Category: Writing & Reading | Type: Discussion | Title: Great Expectations (in Context) | Author: Charles Dickens | Ch: Chapter L

The novel has traced a general warming and "softening," beginning with Pip, including Miss Havisham, and touching Magwitch. If we look for the ideal of softness in the novel, it is to be found in Joe, who heats iron in order to soften and reform it. Character, Dickens suggests, is similar: misforged, it must be heated in order to be reshaped or, worse, simply bent and and broken if it is to assume a better shape. Burned, bent, or broken, the transformation is not without its pain, for the ill-formed psyche requires an elemental natural power to amend it. 

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