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Great Expectations by Charles Dickens Essay

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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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