The Character Of Abel Magwitch In Great Expectations By Charles Dickens

Improved Essays
Emily Nguyen
Mr. Whitmore
Honors English 1
December 2, 2014
Great Expectations Character Essay
“Strange how sometimes strangers start feeling like family while families start becoming strangers in our life.” –unknown Abel Magwitch, a perceived villain, is introduced into the novel Great Expectations written by Charles Dickens as an unnamed, escaped convict and Pip’s utmost horror. Although the beginning chapters lead the reader to believe “the convict” is a dangerous and cruel individual, he continuously transforms as a main character. This convict later progresses in being Pip’s sometimes forced companion, to friend, all the way to something more, and is revealed as Abel Magwitch. Relationships that evolve from strangers to family portrays
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He is quite the prosperous man, teaching himself to read and write, and advancing himself through hard work and difficult situations. Through his personal survival tactics, Magwitch educates himself. “A deserting soldier in a traveller’s rest, what lay hid up to the chin under a lot of taturs” exposed him to the world of reading “and a travelling giant what signed his name at a penny time” (372) equipped him with the skill of writing. He shows his true struggles and hardships by stating, “In jail and out of jail there you’ve got it. That’s my life pretty much, down to such times as I got shipped off…” (371). Magwitch is constantly switching between freedom and imprisonment, but he conquers it all and proceeds in striving for better. Along with self-making himself, he is transformed by his own human emotions influenced by surroundings and others. After the incident with Pip in the marshes at the start of the story, his life is forever changed and is directed towards the boy who helped him. After Magwitch is captured, he mysteriously disappears from the reader’s …show more content…
He works as Pip’s secret benefactor without anyone knowing, but one person. When Magwitch is detained, he is shipped off to New South Wales, a British colony in Australia, where his jobs enrich him with wealth he anonymously passes on to Pip. Pip’s sudden start of fortune begins when a strange man with Joe’s file, now the convict’s file, happily gifts him with a shilling that contains two one-pound notes. When Pip and Joe arrived in the kitchen with Mrs. Joe at hand, Joe was encouraged “to tell her about the bright shilling” (90). Pip supposes it is Miss Havisham who is secretly presenting him with these riches but Magwitch reveals himself to Pip saying, “It was the money left me, and the gains of the first few year, wot I sent home to Mr. Jaggers-all for you-when he first come arter you, agreeable to my letter” (346). Magwitch gives his fortune to Pip, the boy who brought him wittles long ago on the marshes. He feels gratitude towards the little boy and sends money to Jaggers, who in return transfers it to Pip. Magwitch fully revolutionizes Pip through his fatherly

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