- Term Papers and Free Essays

Analysis Of A Scene From Great Expectations

Essay by   •  May 14, 2011  •  1,827 Words (8 Pages)  •  1,802 Views

Essay Preview: Analysis Of A Scene From Great Expectations

Report this essay
Page 1 of 8

Analysis of a scene of Great Expectations.

I have chosen to look at how the relationship of Pip and Magwitch develops during the novel. I have chosen 3 key scenes in which Magwitch and pip meet and I will look at how each is portrayed in terms of character, development, setting and the messages or morals that dickens is trying to convey.

Magwitch first meets pip at the graveyard on the marshes, from this we see that pip is a lonely child, who has lost his mother and father. Magwitch threatens to kill pip and " rip out his heart and liver" unless pip obeys Magwitch's orders to bring him some "wittles" and drink for him. The relationship as it first blossomed is full of fear and terror and we pick up immediately that Magwitch is in control of the situation, yet there is still the fear lingering over him being seen or handed over to the authorities if Magwitch made any mistake to be seen by anyone else, or if pip told somebody else where he was. Pip and Magwitch's first meeting place is highly ironic, because pip is visiting his parents graves and then ironically Magwitch turns up, who will later be pips benefactor and will act and play the role of Pip's surrogate farther. Pathetic fallacy is used in this graveyard scene as it is set in the marshes at the dead of night with " the cold air whipping" around them, to resemble the scary emotions that pip feels when he is being threatened by Magwitch pip passes a gibbet on the marshes which is also ironic as when Magwitch comes back to see pip later on it the novel there is the fear that he might be hanged. It also sets the setting to resemble death. The night black sky also will resemble death and deep dark fears. The graveyard is a " bleak over grown place, with nettles" the description makes the scene scarier, and the overgrown weeds could be where others are hiding. The setting is very gothic, in true Victorian style and when contemanoray readers read this they were automatically prepared for something unpleasant to happen. When Magwitch orders pip to get him some food and a drink for him from where he lived or where he could, pip could take the advantage of this situation, and tell the authorities or tell his guardians, but he doesn't. Dickens's disproved off capital punishment and felt that the homeless and hungry as Magwitch had been as a child) should be cared for, not punished. Pip then risks getting himself punished and steals the pork pie and gets the drink and the file that Magwitch has asked for, he does this purely out of fear for what Magwitch might do to him if he doesn't. When he goes to meet Magwitch back up at the marshes to give him his food Magwithch takes this gesture of obeying his orders as a gesture of loyalty and kindness. When pip is running through the cow fields to get to the marshes, he has hallucinations that the cows are talking to him and shouting " thief" at him. This scene breaks up the scary atmosphere of the marshes and Magwitch to a slightly comedic scene. However the tension is brought back when pip enters the graveyard and bumps into Compeyson ( the man who Magwitch had threatened would do so much more harm to pip than Magwitch ever could) this is another threat and another reason why pip obeyed Magwitch. When pip gives Magwitch the food we see that he drops to the floor and eats it and grovels the food like a dog, further gaining pips revulsion but also pity. This pity is further enhanced by the scene in which Magwitch is arrested and owns up ( to protect pip) to having stolen the pie and file . Joe is moved to say : " your welcome to it ... we wouldn't have you starve to death for it, poor miserable fellow creature" Joe is really speaking as a mouthpiece for dickens beliefs here.

When Magwitch gets taken away by the authorities he wants to repay pip for his kindness. This is why he sacrifices everything he has later on so that pip can benefit from Magwitch's fortune because of pips kind and loyal gestures towards him .

Later on the novel Pip and Magwitch meet again ( in chapter 39) at Pips flat in London. Although this meeting is in a different location dickens links the two together stylistically by the use of pathetic fallacy. " wretched weather, stormy and wet ... mud, mud,mud" the repetition of the word is helping to create a gothic setting again to make us think back to the scene at the marshes and jump to conclusion that something unpleasant might happen when they meet again, also makes us think about Magwitch.

When Magwitch arrives all pip has to light his passage way was a "reading lamp" this is also reminding us back to the marshes as he cannot

see properly and he is looking through the darkness and fog to try and see Magwitch, as he was doing in the graveyard. When pip first see's Magwitch he does not recognise him for being the same convict that he met years ago, and then when he does not see his reason for being there " pray what is your business". Pip doesn't make the effort to Magwitch feel at home, and feels quite intimidated and scared by his presence. When Magwitch takes Pips hands as a symbol of gratitude Pip "laid a hand upon his breast and put him away," showing no sign of sympathy or understandings of his presence. Magwhich ignores Pip's obvious feelings of disapproval and resentment " will u have a drink before you leave" and continues to ask pip personal questions of how he has made his fortune. After pip tells him in brief that he had been so fortunate to inherit a small fortune. Magwitch continues to ask Pip questions that he already iknows that answer to, so that pip will find out that Magwitch is his benefactor. Infront of every question in which Magwitch asks pip he says, " might a mere warmint ask ..." this is Magwitch's sign of showing respect for pip, by calling himself a "mere warmint". Magwitch finishes all his questions and when pip realises that Magwitch



Download as:   txt (9.5 Kb)   pdf (106.8 Kb)   docx (12.1 Kb)  
Continue for 7 more pages »
Only available on