Great Expectations: Abel Magwitch and 19th Century Justice!
This engaging and informative lesson enables students to make detailed and precise interpretations of the character of Abel Magwitch in Great Expectations, through developing a deep understanding of the key features of the 19th Century criminal justice system. In particular, students learn about how criminals were perceived and treated in Victorian society, and link this knowledge to Abel Magwitch’s introduction, development, and demise in the novel.

The lesson follows a step-by-step learning journey, in which children learn through:
- Understanding key contextual information about the 19th Century criminal justice system;
- Reading extracts about Abel Magwitch in 'Great Expectations' and identifying the features of the 19th Century justice system within the text;
- Analysing how Dickens presents his views about the treatment of criminals through the character of Abel Magwitch in the text;
- Peer assessing each other's learning attempts.

Included is:
- Whole lesson PowerPoint - colourful and comprehensive;
- Extracts about Abel Magwitch;
- Analysis template with success criteria for creating well-structured responses;
- Comprehensive lesson plan.

All documents are attached as Word and PDF in case formatting differs on your computer.

There are also opportunities for group learning, peer assessment, and whole class discussion. This was originally taught to mixed ability year 10 groups, but can easily be differentiated for groups of different ages and abilities.

All images are licensed for commercial use, and image rights are listed on the last page of the presentation.
Save for later
  • Capture1.PNG
  • Magwitch-and-19th-Century-Justice-Essay-Template.pdf
  • Capture2.PNG
  • Extracts-about-Abel-Magwitch.docx
  • Abel-Magwitch-and-19th-Century-Justice---Lesson-Plan.docx

About this resource


Created: Jan 1, 2018

Updated: Apr 9, 2018


PNG, 484 KB



pdf, 250 KB



PNG, 318 KB


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