Great Expectations.

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Great Expectations.

“Great Expectations” was written by Charles Dickens in 1861. It is about a young boy called Pip showing him from the age of seven through to the age of mid-thirties. Pip shows us the important events in his life and shows many different situations he faces that influence him in his goals in life. It gives the audience something to relate to showing that everyone goes through struggles in life like Pip and shows that wealth doesn’t change people doesn’t matter.

“Great expectations” shows various themes of crime, law and the criminal justice system. Dickens’ views are shown throughout the novel. He uses different characters to define people’s common views about crime and punishment. Dicken’s shows his views through Magwitch.

Charles Dickens experienced the prison system due to his father’s imprisonment. This made an effect on Dicken’s writing by the experience that he faced.

John Dickens, Charles’ father, worked as a clerk at the Navy Pay office and struggled to pay debts. When he couldn’t pay them all he got arrested and sent to Marshalsea Prison- this would have been an awful experience for Charles and that’s why he shows his views in his writing. “Great expectations” is a harsh critism on the British Legal and Penal System.

Magwitch is a character that highlights Dickens’ concerns with the criminal justice system. At first Magwitch frightens Pip in the churchyard but by the end of the novel Pip realises Magwitch’s inner nobility and helps him to evade the law and the police. Dickens was trying to find the good in even the darkest of characters by using Magwitch to show what Dickens thought about crime.

In chapter one Dickens uses a lot of metaphors and similes to describe the setting and atmosphere. Pip describes the day as being “a memorable raw afternoon.” It shows it is harsh and cold. He also says “this bleak place overgrown with nettles was the church yard” this shows it’s very dull and the nettles show sharp and stinging and it doesn’t get looked after much. He describes the marshes as “the dark flat wilderness.” Again showing a dull and harsh atmosphere and a wild effect. He describes the river as “ the low leaden line beyond.” Showing that it’s grey and dull, he describes the sea, as “the distant savage lair from which the wind was rushing was the sea.” It’s a frightening atmosphere. Dickens creates pathetic fallacy showing emotions. The atmosphere adds more tension by it being dull and dark- it prepares us for Magwitch.

When the audience first meet Magwitch we are met by his loud voice. “Hold your noise.” It’s a loud, aggressive voice and described as a “terrible voice”. The text also says “as a man started up from among the graves at the side of the church porch.” This gives an impression of someone arising from the dead adding to the fact that it’s a dark graveyard making more tension to the novel.

When Magwitch speaks it’s very violent and aggressive. “Keep still, you little devil, or I’ll cut your throat!”

Dickens describes his appearance as being very shabby and shows that he’s not a gentleman. “A man with no hat and with broken shoes and with an old rag tied round his head.” He also says “A fearful man, all in course grey.” He’s dressed in very dark clothes and is very rough looking.

Dickens shows the audience what has happened to Magwitch like he had been “Soaked in water, and smothered in mud, and lamed by stones, and cut by flints, and stung by nettles, and torn by briars.” It makes us feel sorry for him even though he is aggressive there’s another side and by the use of the verbs to show what’s happened to him we feel very sorry for him.

Magwitch’s wickedness is emphasised through the presentation of Pip as being very vulnerable and frightened. Pip is very scared of Magwitch and stutters when he talks to him and at one point Pip “held tighter to the tombstone on which he put me on; partly, to keep myself upon it; partly, to keep myself from crying.”

He shows bravery and courage though when Magwitch tilts him upside down, Pip says, “If you would kindly please to let me keep upright, sir, perhaps I shouldn’t be sick and perhaps I could attend more.” He is very polite to the man and even though he is very frightened Pip shows his bravery. This shows a contrast between Pip and the horror of Magwitch.

The significance of the “gibbet… that once held a pirate.” at the end of chapter one is that it shows you what happens to Magwitch and how cruel the early 19th century law was.

In chapter three when Pip goes back to Magwitch with the food he has stolen from Mrs. Joe Gargery, Dickens creates a change in atmosphere between Pip and Magwitch.

Dickens makes us feel sympathy for Magwitch by showing how cold and hurt he was “hugging himself and limping to and fro.” And “He was awfully cold to be sure. I half expected to see him drop down before my face and die of deadly cold.”

Magwitch shown a more gentle side “He did not turn me upside down, this time, to get at what I had, but left me right side upwards while I opened the bundle and emptied my pockets.” He shown no sign of violence and didn’t touch Pip.

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He was very hungry “He was already handing mincemeat down his throat in the most curious manner.” And he again shown he was freezing “He shivered all the while so violently, that it was quite as much as he could do to keep the neck of the bottle between his teeth, without biting it off.”

Pip notices that Magwitch is very ill. “I think you have got the ague said I.” And Magwitch agrees with him “I’m much of your opinion boy said he.”

He shows he trusts Pip “You’re not a deceiving imp? You brought no one with you?” ...

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