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Great Expectations

by Charles Dickens

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Does Pip's awareness of injustice drive the plot of "Great Expectations"? Can you identify instances where Dickens highlights this theme?

"In the little world in which children have their existence, whosoever brings them up, there is nothing so finely perceived and so finely felt, as injustice."

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There are definite injustices throughout.  What happens to Miss Havisham is indeed an injustice, but so is what happens to Estella.  Magwitch was betrayed by Compeyson, and so was Miss Havisham, and in turn his daughter Estella.  She had a childhood of cold manipulation.

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The reader of Great Expectations learns of one of the most egregious examples of injustice in the passage in which Magwitch explains how he was convicted as a young man when he was caught carrying out a nefarious plan of Compeyson's.  Even though Compeyson was the mastermind of the plan and Magwitch was simply carrying out orders, Magwitch, being poor, is sentenced to more prison time than is the former gentleman Compeyson. Magwitch relates,

"When he was put in the dock, I noticed,,,what a common sort of a wretch I looked.  When the prosecution opened, I noticed how heavy it all bore on me...and how light on him...."

Dickens's novel demonstrates in several cases how there is a justice for the poor and a justice for the rich. 

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