Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Noah's Ark

"By the light of the torches, we saw the black Hulk lying out a little way from the mud of the shore, like a wicked Noah's Ark." (pg. 38)

In this sentence, Dickens compares the boat that Magwitch is taken away on to Noah’s Ark. This biblical allusion helps to subtly characterize Magwitch as a positive influence in Great Expectations. In the story of Noah’s Ark, God tells Noah to build an ark because there will soon be great flood. Noah puts two of each animal in the world on the ark so that when the flood is over, the world may begin anew. The ark symbolizes fresh beginnings, which pertains to Magwitch and his desire to start his life over. Dicken's characterization of Magwitch is very Christ-like not only in Magwitch's desire for rebirth , like Christ's death on the cross and rebirth in Heaven, but also in his complete self sacrifice for Pip.

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