Charles Dickens

On their way home Pip felt stupefied because he thought that the stranger would have something to do with him. Pip also feels that he should never have Magwitch in the first place because he feels a sign of guilt… “My old misdeed and old acquaintance”. This shows that helping Magwitch was a mistake in which Pip made. Near the end of chapter 10 we discover that Pip was showing many other signs of guilt,” There they remained, a nightmare to many, many and me a night and day”. Charles Dickens ends the chapter at a cliffhanger,” without seeing who held it, and I screamed my self awake”. This is telling the audience that Pip has just waken up from a dream of a guilty conscious. It also suggests that we may not have seen the last of Magwitch!

In the ironic chapter 39 we discover that Magwitch and Pip are reunited. In the first paragraph of chapter 39 there is a build up of tension and atmosphere, “It was wretched weather stormy and wet, stormy and wet; and mud, mud, mud, deep in all the words”. This explains that Dickens is setting the scene for Magwitch’s reappearance. To explain this further there was also a ghostly atmosphere created. Outside Pip’s house the lamps had gone off by the howling wind; which suggests that Magwitch’s

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Arrival is close. All of a sudden Pip hears footsteps coming up leading to his room and he thinks that it is his dead sister coming to haunt him but in actual fact it is Magwitch, which intrigues the audience to think whether it is either Magwitch or the ghost of Pip’s dead sister. Pip was petrified so decided to take his reading lamp and check whom was outside, and when he shouted out if anyone was there. A man shouted, “yes”!

Pip replied, “What floor do you want”! The man shouted back, “The top Mr. Pip. The man then entered the room and was wearing sailor type of clothing, which suggests to the audience that the man had come from a ship or boat. Suddenly the man held out his arms to Pip but Pip did not recognize the strange man who was Magwitch so he rejected him and said, “Pray what is your business?” At this time Magwitch felt rejected which made he audience feel empathy towards him. Later on in this scene Magwitch reveals something very important to Pip, which leaves him feeling shattered. After Pip had found out that the strange man was in fact Magwitch, Pip felt and treated him in a bad and rude maner. Which reveals that Pip is now the distorted and disrespectful man because he is trying to act like a gentleman.

We also learn that Magwitch talks and treats Pip as if he was his own son and calls Pip “Master”. There is also irony created, which is that Pip thinks that Miss Havisham is his benefactor of his wealth but in fact we learn that it is Magwitch. When Pip is confronted with the truth about Magwitch as the benefactor, he is so shocked that he is speechless. He says, “All the truth of my position came flashing on me, and its disappointments, dangers, disgracement, consciousness’ of all kinds, rushed in such a multitude that I was borne down by them and had to struggle for early breathe I drew”.

These couple of lines basically sum up Pip’s ‘Great Expectations’, which are now ruined by the thought of dirty Magwitch’s money and the dangers of been caught with a convict, which meant that all his reputation as a gentlemen would have been shattered! At the end of chapter 39, the last paragraph we discover that Dickens has yet again left the chapter at a cliffhanger, “and the wind and rain intensified the thick black darkness”.

At the beginning of the first paragraph of chapter 56, it is written on the first line, “He lay in prison very ill”, which means that Magwitch is in prison and extremely ill. This chapter mainly concentrates on the penal system and the destiny of Magwitch. It is written in the second sentence, “He had broken two ribs, they had wounded one of is lungs, and he breathed in great pain and difficulty, which increased daily. It was consequence of his hurt that he spoke so low as to be searcely audible,” here we learn that Magwitch’s condition attracts empathy towards him from the audience.

We also learn that there is a great change in Pip towards Magwitch. When Magwitch was compared to Pip in chapter 39, Pip spoke and acted in a bad and disrespectful maner, but now in chapter56 Magwitch and Pip are inseparable, “But he was even ready to listen to me and it became my duty of my life to say to him, and read to him, what I knew he ought to here”. The reason for this is that Pip wants to repay Magwitch for all the wealth in which he had provided and also we discovered that Magwitch was Estella’s father. Dickens tries to create sympathy and empathy towards Magwitch because he disagrees with the penal system in the 19th Century’ he does this by portraying the justice system as barbaric. Here is an example, “wretched creatures”. He creates empathy in such an

Effective way. He writes, “And but for his illness he would have been put in irons, for he was regarded as a determined prison breaker, and I know not else”. This shows us that the prison is killing him. There is also a metaphor explaining that Magwitch’s life is closing to a halt, “when the prison door closed upon him”. This metaphor also suggests that he is getting weaker and weaker day by day. We learn that Magwitch is a honest, loyal and determined man as we previously read throughout the chapters, Magwitch also shows this in a simple but Effective way, the guards at the prison are talking about his false reputation, but in return he just smiles back at the guards and looked at Pip, “A smile crossed his face”…

When Magwitch’s court trial started, Dickens’ descriptions are very vivid and realistic. “No objection was made to my getting close to the dock”. This explains that the law of the 19th Century thought that the convicts (whether guilty or not guilty) were inhumane and unequal, which creates empathy towards Magwitch because he is dying and the court do not care or want to care about his disabilities. Ultimately there are no objections to he juries decisions, “it was impossible to try him for that, and do otherwise than find him guilty”. This explains that the jury and law do not listen or treat prisoners as human beings but as barbaric animals, which means that the audience might have their own opinions, towards the penal system, which is what Dickens wants.

In chapter 56 when Magwitch was on his court trial with all the other convicts next to him, but Magwitch despite his disabilities, he had to sit in the front, which signifies to the audience that he is definitely going to face a death sentence. When Dickens is writing this chapter in particular he writes it with some experience because he used to be a court reporter, so he put his knowledge and experience in action, also he had to create the right atmosphere. There is also an ironic twist, when Magwitch has to sit in the front of the court hall. When the jury had found Magwitch guilty, instead of over-reacting he just said, “To the greater Judgment that knoweth all things and can-not err.” What Magwitch is trying to get in to the audiences mind is a visual image of Judgment day and that every one is equal, he is also trying to say that only God Knows the truth and you shall find out on Judgment day.

Near the end of the chapter we discover that Magwitch is on his deathbed dying in front of Pip. This creates a scene and atmosphere of emotion and empathy towards Magwitch, “His head dropped quietly on his breast”. The last couple of words, which is recited by Pip, is, “O Lord be merciful to him a sinner!” As modern readers we do not think that Magwitch is actually a sinner because we know the whole story, Magwitch died an honest, determined and loyal Man.

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