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Great Expectations - Abel Magwitch and Estella.

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Abel Magwitch and Estella Abel Magwitch, the convict and Pip's secret benefactor is also the father of Estella (though we do not find this out until Magwitch is soon to die, which another example of the two perspectives and withholding information). Both these characters, father and daughter, try to escape their roots. Magwitch's childhood was one of danger, poverty and loneliness. He was orphaned as a child and was forced into a life of crime. His description of his life was, "in jail and out of jail." He became independent and I think this helped him choose whether or not to go and risk his life to see Pip in England. I believe his experiences did partly shape the man he became, yet with all that loneliness, one would have thought that Magwitch would grow up to be bitter and aloof. But perhaps company was all that was needed to show his good side and generosity. His life of loneliness must have caused him to care affectionately for those he did happen to meet. ...read more.


We also did not assume that he would be alive after the soldiers caught him, as it was frequent in those days for a criminal to be hanged. We find out, however, that he had been "transported" to Australia. This meant that he was able to work as a sheep-farmer and earn his fortune, so long as he never returned to England. The fact that a convict was able to earn money, suggests that Australia was less class-conscious and provided more opportunities to succeed than England. Magwitch risked his life to return to London to see the gentleman he had made with his fortune. I think that Magwitch made a very hard choice in choosing to come to England to visit Pip. To risk your life to see someone is a foolhardy thing to do, yet Magwitch, who is full of compassion towards Pip and is strong from his experiences, did not mind risking everything to see Pip. If I were in the same situation, it would be a very difficult choice to make and I don't think I would be able to choose. ...read more.


We believe her to be an upper-class girl, as her speech and company is those of the upper middle class. We find out however that this was because Miss Havisham chose to bring up the girl, and so her upbringing and education was good to the standards of rich people. But even though Estella was educated and never went hungry, she has grown up to be incapable of love, due to Miss Havisham's obsession with revenge, leaving Estella lonelier than she should have been. Dickens teaches us many lessons through this character. We learn that love is not something to be played around with, and that simply being rich cannot make you happy. I think Estella is a sympathetic character in the book. Though she is heartless and cannot feel love, I feel very sad for her, as a life without ever feeling love or giving it out may lead to a gloomy end, as it did with Miss Havisham's. Dickens is also telling us that money can mislead us. Money cannot earn the real things that matter in life. Real love, friendship and happiness can't be bought by any amount of money one can produce and this message applies to us today as much as it did back then. ...read more.

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