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how charles dickens presents characters in chapters one and eight of great expectations

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Coursework assignment Analysis of how Charles Dickens presents the characters of Pip, Estella, Miss Havisham and Magwitch in chapters one and eight of 'Great Expectations'. The novel 'Great Expectations' was written in 1861 by Charles Dickens and it was published in instalments, as were many of Charles Dickens' novels. Great Expectations is the captivating story about the life of a young man called Pip, and his transition from a trainee blacksmith to a fine gentleman. This story contains everything from love and life, to heartbreak and death. The story is written in the first person so we learn about Pip's life through Pip's perspective. Pip's real name is Phillip Pirrip, but he calls himself Pip, as do all of the other fascinating characters in the novel. Dickens' portrayal of varied, mystifying and amazing characters such as Estella, Miss Havisham and Magwitch is brilliant. In the very first paragraph of chapter one in 'Great Expectations', we find out a lot about Pip, in an amusing way. From this first paragraph the reader realises straight away that the writing is in the first person. The fact that Pip says he couldn't pronounce his name properly when he was young so he pronounced it as Pip lets us know that he is quite a funny boy. In this first paragraph Dickens writes 'Pip' 3 times in quick succession, which is a very clever technique that helps the reader to remember the main characters name. In the next paragraph the reader then find out that Phillip Pirrip - or Pip as the reader comes to know him as - has already had a dramatic life, even at a young age. His mother and father died when he was very young, and he says he has never seen them "as I never saw my mother or father, and never saw any likeness of either of them (for their days were long before the days of photographs)..." ...read more.


Through dialogue and excellent description we get the impression that Magwitch is an evil, strong and potentially a murderer. The threat he gives to Pip is very visual, and has many morbid references towards Pip's liver. The setting and atmosphere at the time of Magwitch's attack reflects Magwitch's threatening manner. By using vivid descriptions such as "the sky was just a row of long angry red lines and dense black lines intermixed" Dickens creates a morbid atmosphere that matches Magwitch's angry attack on Pip. When Magwitch first meets Pip he is very rough with him, and viciously attacks him. He threatens him and he uses menacing, cruel words. By the time Pip meets Magwitch when he is 23 he has turned into a fine gentleman, and he didn't remember Magwitch at first. However, by this meeting there is a level of respect between the two characters and both of them communicate with each other. Pip must feel as though he owes Magwitch everything, because he was his benefactor. In an ironic twist to the story we find out that Magwitch is in fact Estella's father and nobody knew this. In chapter eight of the story, called "Play Begins", Pip visits Satis House for the first time and meets Estella and Miss Havisham for the very first time. Ironically Satis House means Enough House, the owner of this house will have everything they want, and they could want nothing else. This is not the case with Miss Havisham, and at points in the story it is not true for Estella either. Although Charles Dickens is writing the story in the first person, it is written almost as an account by Pip, where he is older. You can tell this by many of the words that he uses. A young boy wouldn't know the definitions of some of these words and wouldn't know how to use them e.g. ...read more.


She doesn't know what day of the week it is, and all of her clocks and watches have been stopped at twenty minutes to nine. I think this is because Miss Havisham was 'jilted' by Compeyson, and this ruined her wedding day, which is meant to be the best day of a woman's life. I think Miss Havisham never got over this rejection, and it ruined her life. Therefore she wanted every day to be relived like the one that ruined her life. She didn't want to live anymore, she had given up. Nowadays a failed marriage is not a big problem, it happens to many people, but back in the 19th century this would be a huge embarrassment, especially to someone of such a high class as Miss Havisham. Miss Havisham again doesn't treat Pip with any respect. She sees him as a target through which she can get revenge on the male gender. She is constantly breaking his heart, whether it is through Estella, or by leading Pip on and not telling him that she wasn't his benefactor. She is a very commanding woman, and whenever she says anything to Pip or Estella they both respond quickly without questioning her requests too much, no matter how bizarre they are. This could be out of politeness towards Miss Havisham, or fear of her. Over the course of the story the reader sees Pip growing up, and identifies with him, through many tough and dangerous times, both emotionally and physically. By the end of the story everybody Pip was close to has died except for Estella, and this leads the reader to believe that he will treat her like the queen he thought she was when he was younger. The reader finds it easy to sympathise with Pip, and there is great empathy for him because he is such a polite, amusing, quick-thinking character. By Matt Capanna ?? ?? ?? ?? Coursework assignment on 'Great Expectations' Page 1 of 6 ...read more.

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