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Great Expectations by Charles Dickens - Explore and analyse how Pip is presented in this extract. (p314 - p319)

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Introduction

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (Chris Harding 10.5) Explore and analyse how Pip is presented in this extract (p314 - p319) In this extract, we are shown insight into what Pips character has become, by reacquainting him with the convict Magwitch. In this second visit, we can see the contrast between Pips first encounter, and this more shocking scene - how Pips persona has changed from an innocent youth, to a selfish, egocentric 'gentleman.' Also, we are given the startling revelation of Pip's true benefactor, in a cumulative peak of excitement enriched with Dickens unique writing style. Throughout the text, Pip's manner towards others, his way of thinking and even his narrative voice transform to create two reasonably different characters. The extract pictures him as a selfish, pompous young man who shows great ingratitude towards Magwitch - asking "inhospitably enough" whether he would like to come in and pushing away a plea for affection, from one who has worked hard all his life merely to provide Pip with a great wealth, and an undemanding lifestyle. When Magwitch returns to greet his beneficiary, he is treated with less than minor courtesy. Pip's younger character however appears far more innocent, showing respect and even compassion towards a convict, who threatens and oppresses him, glad that his stolen food is "enjoyed" by a complete stranger. ...read more.

Middle

Language is also used here to alienate the convict from Pip himself. The rich, throaty slang of Magwitch's "arterwards," "spec'lated" and "warmint" contrasts against Pip's more noble speeches of how he "cannot wish to renew that chance intercourse" and inquires of the messenger "since he undertook that trust." The way Dickens estranges Magwitch from Pip is significant: it symbolizes the delusional notion that Pip is a gentleman, and that he is superior to the convict. Pip believes himself to be changed since that first chance meeting in the graveyard, and thinks that he is now above Magwitch, who is after all a criminal. The irony experienced by the reader is that Pip's great wealth and upper class lifestyle is solely attributable to Magwitch himself, and this too is the source of the shock Pip describes. The way Dickens depicts Pips feelings is extremely powerful, as we see Pip "suffocating" merely from the shock of this news, news that his almost successful attempt to become a gentleman was funded by the dark relic of his youth, who's felonious past appears further from gentry as is possible. This is of course, not the first time we see Pip's character interrupted by members of his childhood - there was his meeting with Mr Pocket on his arrival to London, and more important, Joe's visit to Pip in his London flat. ...read more.

Conclusion

As a modern audience, we also feel compelled, excited, and fascinated by the books intricate plotlines, particularly in this extract. To inspire such strong emotions, Dickens uses many lingual and structural functions, the aforementioned effectiveness of metaphors and imagery to name one. He also writes in the 1st person, which is pivotal to the feelings the book creates: the story is far more personal and involving. Dickens also entwines his plots and subplots very carefully to create a prominent air of tension. As he builds up to the climax of one plot twist, he continues to insert little mini-dramas that leave us waiting for the main storyline to continue. He does this quite often in the novel, and it makes the reading most tense and far less predictable. To a less observant reader, Magwitch's return would be a complete surprise - this is where the majority of this extract's attraction lies. Overall, this extract is in fact one of the most outstanding scenes in the book. The build up of excitement before the final revelation of "Pip - your him!" is done with a variety of complex, literary devices, and the twist in the plot and return of a familiar character add to its success. It calls attention to Pip's new assumed role, as a self-centred ungrateful gentleman, and is characteristic of Dickens writing style. ...read more.

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