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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? The novel "Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens is about an orphan boy called Pip. His older sister and her blacksmith husband, Joe Gargery, raised him. Pip's life is changed when he helps out a convict called Pip that was raised by his sister and her blacksmith husband, Joe Gargery. Pip's life changed when he helps a convict called Magwich. After his brief meeting with the convict, Pip is asked to meet a strange lady called Miss Havisham who is still upset at being jilted on her wedding day. While at Miss Havisham's, Pip falls hopelessly in love with her ward, Estella. Pip is delighted when some years later when he receives a small fortune from a mysterious benefactor, who he believes to be Miss Havisham. Pip then goes to London to become a gentleman. Later in the story we find out Magwich is in fact Pip's secret benefactor. In the opening chapter Dickens instantly makes the character of Pip very striking because Pip is very intuitive. For example, Pip draws a conclusion of what his parents look like just from the markings on their gravestone. The first line of dialogue, "hold your noise", creates drama and the threat that follows is just as dramatic, "I'll cut your throat". ...read more.

Middle

Dickens does this by using powerful adjectives such as "faded", "withered" and "sunken". The reader then learns everything has stood still since her wedding day. To empathise this Dickens uses repetition. An example of repetition being used in this way is when Pip notices every timepiece has stopped at twenty minutes to nine. Miss Havisham's background makes her very memorable as it is odd for a person to make time stand still for themselves. Later in the extract, Miss Havisham makes Pip and Estella lay together. Estella dislikes Pip because of his upbringing, an example her snobbery is, "he is a common, labouring boy", and this quote says a lot about Estella and how Miss Havisham has brought her up. Estella has been taught to hate men just as Miss Havisham does and that is reflected by Pip's opinion of her, "I think she is very insulting". Estella's cruel behaviour towards Pip lead him to be ashamed of his upbringing, " I had never thought of being ashamed of my hands before; but I began to consider them an indifferent pair", he feels this way about himself because he wants Estella to like him and maybe even love him. The second extract focusing around Estella and Miss Havisham is set years later and the relationship between the pair has deteriorated dramatically. ...read more.

Conclusion

with a relish and not merely mechanical". Wemmick seems to be proud of his little paradise he's created; this becomes clear when he raises his flag, "very pleasant to see the pride with which he hoisted it up". Wemmick himself admits he is different at home compared to work, "When I go to the office, I leave the castle behind me, and when I come into the castle, I leave the office behind me". Dickens makes Wemmick a likeable character because he's looking after his old Father and Wemmick is also endearing. He's also likeable because he's a genuinely good person, which makes a pleasant change form other characters such as Magwich and Miss Havisham. Wemmick is used as a comical character to make him memorable to the reader, as everyone likes comedy in a story, especially as this story is at times slow. Dickens creates characters that are both memorable and striking by giving them a unique personality and a mysterious background. Miss Havisham because she is still trying to get over being jilted on her wedding day and Estella because she has become the puppet of Miss Havisham and therefore unable to love another person due to her cold upbringing. Magwich is memorable because he adds tension to the novel and has a mysterious past. Finally, Wemmick is memorable and striking because of his comedic personality and his work/home transformation, his contrast from other character also makes him stand out. ...read more.

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