How does Dickens create characters that are both memorable and striking?
Great Expectations is a novel by Charles Dickens. It was first published in episodes in the publication All Year Round from 1 December 1860 to August 1861. It has been shown on stage over 250 times; this shows that it is a popular novel. 150 years on the characters are still been talked about this shows that the characters are memorable. Dickens set his novel in the Victorian times. Our main character Pip is an innocent child his parents and siblings are dead- except for one mean sister. Dickens didnt approve of some aspects of Victorian life, such as people being treated unfairly and lack of food they had. Key themes that Dickens uses are love, justice, crime and punishment. In this essay I am going to look at how Dickens creates characters that are both memorable and striking.
Magwitch is memorable in his terrifying entrance, when he first appears at the tombstone which makes Pip scared and terrified. We first see Magwitch in chapter 1 when Pip is sad and lonely at the graveyard, visiting his parents grave. Dickens does this on purpose because he wants the readers to feel that he is a lonely and innocent child, this makes us sympathetic towards Pip. Magwitch appears out of nowhere and scares him; he then threatens Pip to make him look like the bigger person and demands for food and a file. The readers then instantly think that hes a terrifying man.
The setting emphasis how creepy and horrifying Magwitch is. Dickens uses a variety of techniques to make the characters seem so real. At first he uses language techniques to create imagery in the readers mind. He uses dialogue in the setting and uses words such as fearful and coarse grey to illustrate that there is a dead, dark gloomy and grey setting; Dickens describes this because he wants the readers to imagine Magwitch as an angry animal. When Magwitch is threatening and demanding he repeats the word you to address the audience. This makes the audience want to help Pip.
Magwitch was introduced as a scary character but later on we see his personality changes for example - Still hugging himself in both arms this shows that there might be another side of him.
Religion was popular in the Victorian times. Lack of food, water and medicine therefore most people died. Magwitch had no hat therefore it made him 3rd class citizen. I personally think that Dickens uses the character Magwitch to denounce the toughness of the Victorian system as his own father experienced it when Charles was younger.
In addition Estella is a memorable and striking character is introduced in Great Expectations. Estella is Miss Havishams adopted daughter, Miss Havisham is using Estella as a tool to treat Pip cruelly. She contrasts with Miss Havisham who is not as well looked after. Dickens uses Estella stand out in a hidden way through the use of imagery We went through more passages and up a staircase, it was still dark and only the candle lightened us. This is exaggerating the angel like appearance to Estella.
Estella is an unforgettable character as Miss Havisham is not treating her right, and the way Estella is oblivious to Miss Havishams actions as she uses her to get her revenge on all men because Miss Havisham was jilted on her wedding day and could never forget about it and move on she now hates all men and wants nothing to do with them.
In chapter 8 we are introduced to Miss Havisham, she is one of the most memorable and striking characters in the novel. She is most memorable for being jilted on her wedding day; shes been wearing her wedding dress since the day she got jilted. She lives in a rotting mansion and describe off old brick and dismal, and had many iron bars to it. Some of the windows had been walled up...all the lower were rosily barred. This exaggerates that she is old and yet to be married.
Miss Havishams tone of voice is also shown through her actions as she commands look at me you are not afraid of some woman who has never seen the sun since you were born She scares Pip, This tells us shes never left her home since she was jilted. which makes her even more striking, even though toward her he denies being afraid of her, The readers would find Miss Havisham an old, crazy, heartbroken woman, who wants little children to fear her; also it makes readers feel sympathetic for Pip and as the modern reader we find the fact that a rich, high classed woman living in the Victorian era, unmarried and demanding a little childs attention is simply quite worrying.
In conclusion I find Miss Havishams character memorable and striking because she is also talked about in other poems. Shes has no life rather than making mens life miserable, she also a bad influence to young Estella, as she taught her to not to have feelings for anyone and also ruin mens heart. Miss Havisham does this because shes been jilted on her wedding day, so she wants to make mens life miserable. Dickens makes some character in the novel become striking and memorable through their use of language techniques. Dickens used his own life experience for motivation when creating this novel. When Dickens was a child his father was put into prison and he had to work in a factory, he faced child labour at the time because his father was in prison. Dickens sends out a message to the modern readers that people shouldnt be treated differently because of their status.