The frightening Magwitch - Sample Essay
Two Chapters In ‘Great Expectations’ Introduce The Character Of Magwitch. Compare The Two Chapters On The Basis Of Language And Structure. In Great expectations we discover that Magwitch is introduced in two chapters; chapter 1 and 39. Both entrances bring a cold, eeriness to the scene and create anxiety for the reader. The reader learns that Magwitch is a key character in the story through his strong presence throughout the novel. In each chapter, he captures the focus of the audience with his entrances during climatic tense situations involving the motif of bad clichi??
weather. The two chapters create the same tense and anxious atmosphere but the chapters contrast greatly in the situations. Chapter 1 introduces us to Pip as a young common labouring boy with his first encounter with Magwitch; Pip at this point has very little power compared to the frightening Magwitch. The amount of power in the 2 characters roles are almost reversed when we meet Magwitch again in chapter 39. In chapter 39 we see Pip very much changed as he is a gentleman. Pip has a lot more power over Magwitch when Magwitch is introduced the second time.
As I have mentioned, the two chapters contrast greatly however both share the same anxious and tense atmosphere. I believe this has a lot to do with the way Dickens has described the weather and setting. Chapter 1 begins in a graveyard, which is a traditional scary setting that develops a sinister mood in a piece of writing. Pip, at his family’s gravestones, is described as a ‘small bundle of shivers’. The image of a small boy shivering lets the reader know that he is in a cold location with nobody there to comfort him. Pip being described as ‘small’, shows a reader his hard life as a lower class child, lacking vital nutrition for his growth.
The image of Pip alone, cold and shivering creates sympathy in the reader, as well as creating anxiety and worry for the character. ‘Beginning to cry, was Pip’ right as Pip began to cry Magwitch becomes part of the scene. Magwitch’s entrance intrudes on Pip’s respectful outing, thus being inappropriate. However, the fact that he was added to the scenario during such a moment builds a sense of negativity which characterizes him. At times, the weather in the novel seems to be a character in its own right as it creates a lot of atmosphere. The pathetic fallacy used emphasizes the atmosphere throughout the novel.
Stating there was a ‘heavy veil’ could imply that the weather was stopping Pip from seeing clearly, that he was restricted to indoors as this was the only clear area. But the veil implying that he cannot see clearly could also relate to his wonders about the benefactor and who he really is. Pip is still only aged 23, he has been through dramatic change and may not have a clear mind about who he is because he doesn’t know about the benefactor. Magwitch’s second entrance occurs one late night, when Pip is at home during the ‘wretched weather’ lost in his own heavy veil of thought.
When Pip invited Magwitch into his home in chapter 39, Pip has the confidence and power. Pip is a fine gentleman dressed in the finest evening wear and is well groomed, contrasting greatly with Magwitch. Magwitch appears on the stairs ‘substantially dressed’ and was clearly not as well groomed as Pip with his ‘iron grey hair’. Magwitch being ‘browned’ shows he’s laboured, so Pip immediately makes a judgement that Magwitch isn’t as good as himself. In history pale skin was considered respectable as it shows one was rich enough to stay indoors rather than work outside.