasises the poor treatment that Magwitch faced and then how the love between both Pip and Magwitch grows between them- it's a story of love, hurt and sadness- there's a lot of mixed emotions throughout the novel and Dickens writes so brilliantly that the reader feels all of them. Hayley Chadwick 11C ...read more.

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