How Does Dickens Present the Development of Pip's Character?

Topics: Great Expectations, Estella Havisham, Miss Havisham Pages: 3 (1225 words) Published: April 21, 2013
The novel Great Expectations follows the story of a young boy, Pip, who realizes his identity as he strives to be above his social class, and shows the development and changes in his character. Pip's personality traits change through interaction with other people in the course of this story. Although Pip was brought up in a harsh and poor background, with a punishing sister, who had brought him up “by hand”, he was gentle and kind. However, after his encounter with Miss Havisham and Estella, his perception of the world is drastically altered, and along with this so does his character. The reader first sees how sympathetic Pip is when he meets the escaped convict, Magwitch, in the graveyard. Dickens creates a sense of pathos through Pip’s description of Magwitch “he hugged his shuddering body in both his arms”, which shows that he is in a terrible state and about to literally fall apart. Here Magwitch is portrayed as vulnerable, injured and not very menacing. This novel is narrated by Pip; therefore it is Pip that is describing Magwitch in a pitiful state. Consequently, Pip does not see Magwitch as a threat; instead he feels sorry for him and is sympathetic. Pip is very brave, as he faced the convict, Magwitch, who was several times his size and many more times as strong, despite being so young. He was even able to talk to him politely, “If you would kindly please to let me keep upright, sir, perhaps I shouldn’t be sick, and perhaps I could attend more”. Also, instead of fleeing at once, Pip had wished Magwitch goodnight. This takes a certain amount of courage, and also shows that Pip is well-mannered. Furthermore, Pip is curious about Magwitch and cares about him, as he did not run away as soon as he was freed, “I stopped to look after him”. This shows that Pip was concerned about Magwitch’s wellbeing, as if he was truly scared of Magwitch and was just going to go home to carry out his errand, he would have run straight home. Staying and watching after Magwitch...
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