Charles Dickens' Great Expectations

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Coursework

In my essay I am going to look at how Charles Dickens presents his

characters in Great Expectations, and what devices he uses to make the

characters interesting. In my response I will look at several things

that Dickens uses to make his characters more interesting. For

example, the social class system, the setting and the mood created by

the setting, how the characters speak and how these affect your view

on the characters who come up in the play.

I have chosen to focus on four characters who appear often in the

play. I have also chosen them because of their different relationships

with Pip and how he views them. These characters are: Pip, Estella,

Wemmick and Miss Havisham.

Pip

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Charles Dickens writes Great Expectations with Pip being in the first

person. This means that the book shows all of his views and thoughts

on every character. Pip is shown throughout the book and we get to see

him grow from a young boy into a man. Dickens makes Pip an interesting

character by making the reader feel different emotions for him. For

example in the first chapter when we find out about his dead parents

“Phillip Pirrip, late of this parish, and also Georgiana wife of the

above were dead and buried.” This makes the reader feel sorry for Pip.

Dickens uses points like this in a character’s background to get the

reader to feel a certain feeling towards a character.

Dickens also links the social class system into Pips character. He

does this in chapter eight when Pip realises for the first time in his

life that there are people in the world with more power than him. He

is also made to feel small when Estella rubbishes certain attributes

about him.

Estella

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Charles Dickens chooses to present Estella, in chapter eight, when Pip

first meets her. Pip sees Estella as

“Very pretty, Very insulting and Very proud”. Dickens makes her

interesting to the reader as he reveals very little to the reader

about her background and the reader is forced to guess where she came

from. This makes the twist at the end of the book, when we find out

who Estella’s real parents are, very interesting. When Estella talks

to Pip in chapter eight she speaks in imperatives seeing herself as

more powerful than Pip. Dickens here again refers to the social class

system of that day.

“What do you play, boy?” “With this boy.” These are both examples of

imperatives and are evidence to show Estella thinks she is more

powerful than Pip.

Miss Havisham

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Miss Havisham is a very strange character. Dickens makes her seem very

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