Re-creating a story from a literary text [CA 2015]

CA Title: Use a character from a literary text you have read as the inspiration for a piece of your own writing.


The character I am choosing can be found in the Charles Dickens novel, Great Expectations. His name is Abel Magwitch. In that novel, he is a criminal, who is helped by young Pip at the beginning of the story, a deed for which he admires Pip when he is transported to Australia. As a convict, he cannot return to England ever, without fear of death by hanging, but when he gets to Australia and becomes very wealthy as a sheep farmer and trader, his desire is to make something special. This is an imaginary account from him that could be inserted into the plot of the novel, arguably the greatest novel of all time.


As I sit here, in the beauty and tranquillity of the regional outback, I can see just how fortunate I have been in my life.

You see, I am a criminal; the worst of the worst you might say, the sort you would not want to associate with, but I am also a man and a man should always be given a second chance. I learnt that from a young lad by the name of Pip once, before I came to this beautiful place.

He helped me you see, when I needed help the most. He went back to the Smithy’s forge and stole me some drink and a pie. He even got me some whittles so I could file away the shackles on my ankles so I could get free. There was none of the revulsion that one would normally associate with the likes of me. There was none of the wariness that everyone else shows me. With Pip, it was just a case of me being someone in need and he was my good Samaritan.

He helped me to see once again that salvation that can be shown in human beings and so, I told the soldiers, when they captured Compeyson and I, that I had stolen the whittles, food and drink, so it would not get that bright, young thing into trouble. I even gave him a look as if to say I will take your blame with my multitudinous sins with me to the other side of the world.

And here I am, amidst the land and my sheep, somewhere where I have become known and become rich. It is a land filled with plenty, a luscious yet hard way of life, but one that is infinitesimally better than that in England. England, the place of my birth, the place of my downfall, the place where the likes of Compeyson can climb their social ladder and become the gentleman criminal. What a sordid and wicked place that really is! In such a world as this, there can exist something so powerful as the British Empire and it be completely corrupt, from head to toe.

Out here it is so very different. Yes, we had to serve our time, but when that time came to an end, we were allowed to settle into the landscape, the rich, living landscape that allows us to live, to thrive, to make something of ourselves. When I began this illustrious career, I had one thing in mind; to repay the debt I owed. I have worked hard all these years, tending the sheep, rebuilding my life.

I live thousands of miles away in this remote outpost of the British Empire and have had only one thing in my mind, to see my gentle young man once again. When I came out of the shackles and began working again for a living, I knew the debt had to be repaid. I knew I had a destiny to once again return to England, but I also had someone I could consider an heir to my fortune, which was slowly amassing as the months went by.

I have had my experiences in England before now; the love of a good woman, the loss of a child, the utter grief at being separated from my wife and here, I could channel that grief into something good, something positive; young Pip and making his life a better one. He thinks of course that the money he receives is being given from someone else. He must think that for he would never guess that it is I who has instructed that shark of a lawyer named Jaggers to work on his behalf.

And now, after all this time, I have the chance to return. I know the risks that come with this venture. I know the trouble I will be in if I am caught. But I have to go once more, to see my young gentleman and to tell him that it is I who have given him his great expectations. I am sure he will understand and be grateful, but that is not my reason or my intent. No. What I need to do is offer him the rest of my wealth and fortune. With that he will become whatever he wishes to become. With that, he will be able to encounter the world and all its glories. With that, my gentle young man can emerge into London society a confident and able man of affairs.

I have done the one thing I set out to do. I have made a gentleman and I am extremely proud of my Mr. Pip!