Different Types Of Foils In Great Expectations By Charles Dickens

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Writers use many different tactics to create realistic characters. Consistent dialogue and overly exaggerated actions often aid the author in creating a believable character, but another way to highlight a character’s traits is to create a foil. A foil is a character that contrasts with another, typically the protagonist, in order to bring out certain qualities of the more central character. Throughout the novel, Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, many pairs of foils add to the storyline, bringing out qualities in others that make the story more convincing. For example, the protagonist’s foil is his closest friend. Another pair of foils include the two women who are approximately the protagonist’s age. Two of the parental figures make …show more content…
One of the most prominent pair of foils in Great Expectations is Philip Pirrip, self-nicknamed Pip, the protagonist, and his close friend, Herbert Pocket. Both young men are very interested in high society. In fact, when Herbert is first seen in the story, he is seen as a “pale young gentleman with red eyelids and light hair” (Dickens 118). Already, his appearance and debut at Satis House hint at his striving for higher society. His next entrance occurs when Pip moves to the city and his new roommate at Barnard’s Inn is, in fact, the same pale young gentleman, now introduced properly as Herbert Pocket. However, Pip does not recognize him at first and only labels him as “a member of society of about [his] own standing” (198). Though separated by superficial dueling rank during their first meeting, Pip now believes them to be equals …show more content…
In fact, by the time Estella is grown, “[Miss Havisham] hung upon Estella’s beauty, hung upon her words, hung upon her gestures” (320). She is so delighted with the young woman she created, that “she looked at her, as though she was devouring the beautiful creature she had reared” (320). Estella even has a “tinge of resemblance to Miss Havisham” due to the “remarkable occasional likeness of expression between faces that are otherwise quite different” (259). Regrettably, Estella does not turn out exactly as Miss Havisham wishes, at least mentally. Miss Havisham hoped for a girl that would crush men like ants, but Estella ultimately remains friends with Pip. The situation is not what Pip or Miss Havisham wanted, but it shows that Estella still has a bit of affection for her forced childhood playmate. On the other hand, Magwitch funds Pip on his journey to become a gentleman. Magwitch does not speak with the same upper class dialect Dickens utilizes when writing Miss Havisham’s character. Instead Magwitch speaks in the same fashion as Joe; uneducated, excitable, and unaware of his many grammatical errors. Furthermore, Magwitch outright declares himself as Pip’s second father while Miss Havisham makes sure that people know that Estella is not biologically hers. Miss Havisham raised Estella by manipulation while Magwitch aids

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