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Great Expectations

Great Expectations


by Charles Dickens

Great Expectations Abel Magwitch Quotes

Abel Magwitch > Pip

Quote 1

"As I giv' you to understand just now, I'm famous for it. It was the money left me, and the gains of the first few year wot I sent home to Mr. Jaggers—all for you—when he first come arter you, agreeable to my letter." (2.39.77)

Magwitch is perhaps the only person in the novel who is generous with his money. His relationship to money is closely related to his dream of making Pip a gentleman.

Abel Magwitch > Pip

Quote 2

"Look'ee here, Pip. I'm your second father. You're my son—more to me nor any son. I've put away money, only for you to spend." (39.67)

Magwitch may treat Pip like a long lost friend/brother/son, but Pip doesn't necessarily requite the sentiment—he doesn't value friendships that don't fit into his little vision of the future.

Abel Magwitch

Quote 3

"Dear boy and Pip's comrade. I am not a-going fur to tell you my life, like a song or a story-book. But to give it you short and handy, I'll put it at once into a mouthful of English. In jail and out of jail, in jail and out of jail, in jail and out of jail. There, you got it. That's my life pretty much, down to such times as I got shipped off, arter Pip stood my friend." (42.1)

Magwitch is distinctly aware of the power of storytelling and the power of framing a story in a certain way. He can himself distill his life's story down to a very nice one-liner (compact and travel-sized too), "in jail and out of jail." He knows that the world loves these compact, travel-sized descriptions of people. But he also, without even seeming to mean it, helps us think that maybe not all criminals are born that way.