Sympathy is created in ‘Great Expectations for Pip and Magwitch by making the reader feel sorry for the fact that both of Pip’s parents have passed away along with his 5 siblings. Dickens creates sympathy when he uses 1st person narration as his personal feeling-as a child-can be explored. As the setting and scene of the cemetery is shown, we feel a lot of fear or consideration for the fact that Pip is surrounded with the image of death.
We are not given much information as to Magwitch’s background other than an implied thought that he is a convict. Sympathy for Pip is further extended as he is still very kind and respectful even though Magwitch is treating him like an inanimate object. “O! Don’t cut my throat sir-Pray don’t do it sir”. Contrastingly, Magwitch talks in an uneducated manner and shows absolutely no resent of the way he is treating Pip. “Now lookee here” and “You young dog”.
This makes us feel annoyed toward the detail that Magwitch is a middle-aged man and he is ‘bullying’ a young boy much younger than he. But as the conversation between Pip and Magwitch draws on, we start to feel a sense of pity for him as he is shown as: Cold, Hungry, Threatening, and Wet. “You get me wittles boy” and “He hugged his shuddering body”. Dickens makes us feel sympathetic and pity towards Magwitch as he only demands necessary items. “You get me wittles” and “You get me a file.” He doesn’t actually physically harm Pip and perhaps he tells Pip not to tell anyone for Pip’s own safety. He is also presented as desperate by Dickens-as he makes up a fictitious story to frighten Pip into action. “A boy may lock his door, may be warm in bed, may tuck himself up, may draw the clothes over his head, may think himself comfortable and safe, but that young man will softly creep his way to him and tear him open.” His desperation is further highlighted when Magwitch says “I wish I was a frog or a eel!”
On the other hand, Dickens presents a darker side of Magwitch; “He tilted me again” and his violent dialogue “I’ll have your heart and liver out.” Reveals-albeit caused by desperation- a violent nature. Magwitch’s desperate situation causes him to intimidate a vulnerable, defenceless child “Keep still you little devil.” Clearly Dickens’ characterisation of Magwitch is rich in complexity. Sympathy for Pip grows as the narrator-which is the older Pip telling his story- shows the description of his frail body as a child. “Though I was at that time undersized for my years, and not strong.”
In the second extract-set in Miss Havisham’s house where Miss Havisham and Estella are introduced -Dickens continues to create sympathy for Pip. He also begins to create sympathy and give the reader an idea of Miss Havisham. When Pip goes to Miss Havisham’s residence he meets Estella- who is under the guardianship of Miss Havisham-he finds her attractive but she insults him about his ordinary background constantly, treating him as alow-grade individual “He calls the knaves, Jacks this boy!” in front of Miss Havisham. Dickens has done this to create sympathy for the fact that even though he is clearly being mistreated, he is still a kind boy.
“What do you think of her?”… “I don’t like to say,” even when asked. Furthermore in this way creates pity towards Pip is that Miss Havisham does not defend him even though it is blatantly done in front of her making him feel ostracised and rejected by the higher class. Pity is created for Miss Havisham indirectly as she manipulates Estella into being callous towards Pip “Well! You can break his heart”; to get revenge on the fact that she had been stood up at her wedding so she wants to dish out what she received. Also she cannot take her revenge on her own so she has to manipulate Estella to do her bidding. This makes us have pity and Miss Havisham and sorrow for Estella as she does not have the right to live like a real girl. This also creates sympathy towards Pip as he is too naive to notice this and he only sees the character of a somewhat odd but nice lady.
Another such way in which pity is created for Miss Havisham is how she is most unbelievably stuck in the past this is portrayed by the clocks being stopped at a certain time “a clock in the room had stopped at twenty minutes to nine.” Also when she tries to frighten pip by saying “You are not afraid of a woman who has never seen the sun since you were born?” we feel concerned for her, as she has no life outside of the house and had to frighten a young boy in order to have a little enjoyment.
Pip listens to Estella’s harsh comments and even starts to agree with her. “…to look at my coarse hands and my common boots.” This makes the reader sympathise over Pip because he has never worried about it before but now it is really causing him worry. Dickens has most probably done this to raise awareness of the cruelty of the class system and show how superior higher classes think they are. Dickens describes alot of the house and the things Pip sees with in the narration surroundings “…put down the jewel exactly on the spot from which she had taken it up.” This can show either if Pip is scared or very aware as he is taking everything down to the last detail. Compassion is created through this because of Pips helplessness and discomfort. This is also shown through Pip’s dialogue, “…so new here, and so strange, and so fine – and melancholy–.” The way he explains the house shows his fear but also the way in which he stops during his speech with fear of offending Miss Havisham’s and also his physical actions.
Evidently, Dickens uses a lit of diverse techniques to create sympathy for the characters within the novel. In the Victorian era books were regularly serialised. So a new part of his novel would be realeased every week to make cliff-hangers and hook people in. Great expectations was serialised for 36 weeks during the year of 1860; this is shown because at the end of each chapter dickens left it on a cliff hanger as there was a strong need to hook and engage the readers into the story quickly, especially in the opening chapter. The novel is also based loosely to Dickens’s life, for instance in the marshes in the opening paragraph is set in the overcast, gloomy Kent marshland of Dickens’s first childhood memories. Dickens’s strong dislike of the class system – perhaps from his personal experience – made him write the novel in such a way as to let the different classes observe the problems created by this ladder; possibly in an attempt to revolutionise it.