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How does Dickens create characters that are both memorable and striking?

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Introduction

How does Dickens create characters that are both memorable and striking? 'Great Expectations' was written by Charles Dickens in 1860-1. The book was first published in serial form in the 'All Year Round', a weekly journal that was edited by Dickens. The novel is set in Victorian England and reflects what life was like during this period of great social and economic change. In his novel, Dickens creates characters that are very real and prominent. In my essay I will analyse the characters of Magwitch, Estella and Joe. We are first introduced to Abel Magwitch, the "convict", in the first chapter of 'Great Expectations'. We meet the character in the "dark flat wilderness beyond the churchyard" of the village the novel is set in, twenty miles from the coast in the rural marsh country of south east England. The setting is described as a "bleak place overgrown with nettles" and we get the impression that the landscape is quite dull and uninspiring. The marshes are bleak and largely uninhabited. The scene takes place in a graveyard, and this makes a rather creepy impression on the reader. Through his description of the setting, Dickens creates a dark, mysterious mood. The dark and desolate marshes could also symbolize danger and uncertainty. The atmosphere crated in this scene is quite tense and gloomy. ...read more.

Middle

We learn that Estella is quite bitter and twisted, as she has been brought up by her guardian to wreak Miss Havisham's revenge on the male race and "break their hearts". Estella is presented as intelligent, and we know that she comes from the upper class. She is well spoken but she uses her intelligence to put Pip down, '"He calls the knaves, Jacks, this boy!" said Estella with disdain, before our first game was out. "And what coarse hands he has! And what thick boots!"' Through this, we get the impression that Estella is quite snobby and haughty. She seems to think of herself as superior to poor Pip, because he is of a lower class than her and not as well educated. Though Estella represents the life of upper class children in the novel, she is actually the daughter of the convict, Magwitch. She springs from the lowest levels of society and serves as a bitter criticism against the class system. Estella has been brought up by rich Mrs Havisham as a bitter and cruel child. We feel sorry for Estella, as she does not realise that she is merely being used as an agent for Miss Havisham's revenge on the males. ...read more.

Conclusion

Joe is not ashamed because of his lack of education and low status, and this makes him a very humorous and loveable character. Dickens uses dialect and speech to generate comedy in the character of Joe. Joe is uneducated, and has a funny manner of speaking. His simple ways and delight of small things make him endearing, and we genuinely like the character of Joe. We sympathise for him, because of his unhappy marriage to Mrs Joe, but are later thrilled to hear of his new found happiness with Biddy. Joe is a truly likeable character, who brings humour to 'Great Expectations'. He is a simple man, but good and sweet natured, and we are convinced that him and Biddy will live happily together because of this. Joe is good to Pip even when the latter cruelly rejects him, which is typical of his kindness and loyalty to the boy he brought up. He is charitable and caring, and a truly good character. In conclusion, Dickens creates characters that are memorable and striking using varying techniques. He uses dialect well, and by reproducing regional speech gives his characters life. Dickens builds his characters well, they are complex yet easy to relate to. Through description of their mannerisms, Dickens makes his characters real. Charles Dickens creates memorable and striking characters by using dialects, brilliant description and making the characters have interesting backgrounds and personalities. ?? ?? ?? ?? Kasia Kalinowska ...read more.

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