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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? Using setting, description and dialogue, Dickens has created some of the most famous characters in literature. These characters include Magwitch, Miss Havisham and Wemmick from 'Great Expectations'. A 'bleak place overgrown with nettles' is where we first meet the escaped convict, Magwitch. The setting is a cold dark place where Magwitch is introduced to Pip amongst the graves. On the edge of the river there is a gibbet where a pirate had once been held. It certainly sets a cold dark scene, rather morbid. As Pip watches Magwitch limping away he compares him "as if he were the pirate come to life" and in relation to Magwitch, this is significant because, like the pirate, Magwitch is a criminal. Dickens gives a detailed description of Magwitch, which begins with him being spoken of as a 'fearful man, all in coarse grey'. His dialect is very different and there is much contrast between Pip speaking as the child and Magwitch's slang. It is clear that in his escape, Magwitch has come across many problems. He's described as 'a man whose legs were numbed and stiffed' and there is a lot of mention of torture as in being lamed by stones and cut by flints. ...read more.

Middle

Through the description of what Miss Havisham is wearing it becomes clear the she is dressed as a bride and the puzzle pieces together. The description of Miss Havisham herself mirrors her surroundings. At first it seems that she is a wonderfully rich lady surrounded by these rich and beautiful things, but the truth of it is that everything about her is dead and decaying. What had once been white 'had lost it's lustre, and was faded and yellow', as was Miss Havisham's clothing. This conveys quite an eerie mood, and seems that this woman is quite mad. It becomes apparent that she has been jilted on her wedding day. This knowledge has the effect of evoking sympathy. In those days marriage was more important to women. In Victorian England, for the upper class, marriage was a social duty. But although we feel sorry for Miss Havisham, there is more sympathy for Pip, who is humiliated by her eccentric behaviour. It is sad that she is suffering so much with a broken heart but it seems she is quite intent on revenge against the opposite sex, especially when she tells Estella she can break Pip's heart. ...read more.

Conclusion

"I have got hold of it, a bit at a time. It's freehold, by George!" Wemmick's excitable manner of speaking serves to emphasise the impression we have of a kind but highly-strung man who is eager to please. A lot of his sentences end with exclamation marks, as he is very enthusiastic about everything. His is of a lower-class to Pip and you can tell from the friendly manner he speaks rather than the formal way everyone in the upper class does. Wemmick is very good-natured. He lives with his old father and you can tell he loves him very much. From the man working at a prison to a man looking after his father at home, he is very different in comparison. Wemmick is not a central character in the novel, but memorable because he is one of the few truly friendly and good-natured people that you come across in the book. He's definitely a character for everybody to like and perhaps remember as their favourite, plus he and his father bring some good humour to the novel. Overall, in terms of creating memorable characters, Dickens is probably the best writer ever. He gives his characters such personality that you could never forget them. ...read more.

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