How Does Dickens Manipulate Sympathy for His Characters in Great Expectations and Why?

Topics: Great Expectations, Miss Havisham, Charles Dickens Pages: 4 (1623 words) Published: February 15, 2011
How does Dickens manipulate sympathy for his characters in Great Expectations and why? (Focus on chapters 1 and 39) Great Expectations is a novel that was written by Charles Dickens and published in the late 19th century. It was firstly published in serial form in ‘All The Year Round’, which was Dickens weekly literary magazine. It was founded and owned by him and published between 1859 and 1895 throughout the UK. It is a coming of age novel as it follows the story of a boy into their break of maturity. Great Expectations follows the story of young orphan Pip, proclaiming his early childhood life, to his adulthood which along the way, shows his desperate attempt to become a gentleman. The novel has been greatly considered to be a semi- autobiography of Dickens’ life, like most of his other work. This makes the genre fictional biography as it is a life story of a fictional character also Bildungsroman as it is the story of a character growing up and developing in society. The novel mainly features social criticism as Dickens projects his own criticisms to society in the book; he does this through setting and characterisation. In this essay I am going to explain how Charles Dickens manipulates sympathy for his characters in Great Expectations. Dickens uses language techniques to create sympathy for some of his characters throughout the novel, however starts with the protagonist Pip, in chapter I. In chapter I you are introduced to Pip; he is an orphan and all of his family are dead except for his elder sister who is his guardian. From the first page the reader immediately sympathises with Pip as he is a young, uneducated vulnerable boy alone in an exposed environment, with ‘dykes and mounds’, where ‘the wind was rushing’ and he was ‘growing afraid’ which ultimately left him ‘beginning to cry’. Dickens uses first person narration which is effective the story being told from Pip’s perspective rather than a bystander overlooking his life, this enables us to...
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