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How does Dickens create vivid and memorable characters in the novel Great Expectations? Refer to at least three characters in your answer.

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Introduction

How does Dickens create vivid and memorable characters in the novel Great Expectations? Refer to at least three characters in your answer. Charles Dickens is renowned for the characters he creates in his novels. Many have become famous literary characters, for example Scrooge and Oliver Twist. Both of these characters are known even if someone is not familiar with the story they are both set in. Dickens' characters are so well known because he creates a variety of character types. Some characters are 'real' and change and develop throughout the novel like a person really would. Pip, from 'Great Expectations' is a perfect example of this. Other characters are satirical; Dickens exaggerates their traits so much that they become like cartoon characters. They are humorous characters and are funny. Pumblechook and Mrs. Gargery from Great Expectations are examples of satirical characters. All of the characters in 'Great Expectations' are isolated in one way or another. Miss Havisham has been isolated by choice because she is stuck in the past due to situations that have happened previously. Wemmick is isolated when he is at home by choice. This is because he works near Newgate Gaol and wants to escape work when he is at home. Magwitch, however, has been forced to be isolated. He has been cut off from society because he is a criminal. ...read more.

Middle

This is also shown in the phrase "everything in the room had stopped, like the watch and the clock, a long time ago." Dickens also hints as to why she is the way she is through her physical description. She is wearing "satins, and lace, and silks" which are all rich materials, again, indicating that she is of high-status and wealthy. However they are "all of white" and "she had a long white veil" showing that time stopped for her when her husband-to-be did not arrive on the wedding day. From lines 7 to 14 we see that she is living in the past, for she had "not quite finished dressing". Dickens compares Miss Havisham metaphorically to a flower that is withered and dead, conveying that Miss Havisham herself is fragile. Dickens uses a skeletal image of Miss Havisham. He describes her eyes as "sunken" and her figure "had shrunk to skin and bone" which gives the reader and image of decay as does the phrase "everything within my view, which ought to be white, had been white long ago...and was faded and yellow." Dickens says she sat "corpse-like" with her "bridal dress looking like earthy paper" which once again suggests crumbling and decay, and links back to the flower metaphor. Pip's reaction to Miss Havisham is summed up in the phrase "sat the strangest lady I have ever seen, or shall ever see". ...read more.

Conclusion

However, despite his bad grammar he uses complex vocabulary like "impede" and "principle" alongside complex sentence construction. This shows that he is an erratic character and also quite excitable. Dickens also uses dialogue to hint to us, like he did with Miss Havisham, as to why the character is isolated, "the office is one thing, and the private life is another." Finally Dickens uses actions to characterise. Words like "conducted" help show Wemmicks pride for his home and where he lives, and the way he hoists things up "smiling as he does so" to show Pip, emphasises this. However, it also shows that he is a simple character, unlike the other two, and is pleased by many things. When Wemmick, asks Pip if her would "nod away" at the Aged, shows that he is not embarrassed at all of his house or his family. By doing this, Dickens makes the reader very fond of Wemmick, unlike with the other two characters, who don't appeal to the audience in a very positive light. In conclusion, my favourite character from these three extracts is Wemmick. I think it is because Dickens uses all his techniques to try and make the reader empathise with him, and it works. The reader becomes fond of him and therefore likes him more. However, the most memorable character is Miss Havisham. I feel this is because she is very strange and the description of her is very vivid so therefore she sticks in the readers mind. Emma Stanley. 11F ...read more.

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