Great expectations. chapters 36-48
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Magwitch’s Revenge on Society
It was almost a miracle that Magwitch had borne all difficult and severe conditions in a hulk and in Australia. The life in a hulk and in Australia was beyond our imagination. Under the conditions in which many felons were found everywhere, convicts might be required to possess tough mental strength as well as tough physical strength. Temptations of vice always waited for them. Human beings are easy to corrupt, but once corrupted, it is very difficult for them to come up to the normal. It is like an ant-lion larva. Magwitch’s success was due to his dream that he would make Pip a gentleman by his
hands. His expectation of seeing Pip, a gentleman, had kept him above temptations. In addition, it had been his only support and comfort, and encouraged him in his hard life. At last, he earned his fortune by honest labour.
Magwitch, though he might have achieved success on the periphery, could not hope to be welcomed in England and by Pip. With money coming from the sweat and labour of a convict, Pip would never be a true gentleman, as no credit and reputation came out of it. Thus Pip failed to be a tool for revenge on society, as Magwitch had desired. However, it is also true that Pip could not have become a genuine gentleman without Magwitch. Though Magwitch’s money helped him towards that ideal, it did not achieve its end. It supplied Pip with a longing for what he was not, and brought him back to a matured
self. He was terribly shocked at Magwitch’s confession. Meeting Magwitch again gave him an opportunity to shake himself free from the blind ideas he had entertained towards a gentleman. Through that incident, Pip came to learn that money would never pay friendship and love, and he cultivated the inner strength to protect others when they were in adversity and put up with his own frustration. In addition, Magwitch’s pureness, innocence and devotion to Pip taught him how important it was to understand things not by logic, but by heart. In a sense, Magwitch helped Pip to become noble and honorable.
By reading Great Expectations, we come to realise that we need to cherish a passion to live on, whether it takes a form of dream or a form of revenge. It will support us when we are in trouble because we are sure to overcome our troubled circumstances in order torealise the far more important thing; a passion, a dream or an expectation. We need it in life.
Another thing we learn from this novel is that we constantly come across irreparable errors, but these errors may prove opportunities to change ourselves. If we cultivate our inner strength to admit them as errors, we may prove ourselves nobler and reveal the true property of our deeper self.