Characters in Great Expectations Essay
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In this first extract there are many hidden connections between the characters and the settings. The first connection is when Pip the narrator describes the graveyard. He describes it as a “bleak place overgrown with nettles”. The word bleak alone reflects many characters feelings. The word bleak may perhaps represent how Pip feels about the place he has to mourn for his family and how he is in disbelief that a place of death and rebirth could be so uncared for.
I think this uncaring for the graveyard is a strong reflection of Pips character, as he himself is uncared for.
It could also symbolize Pip’s life so far as being miserable and empty and never having anything to look forward to. However I think the main thing the word bleak is trying to signify is the “fearful man” Magwitch. This convict’s life will be bleak even he does not go back to prison. This is because he has no option, no friends or family and he is alone in the world. Pip the narrator describes the area surrounding the churchyard as a “dark flat wilderness”. This quote is another representation of Pip’s life .
The word “dark” indicates Pip’s past and how it is dark and cloudy as he does not know anything about it. The word “flat” signifies Pip’s life at the moment as being straight forward and plain with nothing changing and the word wilderness representing Magwitch and how Magwitch is going to change Pip’s future from flat and straight forward to wild andchanging. The quote also may represent Pip’s existence as he has always been alone, never knowing any of his family apart from his sister.
Furthermore the fact that Pip is alone in this harsh abandoned environment makes the area more scary and dangerous. So when Dickens refers to Pip as a “small bundle of shivers” it creates an image in the readers mind of Pip curled up all alone in this “overgrown” “wilderness” which I think increases the readers sorrow for Pip. Moreover the word “bundle” emphasises how small Pip is which may increase the readers sorrow for Pip even more. This atmosphere created by Dickens gives a good entrance for the character Magwitch.
Magwitch is mirrored through the landscape and the words Dickens uses so that he is not only created through words but from the settings. The words and settings that are used to emphasise Magwitch are mainly employed to dehumanise Magwitch so that he seems more like a monster then a man. Magwitch is first introduced at the graveyard, where he scares Pip not only with his words but with his image. This is shown before Magwitch is even introduced into the play by the narrator. The narrator refers to a wind rushing from a “savage lair”.
I think this wind from the savage lair is Magwitch and how he is being blown ever closer to Pip. I also think that the word “savage” could be referring to the prison Magwitch was in. As it shows the fact that a prison is a place for savages. This idea increases the reader’s view of Magwitch making him more of a beast then a man. The assumption that Magwicth is a beast is also supported by the fact that Dickens followed “savage” with the word “lair” the word lair is mainly used to describe an animal’s home which enhances the idea of Magwitch being an animal.
I think Dickens does this to dehumanise Magwitch further and also to create an image in the readers mind just before Magwitch is introduced into the extract. Magwitch is an escaped convict which makes his options “bleak” that’s why I think he ends up at the graveyard because if your options are “bleak” you usually only have the worst choices to choose from. The word “overgrown” suggests how Magwitch is out of control which makes him more like a wild monster. In addition the word “nettles “could be representing Magwitch being sharp, painful and dangerous.
These quotes show that nature has personified Magwitch into a wild beast. When Magwitch is first described by the narrator, one of the first things that he is described as is “a man with no hat”. I think this is said because in the times of Great Expectations gentleman usually wore top hats. Dickens is trying to show that Magwitch is no gentleman. At the end of extract one Magwitch asks Pip where his village lies. This I think has a small reference to Mr and Mrs Gargery, as they both are included as the “village” that Pip points to when Magwicth threatens him in the Graveyard.
The village “lay inshore among the alder trees,”. As a result of this quote we draw together the image of a peaceful village. This quote illustrates the meaning of the word “lay” as this one word indicates that the village was asleep and unaware of Magwitch’s presence. This extract shows how well the settings of Great Expectations not only contribute to the story but to the characters emotions as well. Extract two takes place in Satis House. This old outdated building creates the feelings and atmosphere for this extract.
The extract begins with Pip describing the room he is in and giving us an image of what it looks like. Pip then meets Miss Havisham and refers to her as the “strangest” thing he has ever seen. Miss Havisham talks to Pip about herself and gives him a brief outline of her past telling Pip how she has never seen the sun since she was left at the alter by her husband. After this Pip meets Miss Havisham’s daughter Estella. Estella and Pip play the card game “beggar” while they are playing. Estella insults Pip by saying that his hands are all coarse.
The extract ends with Pip leaving Satis house and then releasing his hatred towards Estella by kicking a wall while he cries. Extract two on a whole fits into Great Expectations as the Part of the novel that misleads the reader so that the reader thinks that Miss Havisham is the mysterious benefactor who gives Pip money so that he can move to London to become a gentleman. I think Dickens does this to try and remove the character Magwitch from the readers mind so that the reader will not even in the slightest think that Magwitch is Pip’s benefactor and that Magwitch role in Great Expectations has ended.
However even though Charles Dickens does this, he still leaves a presence of Magwitch in the novel. This presence comes from the character Estella. Estella just like Magwitch is sprung onto Pip. Magwitch is sprung onto Pip in the literal sense as he just jumps out at Pip scaring him. In comparison Estella is released onto Pip in another way. Pip who finds Estella “pretty” is just sprung by the insults and “distain” she shows towards him. The settings in extract two mainly represent the character Miss Havisham showing why she lives her life the way she does and exposing her past to the reader.
The character Miss Havisham is not exactly a very believable character as no one in their right mind would live there life the way she does just because they were left at the alter. However even though she is not a very realistic creation from Charles Dickens she is certainly one of the most interesting characters of the novel. Miss Havisham’s whole life is defined by the single catastrophic event of her being left at the alter. From that moment forth, Miss Havisham is determined never to move beyond that day.
She stops all the clocks in Satis House at twenty minutes to nine, the moment when she first learned that her future husband was gone. Extract two begins with Pip the narrator describing what the room Pip is in looks like. The room is described as a “pretty large” room well lit with “wax candles”. It is also said that the room does not even have a “glimpse of sunlight. ” These quotes create the atmosphere of the room which make it seem mysterious and depressing. In addition these quotes reveal a lot about the character Miss Havisham.
The quote a “glimpse of sunlight” is not only saying that room does not even have a glimpse of sunlight it is also reflecting things about Miss Havisham showing how she herself is the one without a glimpse of sunlight. The fact that Miss Havisham is keeping herself from the sunlight (the sunlight I believe could represent the public) suggests that she is trying to keep her past from the sunlight by staying in the dark. Sunlight is often associated with bliss and happiness. As there is no sunlight in the room it emphasises her life as being unhappy.