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How does Dickens create characters that are memorable and striking?

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Introduction

How Does Dickens Create Characters That Are Memorable And Striking? In this essay, I will be looking at two characters, Mrs Havisham and Magwitch. I will look at a number of different techniques that Dickens uses to make these characters memorable and striking. These include using Pip as a narrator, the dialogue between Pip and the characters, language used and the setting. I will also try to relate the character to their social status and the historical setting. Charles Dickens used characters to show his disapproval of the class system. Often in many of his books, the poorer, oppressed characters rose up to be heroes of the stories. He uses characters to like Miss Havisham and Magwitch to reflect his opinion. Magwitch's social status becomes apparent when Dickens describes his clothing and his handling of Pip. He addresses Pip in a very rough manner, shaking him and using harsh words. "Keep still you little devil or I'll cut your throat!" This tells the reader that Magwitch does not know how to handle and address other people or that he does not respect anybody else and feels that, in particular he does not have to be polite to a child. This portrayal of Magwitch emphasises the fact that he is of a lower social class and this ties in with a stereotypical view that someone in the lower half of the social divide will be more likely to commit a crime. ...read more.

Middle

It shows clearly that Miss Havisham is a strong character that is going to have a great effect on Pip and for this reason we know that she is important and has a part to play in his 'expectations' The narrative technique used by Dickens also enables him to add reflections concerning past events. "that was a memorable day for me, for it made great changes in me" This is the mature Pip talking about his past that he would not have been able to do as a child. Dickens needed to have this ability to do this so Pip could reflect on the changes Miss Havisham caused to take place in him and the way she made him feel. This helps us to compare the two different Pips and how he has changed. The description is a very important factor when forming an idea about a character because we tend to base our views about a person on their appearance and their actions, how they interact with other characters. Magwitch is described by Pip as being "A fearful man, all in coarse grey" and "A man who had been soaked in water and smothered in mud, and lamed by stones" Dickens has used vocabulary that suggests that Magwitch has been living on the marshes. ...read more.

Conclusion

"What do I touch?" "Your heart" "Broken!" As the story develops some of the comments made by Miss Havisham become relevant to the plot. We can see this in a conversation between Herbert Pocket and Pip about her failed wedding and Pip recollects her mentioning her 'broken' heart' In conclusion, Dickens makes the characters striking because in many of his novels he was protesting against social injustice. Using stereotypical characters, like Magwitch with exaggerated features helps the reader to remember them and remember the message that Dickens was trying to convey. Dickens also uses very descriptive language to great effect. It makes the reader feel as if they were actually in Victorian times with the characters. This is demonstrated in Pip's first meeting with Magwitch, where the language used creates a picture for the reader so that we can believe that we are there. Magwitch's appearance mirrors the cold, grey lonely marsh so we can also remember characters because we associate them with places. This is shown with Miss Havisham, as her surroundings mirror the way looks, acts, and are quite unusual so are memorable. I think that the most important factor for making a character striking is the first description of them. Dickens makes the reader remember the character by using a very powerful description when we very first meet them in the book. It immediately grabs the readers attention and makes them want to investigate and find out more about the character. ...read more.

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