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Magwitch's Signifigance in Great Expectations

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Magwitch's Significance in Great Expectations Throughout the novel Great Expectations the reader will find that Magwitch plays a significant role to the plot of story. Not only does Dickens use Magwitch to form the main foundation of the story he also uses the character to convey Dickens's view on important themes such as crime, punishment, social status and betrayal. In this presentation I will explore the ways in which Magwitch is presented and talk about and his significance in the novel. We are first introduced to Magwitch in chapter one. The reader becomes familiar with the character Pip; we learn he is a child who is alone in the graveyard and is mourning over the death of his family. The reader knows that not only would this upset Pip, it could make him feel frightened because as a child you are dependant on your family members to keep you safe. He makes it sound as if Pip was recalling what it felt like to be a child, like when we get the impression that he could have been exaggerating about wilderness and so on before him. An image is described, such as 'the low leaden line beyond' and this then is revealed as what it actually is; the river. This gives the effect that not only Pip is confused and lost by his surroundings but also and therefore scared and intimidated by them. ...read more.


This is brave of him because as rich person with high social status you are not expected to be friends with a working class convoy. Although Dickens may not have intentionally done so every time, there are frequently similarities between Magwitch and other characters, which not only give us different ways to interpret the story but also can also simply help readers understand the characters better. Early on in the novel we begin to compare Magwitch to Pip. Pip is obviously terrified of Magwitch but the way Pip is threatened by him so fiercely almost makes it seem as if he is fearful himself. Both Pip and Magwitch experience the feeling of desperation but they deal with it in different ways. Pip knows that his life depends on bringing Magwitch the food and the file but he appears rushed and slightly impatient, because he takes the wrong turn. Magwitch is patient; he appears to have been waiting all night for the food. When he has the food, however he shows great desperation in the way he rushes through it. Magwitch later shows himself to be loyal because he returns and sends him money. Pip has almost forgotten about him and seems ungrateful on the other hand. At this point in a way they are both rich, yet Magwitch has earned the money himself, when Pip does nothing to become the way he is now. ...read more.


When Pip hurries to bring back the food later on, he almost believes that the animals like the cow know that he is stealing. This use of exaggeration is not because Pip is trying to show off about the story, but because he is very fearful. This makes the readers feel sorry for him. Pip finds Magwitch still 'hugging himself and limping'. Use of repletion gives the effect that Magwitch is desperate and patient. Imagery is used when Magwitch eats. Pip compares the way Magwitch devours his food to a dog, illustrating that he is bad mannered and hungry but also, in a way thankful that he has the food. Pip is quite observant of Magwitch to be like this, so he may already be starting to like him. There is often the use of pathetic fallacy associated with Magwitch. When we are first introduced to him it is rainy and just before he appears later in the book Pip describes the bad weather; how it is wet, muddy and cold. Pip has no idea who the mystery person is but the reader may be able to identify him as being Magwitch because of his familiar dialogue and abrupt, simple sentences. It is ironic how Magwitch's good intentions only made Pip more miserable than he should have been, even though it was he who may have saved Magwitch's life at the start. ...read more.

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