Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

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Great Expectations by Charles Dickens 'Great Expectations' was written by Charles Dickens in 1861. 'Great Expectations' is a coming of age story that revolves around the life of one man Pip. From the time he was seven years old until he was in the mid thirties, Pip shows us the important events in his life that shaped who he became. Along the way, he enquires many different acquaintances and friends that influence him in his decisions and goals in his life. 'Great Expectations' is a story that the public can relate to because at some point, everyone goes through the struggles that Pip must battle. It shows that possessions and wealth do not change who people are inside, and that finding one's self can be a long process until finally everything becomes clear. 'Great Expectations' discusses various themes on crime, law and the criminal justice system. Through the novel Dickens displays his point of view of criminality and punishment. This is shown in his portraits of all pieces of system: the lawyer, the clerk, the judge, the prison authorities and the convicts. He uses characters such as Mrs Joe Gargery and Magwitch to define people's common views about crime and punishment and how it is explored through the character Magwitch. The prison system in England may have had a significant effect on the life and writing of Charles Dickens due to his father's imprisonment John Dickens worked as a clerk at the Navy Pay Office. Having seven children, John Dickens found it difficult to provide for his growing family on his meagre income. In 1822 the family moved to Camden Town in London. John Dickens debts had become so severe that all the ... ... middle of paper ... ...'When the evidence was put short, a forehand, I noticed how heavy it all bore on me, and how light on him.' Compeyson made Magwitch look like the one who had arranged it all and hence the one who was most guilty of the crime. Inevitably, Magwitch received the heavier punishment of fourteen years, whereas Compeyson got off with seven years. Dickens shows, in the character of Magwitch, how many so-called criminals are basically good people, how the crimes of a "gentleman" like Compeyson are far more harmful in their consequences, and how the legal system enables the rich to oppress the poor. In chapter 54, Dickens shows how Pip's attitude towards Magwitch changes. Pip tries to help him escape on board a steamer. At the end of the chapter after Magwitch has been caught, we see how Pip's feelings for Magwitch have changed.

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