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

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Introduction

How does Dickens create sympathy for his characters in Great Expectations? Charles Dickens the author of Great Expectations was born on the 7th February 1812. When Dickens was 12 his father was imprisoned for debt in 1824. He was removed from school and sent to work in a blacking factory to help support his family. The way that Dickens suffered as a child contributed greatly to his themes that occur again and again in Dickens's fiction. Great Expectations is the story of Phillip Pirrip an orphan raised by his sister and her husband. It follows the good and bad times of his life from when he is a young poor boy to when he moves to London and hopes to become a gentleman. This is one of Dickens most well known novels both back when it was written and still with modern day readers. The story takes place in the early nineteenth century England and begins in a semi rural setting. We first meet Phillip Pirrip (Pip) as a young boy visiting the graves of his parents and his siblings. In the graveyard Pip meets Abel Magwitch, who becomes an important influence on his life. My feeling's towards extract one are that Dickens tries to make the reader sympathise with the two main characters. ...read more.

Middle

All these adjectives that the writer uses creates sympathy because they describe him as injured and wet which creates pity. After describing the setting and characters there is then an interaction between Pip and Abel Magwitch. Pip replies to Magwitch's threat pleading for his life by saying "Oh, don't cut my throat, sir," this makes Pip sound extremely vulnerable. Dickens then changes to third person it says "I pleaded in terror." This contributes to more sympathy towards Pip. Then Abel Magwitch turns Pip upside down looking for food. "The man after looking at me for a moment, turned me upside down, and emptied my pockets. There was nothing but a piece of bread." This creates sympathy for Pip as it gives the impression that Abel Magwitch is robbing Pip. It also shows that Pip is poor and has no money only a piece of bread. The next bit shows how frightened Pip is of Abel Magwitch "I was seated on a high tombstone, trembling," this shows that Pip was shaking with fear. Dickens then goes on to create sympathy towards Abel Magwitch "while he ate the bread ravenously" this shows how hungry he is and that he has not eaten in a long time. Then we read "though I was undersized for my years, and not strong." ...read more.

Conclusion

Miss Havisham then tells Estella to play a game of cards with Pip. Estella replies "with this boy! Why, he is a common labouring boy!" this creates sympathy for Pip as it is an insult to Pip. Estella then remarks "he calls the knaves, Jacks, this boy!" "And what coarse hands he has and what thick boots!" We then read that Pip "had never thought of been ashamed of his hands before." The reader sympathises with Pip hear as he is embarrassed about his hands. The language and dialogue in extract two is very important, Dickens creates the impression that Pip is like a slave (although he is not). The way that Miss Havisham speaks to Pip is very distinctive, she does not ask him do to things she tells him what to do and when to do it. An example of this is on line 124 "when shall I have you here again. Let me think." She then thinks for a while and says "come here again in six days. You hear?" this creates sympathy for Pip as he gets ordered what to do and has no choice in the matter. I have read two extracts of Great Expectation and commented on how Charles Dickens creates sympathy for his characters. Dickens is a talented author and uses many tools to create sympathy for his characters. ...read more.

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