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How does Dickens create sympathy for his characters in 'Great Expectations'?

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Liz Hopkins Great Expectations How does Dickens create sympathy for his characters in Great Expectations? In this essay I shall explain how and why Dickens creates sympathy for his characters. To do this, I have chosen Pip and Miss Havisham as the characters I will focus on. I have chosen them because they are key characters in the story and both have storylines that Dickens hopes that the reader will sympathise with them for. In the times when Dickens was writing, many people would have had quite a hard life so Dickens probably based his characters on someone he knew or was around him. Modern English is also very different to Victorian language, but is key to creating memorable descriptions. The way Dickens describes characters such as Miss Havisham, helps a reader visualise the character and perhaps build a mental image that re-appears whenever this character is mentioned. Dickens wanted the reader to sympathise with his characters because it would pull them deeper into the story and make them ...read more.


A man with no hat, and with broken shoes, and with an old rag tied round his head. A man who had been soaked in water, and smothered in mud, and lamed by stones, and cut by flints, and stung by nettles, and torn by briars; who limped, and shivered, and glared, and growled, and whose teeth chattered in his head,' is the description given to Magwitch's character when Pip first meets him. His use of adjectives such as 'fearful' helps the reader to again visualise the character. Pip is, as a character, quite sweet and well-behaved, but to his sister, Mrs Joe Gargery, he is anything but. As Pip is but a child, he is not listened to, this has quite dramatically changed and nowadays most children are allowed to air their opinions as well. For this reason, for most of his life, I think Pip gets over-looked and one of the only people who does listen to him is Joe Gargery, his sister's husband. ...read more.


Miss Havisham never leaves the house, she never sees daylight, yet she still manages to survive, this is proof of the era when in which Great Expectations was written when servants were still a very common fixture in upper class households. I think Dickens uses phrases such as 'tears started to my eyes' and emotive language such as, when Miss Havisham refers to her heart, 'Broken!' This is hard-hitting and the reader remembers these moments clearly as key moments in the story. I felt, when I read this story, extreme pity for Miss Havisham and I also felt Pip's fear when he was in the churchyard with Magwitch, this is all due to the great quality of writing. I felt the most sympathy for Miss Havisham because she is completely heartbroken and I don't think she'll ever get over it. I think Dickens is still read today because his writing was very modern for his time thus making it as relevant today as ever, if not more. I think it is Dickens' great character and setting descriptions that still allows his literature to be enjoyed today. ...read more.

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