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Great Expectations Coursework

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Great Expectations In this essay I will discuss in detail how both Pip (the main protagonist of the novel) and Abel Magwitch (the convict) experience changes, and how this relates to the setting. They both change drastically in the story, as their personalities mature when placed in different situations. In chapter one, in the face of danger, Pip still shows gentility and politeness towards someone who seems extremely demanding and insolent. When he is confronted by Magwitch, he speaks to him as if he has authority. He refers to him several times as 'sir' which shows that Pip is a well mannered boy. The convict says threateningly ''I'll have you liver and heart out'' (pg.5), this shows the convict is wild, and has no regard for a young boys safety as long as he gets what he wants. The convict is so barbaric because under the circumstances (he has escaped from prison, and is starving), he seems to have lost his sense of morality - he seems to not know what is right or wrong, which is a basic human skill. The language used by Dickens in the conversation between Pip and Magwitch is delivered with short simple sentences; '''tell us your name!'' said the man ''quick'' ''Pip sir'' ''once more'' ''give it mouth!'''(pg. 4), this shows that there is a tense, unwelcoming atmosphere and is a fast paced conversation. ...read more.


He portrays this in his writing by making the convicts situation relate to Dickens' father's situation. In chapter one, the convict is portrayed as being a very intemperate, in-humane character. Dickens uses powerful verbs such as 'glared' and 'growled' to secure the stereotypical views that convicts are vehement, vicious people. Dickens uses animal imagery such as 'teeth chattered', 'glared', and 'growled' to imply the convict is more beast than man - as he seems to have lost his sense of human morality. However, 'a fearful man in coarse grey' implies that the convict is masculine, which is a contrast from him being described as an animal who's 'teeth chatter'. This contrast was set up to make the reader think - is this 'man' capable of good or bad? Initially, the impression is given off that the answer to this question is bad; however in chapter thirty-nine, we are shown differently. Also, dickens uses a list form to describe the convict; 'a man who had been soaked in water, and smothered in mud, and lamed by stones, and cut by flints...' to emphasise the harshness of his escape. This list is an ordered way of describing the convict, which is a contrast from the convict's actual life - which is totally unordered. He is really deprived of basic survival items like food and water, and will resort to threatening to kill Pip in order to get some food - which further backs up the claims of him acting like an animal. ...read more.


Dickens uses some personification 'smoke came rolling down the chimney as tough it could not bear to go out into such a night' and 'in the teeth of such wind and rain' (pg. 309) to further describe the already distressing weather and give it a sense of humanism. The way the setting is described is very much like in chapter 1, which gives the reader clues that the convict might be making another appearance - Dickens often added little clues like this into his writing. When someone appears at Pip's door, the conversation which takes place involves short snappy responses, 'There is someone down there is there not? I called out, looking down. ''Yes'' ''what floor do you want'' ''the top, Mr Pip'' ''That is my name- there is nothing the matter?'' ''nothing the matter''' which is like the conversation that takes place in chapter 1 (''tell me your name'' ''pip sir''), which is another clue this character might be the convict. Finally the convict is described as having 'iron-grey' hair, which can be linked to chapter 1's description. In conclusion, both characters partake in major changes throughout the novel. Magwitch's being for the good (i.e. changing from aggressive (threatening Pip) to responsible (having a job, providing for Pip)), whilst Pip's being for the worst (turning into a self-centred gentleman from a well mannered boy). ...read more.

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