In the novel Great Expectations, how are Pip and Magwitch similar?Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In Charles Dickens's classic novel of maturation, Great Expectations, the characters of Pip and Magwitch are certainly memorable.  While they appear to share few, if any, similarities, there are yet some:

  1. Both Pip and Magwitch are orphans although Pip has his sister and Joe Gargery to raise him, while Magwitch grows up as a "gamin." 
  2. Both Pip and Magwitch are exploited by a wealthy person.  Miss Havisham has Pip come and play while she allows Estella to practice her cruelty upon Pip.  Similarly poor Magwitch is exploited by Compeyson who uses Magwitch as his "tool," having  Magwitch pass forged notes and swindle.
  3. Both Pip and Magwitch have evil men pursuing them:  Pip has Orlick who seeks harm to Pip, while Magwitch is pursued by Compeyson, who learns that he is in London.
  4. Both Pip and Magwitch have hopeless loves.  While Pip longs for Estella, she has no heart, and while Magwitch loves his little girl, he loses her because of the anger of the mother.
  5. Both Pip and Magwitch seek better lives than the ones they hope to have left behind.  Pip, of course, wishes to become a gentleman; Magwitch wishes to behold Pip as a gentleman.
  6. Both Pip and Magwitch pursue false goals.  Pip wants to gain wealth so that he can become a gentleman, but he learns that to truly be a gentleman, one must have a gentle heart, such as that dwells in Joe Gargery.  Likewise, Magwitch seeks to feel some fulfillment in his having made Pip into a wealth "gentleman."
  7. Both Pip and Magwitch experience the love of a friend after traumatic and devastating circumstances.  As he recovers from the burns of the fire which ignites Miss Havisham's wedding dress, Pip experiences the never diminishing love of Joe Gargery.  Likewise, Magwitch is the recipient of tender car and devotion by Pip who remains with him until he dies, tending his wounds and broken old heart.


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