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How Dickens Ensures that the Reader's Attitude towards Convict Magwitch Changes throughout the Novel Throughout the novel, 'Great Expectations', various techniques are employed by Dickens

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How Dickens Ensures that the Reader's Attitude towards Convict Magwitch Changes throughout the Novel Throughout the novel, 'Great Expectations', various techniques are employed by Dickens in order to convey the story as a result of character representation and development. This gives the narrative a deeper connection with the reader, since events are told as a result of human emotions described to the reader who can therefore empathise with them. As a result of this technique being used, it is the characters themselves in the story whose perception changes completely in the reader's mind, as opposed to singularly the events and situations surrounding them. This makes the narrative a dramatised exploration of human growth. The most prominent example of this in 'Great Expectations' is the portrayal of Magwitch. Unbeknownst to the reader initially, specific practices are used to give different, developing views of Magwitch and therefore this reflects on the tale as a whole. Magwitch first enters the book confronting a vulnerable young boy at the grave of his long-dead parent's. The setting of this section means that the reader is undoubtedly directed into what the author wishes them to think of the story and the involved characters. Emotive language such as 'bleak' and 'raw' illustrate the feelings of Pip and mirror his emptiness. Without any negative description of Magwitch, even, the concept of a man intimidating an innocent child appears wrong and therefore our view of Magwitch is instantly tainted. ...read more.


'Shivering and limping' is juxtaposed with 'growled and glared' and the depiction of his eating the bread 'ravenously' give subtle credence to his actions, and pave the way for a reformation later on. Another contribution to these references is the almost comical mention of Pip having fat cheeks and therefore edible, although the reader knows that if Magwitch's intent was to harm Pip then he would have done so. It is at this point that the reader is enabled to become detached from the narrator and experience the events as an observer rather than as a participant. The reference to religion in the setting and in Magwitch's wish for Pip to be 'strook dead by the lord' is betrayed, explores this universal boundary of society, despite social class. Later in the book, when Joe and Pip pursue the convict with the soldiers, they both pity him, and secretly hope he will not be caught. Joe sees the convict, not as a bad person, but 'a poor, fellow human creature', something Dickens wishes the reader to see too. Despite his pity for the convict here, when the convict reveals himself as the benefactor on his doorstep, has to hide his revulsion. Dickens, here, illustrates how despite money and status, these traits cannot compare to the simple goodness of a person. ...read more.


In the last chapter that includes Magwitch, his death only adds to the reader's sense of empathy and guilt of presumption. His pain is emotively described and his dying knowledge that Estella is his daughter and is loved by Pip pleases the reader, as the character is now content. The reader is also satisfied with the conduct of Pip, as his willingness to risk everything (despite without the best initial intentions) means that he has learnt his lesson of what is truly important in life, and how his life is now essentially futile. A prevalent theme in the story is the sharp juxtaposition of what appears and of reality and this idea sets up the characters in the story to appear differently to the reader, and ultimately; to change as people. Supplementary to this, even despite the several endings that were written for the book, the ending is irrelevant in communicating the theme idea that ultimately, good supplants evil. The characters in the book, particularly Magwitch, Miss Havisham, Estella and Pip are enabled by Dickens to appear inherently good despite their wrongdoings. Ultimately, Magwitch redeems himself to the reader when it is revealed that he is Pip's benefactor, however the reason behind this is ambiguous. Although it is a gesture of thanks, as Magwitch claims, it is also an indication to society that even someone considered as the lowest of the low can create a gentleman. ?? ?? ?? ?? Lucinda McDade ...read more.

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