Chapter thirty-nine can be seen as a pivotal section of Great Expectations due to the climax that is forced upon Pip. However, it helps Pip realise that wealth and social class are not everything, but that friends and relationships are a lot more valuable. His relationship with Magwitch develops and he is now a lot more grateful towards him. There is a definite similarity between Joe Gargery and Magwitch as they have both been watching over Pip. Both men are kind and giving but also of the lower class and uneducated.
Joe and Magwitch have educated Pip and given him an opportunity to grow up and become something. However, Pip does not see the as worthy of him and feels he is above them even though both men still love him.
Pip has now completely accepted Magwitch as a second father and as a friend in one of the possible climaxes in chapter fifty-six. His understanding of life and of other people is at its fullest and he has now developed into his most mature phase in relation to his character.
Now that Magwitch is dying, Pip is visiting him as he sympathises for the sick man. Dickens refers to God in several ways in the last chapter of Great Expectations. He lets the reader see Magwitch’s death as God forgiving him for what he has done and lets him pass away instead of meeting his death through execution. The write uses religion as a symbol to demonstrate the peace between Magwitch and Pip.
“Glittering rays of April sun” shows us how dickens felt that God was looking down on the courtroom and that he had the final say. Dickens makes the audience believe that Magwitch has come to peace with god who in return, forgives him with a quiet death. The “Sunrise” also suggests a victory for the old man as he passes away. The shaft of sunlight links together the judge and the convicts which shows that there was a sense of equality and that only one person decides what the outcome is. Dickens also uses the weather in pathetic fallacy where the rain symbolises sadness, as Magwitch will be executed, and the sunlight showing his happiness, as he will be able to die at peace with the world.
Dickens emphasises the theme of Victorian attitudes towards criminality especially in the courtroom. All of the convicts who are to be tried and hanged are dealt with all together and at the same time as if they were a pack. This lets the reader see how Dickens saw how society viewed the lowest class. They were not treated as individuals and not worthy of being treated fairly. The courtroom could almost be seen as some sort of show. This gives the reader the impression that people were there to receive some sort of entertainment as if it was a circus. This reduces the convicts to the lowest in the community as people used their suffering and eventually death as a form of enjoyment.
Dickens can relate to the scene in the courtroom as he has previously worked in one. His father was also arrested and humiliated which I believe left a deep impression on Dickens about how the system was run. He says, “I could scarcely believe” when all the people were about to be tried which shows a sign of hatred towards the court. He shows how people were demoralised in front of an audience and presents Magwitch as a victim of society. Dickens shows how the corrupt and biased court system favours the richer people and will not look at how Magwitch’s life has changed in a positive way.
Towards the end of Magwitch’s death, Pip tells him about his long-lost daughter; Estella. “She is a lady and very beautiful. And I love her!” By telling Magwitch about his daughter he reveals that he can finally prioritise of the things, which matter in life. Pip stays with his benefactor until the end and is worried for his fate; while in contrast Magwitch is calm and is finally at peace with the world. This gives Magwitch everything he needs to die a peaceful death in knowing that he has made a true gentleman out of Pip.
Magwitch is in many ways responsible for the alterations that have occurred throughout Pip’s existence. He has made him a more social and wealthy gentlemen as well. But, in many cases it has been Pip who has appreciated and regretted what he has done wrong in the past. With the help of Magwitch, Pip has been able to understand the importance of relationships and love, over wealth and social class. Dickens has used Pip to show how he has learned how to put his main concerns in front in many situations. He has helped the reader see how Pip has always wanted to improve himself as an idealist. This is shown when he wants to learn how to read and become a gentlemen on the whole.
However Pip’s ambitions were morally wrong at first even though Magwitch helped him achieve them, but then, Magwitch also helped him become a true gentleman as well. Magwitch and Joe were both influential in the upbringing of Pip. But, I believe that Magwitch can be seen as a “catalyst” in regards to Pip as he has supported him financially and emotionally. Dickens has explored the differences in class during Great Expectations.
He has discovered the poor and wretched criminals such as Magwitch, but he has also looked at the very rich and rude upper class including Mrs. Havisham. This is why the central theme of Charles Dickens’s novel is social class and Pip is used to investigate this through him upgrading his status through self-improvement. The continuous development of Magwitchs and Pip’s characters are therefore dependent on this theme. Their relationship has helped uncover the attitudes of crime as it has shown through the various characters and is a theme that is repeated many times in the novel.