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How far does Charles Dickens encourage the reader to feel sympathy for Magwitchin "Great Expectations".

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Michelle Kelly May 2002 10 Reynolds How far does Charles Dickens encourage the reader to feel sympathy for Magwitch in "Great Expectations" Charles Dickens wrote the novel "Great Expectations" in 1861, however the main action of the novel is set between 1807-1823, and the opening scene is set in a churchyard upon the Kent marshes. It is here where we first meet the character of Magwitch. A young, orphan boy named Pip is visiting the graves of his parents when he is scared by Magwitch and told to "Keep still you little devil or I'll cut your throat" As the reader meets the character of Magwitch the reader doesn't feel sympathy for Magwitch as the reader sees him through Pips eyes. Pip sees Magwitch as this big, scary, rugged prisoner who could be very violent. Pip could possibly be in fear of his life. In some ways Pip is a victim because all Magwitch wants from Pip is to own a gentleman. ...read more.


I'll put it at once into one mouthful of English. In jail and out of jail, in jail and out of jail..." Magwitch carries on to talk about how he grew up only to be known as Magwitch and how he never had a proper home. He also pointed out the fact that people had just given up on him. Dickens tries to make the reader feel sympathy for Magwitch by telling the reader that Magwitch was never educated properly. "A deserting solider in a Travellers Rest... taught me to read; and a travelling Giant what signed his name at a penny a time learnt me to write" Magwitch goes on to tell the reader about how he met got acquainted with a man who he had seriously hurt many years before. His name was Compeyson. He had a good upbringing and Magwitch thought that he would help him become a better person and be considered a gentleman. ...read more.


But on the way they encounter Compeyson and Magwitch ends up fighting. This leads to Magwitch becoming seriously injured and eventually his capture. Throughout these events in the novel the reader develops a sense of sympathy for Magwitch after all he has been through, compared to the sense of anger and possible hatred towards him in the beginning of the novel. Dickens gradually develops this sense of sympathy throughout the last few chapters of the novel. This feeling originates in Chapter 41, in which Magwitch pays Pip a visit. It develops a bit more in Chapter 42 when Magwitch tells his life story to Pip and gets bigger over the remaining 17 chapters of the novel. Dickens encourages you to use your imagination when feeling sympathy for the character of Magwitch as he can be seen in two different ways. He can be seen as a very unfortunate individual who has had a lot of bad luck, or he can be seen as someone who has got everything that was already coming to them. That choice is the readers to make. ...read more.

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