How does Charles Dickens creates characters which are memorable and striking in Great Expectations?

Essay by laola1988High School, 11th gradeA-, January 2004

download word file, 6 pages 4.6



In this piece of essay I am going to answer the coursework question, which is "how does Charles Dickens creates characters which are memorable and striking in Great Expectations?"

I am going to refer to some of the characters in the novel and explore their characterisations, mood and tone. In addition, I will use quotations to support my ideas about the characters.

The characters that I am going to use to support my ideas are Pip, Miss Havisham, Magwitch and Mrs. Joe. In addition, I am going to link Mr. Joe with Mrs. Joe and Estella with Miss Havisham.

Phillip Pirrip (who shortens his own name to "Pip" as a child) is the narrator as well as the protagonist of the story. Pip is an orphan being raised by his sister Mrs. Joe Gargery and her husband, Mr. Joe Gargery, a blacksmith.

Pip is really two characters at once- the protagonist going through the trails of one life, and the grown narrator relating the story of his life.

The reader is made to feel sympathy for the young boy. He seems to have a lonely life that is further complicated by the appearance of a convict who threatens him. Pip, in chapter one, can be described as a young, lonely, and trusting character. He always refers to the convict as "sir".

Pip was badly treated by his sister who is older than he is by 20 years, "she had brought me up 'by hand'." This quote shows the how abusive is Mrs. Joe towards Pip and the reader's sympathy once again is directed at Pip who not only lost his parents but is being raised by a bitter woman.

Dickens uses this duality to great effect in the first chapter, where we are personally introduced to...