Great Expectations – Comparison of Pip and Magwitch

...Start of the Great Expectations – Comparison of Pip and Magwitch ...

First published in 1861 as a weekly serial that gripped and exhilarated readers, “Great Expectations,” (written by Charles Dickens) follows the life of Pip, a young orphan, boy living with his sister and her husband near the ‘overgrown’ and ‘bleak’ Kent marshes. The story follows Pip’s rise into society as he becomes ‘a well to do gentleman.’ Aided by a mysterious benefactor, the tale tells a ‘rags to riches’ story of how Pip fulfils his ‘Great Expectations’ and begins a new life, in London’s high society. Written and set in Victorian Britain, Dickens considers the workings of British society and subtly makes his feelings toward the injustices of the class system clear through Pip and his changing attitudes and behaviours, and the harsh crime and punishment system through Magwitch.

...Middle of the Great Expectations – Comparison of Pip and Magwitch ...

Whereas, in chapter 39 it is Magwitch who yields his status to Pip or “master.” The fact Pip has become higher class, if only in context of the class system of Victorian Britain, gives Pip a much-elevated status over Magwitch. That high status is further emphasised in the vulnerability of Magwitch and his situation, and Magwitch’s huge respect and love for Pip, and although Pip states he was inhospitable, it is affection that Pip obviously does not share or return. Dickens uses language to create vivid imagery in his settings to dictate atmosphere and mood.

...End of the Great Expectations – Comparison of Pip and Magwitch ...

Chapters 1 and 39 formulate a major basis for this outcry as they prove most revealing in it how Dickens felt gentlemen were not so well mannered and ‘gentle, but were snobbish and exploited their position and wealth. In addition, the two chapters highlight how Dickens felt towards the harshness and impersonal inquests into criminal prosecution and sentencing. Similarly, chapters 1 and 39 are invaluable to the narrative as they accentuate the different situations and the changes in personalities, morals and values affected by money, time and social status. The chapters allow the reader to gain the most rounded view of both Magwitch’s and Pip’s characters.

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