Charles Dickens' Great Expectations

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Charles Dickens' Great Expectations


‘Great Expectations’ was one of Dickens’ best-known novels and was

written in 1860. ‘Great Expectations’ is a Bildungsroman and follows

the progression of Pip from child to adult; from humble blacksmith to

gentleman; from innocence to experience; from rags to riches and on

his journey, Pip meets a range of interesting characters, from the

comical Wemmick, to the cruel Estella. This novel reflects parts of

Victorian times, with class divide, child labour and improving one’s


Dickens wrote to entertain the public and the public got a say in how

the novel progressed due to the fact that Dickens wrote in monthly

instalments in a magazine called ‘Household Words’. Dickens even had

to re-write the final chapter so that the public was satisfied.

Therefore Dickens needed to make his characters striking and memorable

so that they were remembered later in the book.

This novel also reflects Dickens’ own life experiences. Dickens was

poor as a child and throughout his life, he worked his way up and

became rich and this is reflected in the story with Pip going from a

poor, lower class boy to a rich, upper class gentleman.

In this essay I am going to explore how Dickens made his key

characters striking and memorable by using different methods.

Section 1- Magwitch


Dickens wrote ‘Great Expectations’ in the first person perspective of

Pip. By doing this Dickens used a method by which he can create

memorable and striking characters because the way that Pip reacts to

the characters and the way they treat Pip makes us remember them. At

the beginning of the book in chapter 1, Pip meets Magwitch, an escaped

convict who threatens P...

... middle of paper ...

...ds striking and memorable through use of physical

description, setting and speech. The way that the characters interact

with Pip is also important.

Dickens makes Magwitch striking and memorable because of the way he is

introduced through speech and the way he makes Pip and us feel.

Miss Havisham is made particularly memorable to the reader, as she is

so bizarre- receiving Pip initially in her dressing room and living

her life in a time warp.

Wemmick is perhaps the character most people can relate to- he is

middle class and lives two separate lives. His individualism, his

appearance and choice of home make him striking and memorable.

The character who makes the biggest impression on me is Mr Wemmick

because I think that his house and his actions are very bizarre and I

believe he is a funny character and I think he is the character I can

relate to.
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