• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How does Dickens present Magwitch in the opening of Great Expectations?

Extracts from this document...


How does Dickens present Magwitch in the opening of "Great Expectations"? Great Expectations is a semi-autobiographical novel written by Charles Dickens (1812 - 1870). It was first published in a magazine named All Year Round in the years 1860 - 1861. The action of the story takes place from Christmas Eve of 1812 to the winter of 1840. Great Expectations is an example of bildungsroman, it tells us about the early moral, psychological and intellectual development of the protagonist, Pip who represents Dickens. At the age of 12, Dickens' father was imprisoned for debt; this may have been Dickens' inspiration for the character Magwitch, an escaped convict. The first chapter is set in the graveyard where Pip is mourning the death of his parents and siblings, this creates a sad atmosphere. The setting also makes us sympathise for Pip as he is an orphan however it also make the reader wary of his surroundings. The description 'wilderness beyond the churchyard' suggests the graveyard is lonely and abandoned in the middle of nowhere. It gives the impression that beyond the graveyard there is a dark, open space where anything could be lurking in the shadows. ...read more.


However in this situation Pip is the one with power, he is the one who is choosing to provide food and a file for Magwitch yet he doesn't have to. This is an example of irony. At the end of the chapter Dickens creates an atmosphere that makes the reader feel sympathy for Magwitch. The quote 'clasping himself, as if to hold himself together' makes the reader feel sympathy for Magwitch as he is walking away, the words 'holding himself together' make Magwitch seem as though he is going to drop down dead any minute, it makes Pip and the reader feel sympathy towards Magwitch. It shows that Magwitch is deceiving as at first he was described as a controlling and powerful character however this description shows that Magwitch is a vulnerable and weak character. The adjectives 'numbed and stiff' contrast with the start of chapter one because Magwitch is portrayed as a powerful and strong character in the beginning of the novel through his threatening tone; however at the end of chapter one Magwitch is shown as a vulnerable and helpless character through his physical appearance. ...read more.


Dickens was influenced by his father to include Magwitch in Great Expectations; he also uses Magwitch to explore the relationship between morals and money. Dickens used the theme of social class well, as he shows Pip as a working class man who swiftly proceeds to become an upper class gentleman. Also Dickens shows Magwitch as a lower class convict who makes a lot of money. The readers feelings change because we sympathise for Pip at first because he is a helpless young boy whereas towards the end of the novel we see Pip feeling as though he is too good for the Blacksmith when he comes to visit, therefore the reader may feel as though Pip has changed into a man who looks down on people. Dickens also used the criminal theme well, we see Magwitch as a criminal who we think is a harmful character however the readers' feelings change because towards the end of the novel when we find out Magwitch is Pips benefactor, we see that Magwitch is a kind and thankful character. Dickens achieves the affect of bildungsroman too, as throughout the novel we saw Pip, the protagonist grow and develop socially, intellectually and psychologically. - 1 - ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Great Expectations section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Great Expectations essays

  1. How does Dickens present childhood in Great Expectations?

    This question is asked as if she condemns him for not crying like she wants to see him do. She also deliberately makes him feel insignificant - almost second class - compared to her, as shown on his walk home when he feels bad about who he is and how

  2. How does Dickens present Pip's childhood at the beginning of "Great Expectations."

    This person is Joe who is not a blood relative to Pip. Joe loves Pip and they have been together through the taunting of Mrs Joe. Joe describes them as 'fellow sufferers' which indicates that they are both in similar positions.

  1. An exploration of the ways in which issues of class and status are presented ...

    The 11th Viscount avoids the past in Marion, rather than finding refuge and console in it as it may be seen that the 9th Viscount had, and the 11th is reduced to living in less that half the house, with the rest let to a girl's school.

  2. Charles Dickens Great Expectations Moral and Social Issues

    He says to himself, 'It's the most miserable thing to feel ashamed of home'. In the Victorian Era, the only way of changing fortune was to have a rich benefactor. Pip got what he wanted; he became a rich gentleman.

  1. How does Dickens use Pips relationship with Magwitch to interest the reader?

    Two chapters after, Magwitch gets captured. Pip is then anxious that the convict will think that he has betrayed him to the soldiers, so when the convict looked in his direction, Pip slightly moved his hands and shook his head.

  2. Describe the character of Magwitch. What do you think Dickens has to say about ...

    a form of very good entertainment, many families would make a day out of it and that would be the show/performance. Abel Magwitch is one of the greatest inventions not only from this novel but from Dickens as an author who proved to be very successful.

  1. How does Dickens create sympathy for the character of Magwitch in the novel 'Great ...

    The reader finds it easier to like Magwitch and Magwitch's sacrifices for Pip seem all the greater because of Pip's ingratitude. Pip also shows his negative feeling towards Magwitch in his language. Pip always implies in his speech that Magwitch in on his own and that Pip is unwilling to help him.

  2. Great Expectations - Theme of class

    Pip would've never thought about his class before, but these condensed insults that he has received have made him think deeply about his own class. Pip slowly begins to understand his own class and is becoming more socially aware. He is coming to terms with the fact that he is

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work