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How does Dickens explore the impact of Magwitch and Miss Havisham on Pips development?

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Introduction

How does Dickens explore the impact of Magwitch and Miss Havisham on Pip's development? Written in the second half of the nineteenth century and set in the eighteen Twenties, 'Great Expectations' details Pip's sudden rise in fortune and society. Pip's is a na�ve easily influenced young boy in the beginning of the story. During his growth into a young man, his development is influenced and affected by many people and events. The two people that have perhaps the most significant impact on Pip's development are Magwitch the convict and the witch-like Miss Havisham. The impressionable boy first meets Magwitch in chapter one as Magwitch approaches Pip 'from among the graves at the side of the church porch'. Immediately, Pip is affected greatly by Magwitch as he is petrified of the escaped convict. As he seizes Pip by the chin he is described as 'a fearful man, all in coarse grey, with a great iron on his leg...whose teeth chattered in his head'. Dickens paints a grim picture of a hard looking, dirty, low convict with whom Pip is to develop an ironic bond. He orders Pip to bring him 'a file and wittles' the next day to the marshes and threatens Pip with another young man - hiding with Magwitch in the marshes -, who in comparison with Magwitch is an 'angel'. An early film version of 'Great Expectations' shows Pip awake of night terrified of this man who is said to 'softly creep' his way into a young boy's room when the boy is 'warm in bed' and 'tear him open'. ...read more.

Middle

This is shown when they embrace and Pip talks about the 'abhorrence in which I held the man, the dread I had of him, the repugnance which I shrank from him, could not have been exceeded if he had been some terrible beast. After truly believing that his benefactor was lucrative and of high social status Pip hopes are shattered when he finds out he has been living of the dirty money of a convict. What is ironic, is that Pip is repulsed by Magwitch and the fact that he is his benefactor but without Magwitchs' money Pip would never have become such a snob and wouldn't even be in a position to have such a view. The way Pip reacts to Magwitch as a child and the way he reacts to him when he reappears shows how much Pip has changed and developed. Originally he is terrified of Magwitch but still keen to help him where as when he visits Pip in London -despite how much he has helped him-Pip looks down on him and is disgusted by him. Magwitch is the sole reason for Pip becoming a gentleman, but now Pip is a gentleman he is appalled that it is Magwitch who is responsible. For Magwitch though the bond is still very much there he mentions how he was constantly thinking of him during his time in Australia and says 'look'ee here, Pip. ...read more.

Conclusion

Pip believes that after the time he has spent playing with her she will repay him in some way. Of course this is false hope as Miss Havisham is clearly not grateful or kind enough to repay Pip for his deeds. Unlike Magwitch who became his benefactor after Pip had helped him. It is ironic that a convict should be so thankful and work incredibly hard to repay Pip for the good things he has done for him; where as a wealthy, high-status woman such as Miss Havisham does not, despite not having to lift a finger to be able to do so. Throughout the novel Miss Havisham is like a vampire sucking on Pip's energy, repressing his happiness and shattering his hopes and dreams. Although she does apologise for this near to her death, the psychological damage is done to Pip to a point of non-repair. Her repressive qualities are proven by the fact that Pip and Estella fail to ever have a good relationship whilst she is there. It is only when she dies that anything really blossoms between the two. Both Magwitch and Miss Havisham impact Pip and his development profoundly. Although Magwitch allows him to become a gentleman by becoming his benefactor he is unable to be truly happy throughout his adulthood. This is due to events earlier in his life in which Magwitch and Miss Havisham were the main perpetrators. Towards the end of the novel, with Miss Havisham and Magwitch now dead, the reader hopes that Pip can shake off the impact off his 'shadow parents' and now, finally, pursue Estella unhindered. ...read more.

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