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A comparison between the openings of Great Expectations and Kestrel for a knave

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Introduction

A comparison between the openings of Great Expectations and Kestrel for a knave We have been analysing two stories, Great Expectations by Charles Dickens and Kestrel for a Knave by Barry Hines. There is a tremendous contrast between them in the way that the main character is portrayed to create sympathy. Plot In Great expectations the opening chapter is a particular day when something very specific and important happens to Pip. This sets off the whole plot of the story. The convict, Abel Magwitch is portrayed as very petrifying in the opening scene but he is renowned to be the person who funded Pip's rise later in the story. From the opening chapter of Kestrel for a Knave the story is a day exactly like any other in the life of Billy. This evolves into the plot when other events take place that don't happen everyday. Setting Great Expectations is set in the countryside on a cold and bleak November afternoon. The opening chapter is set in a mysterious, damp and eerie graveyard with marshy surroundings. Dickens describes this as a 'bleak place overgrown with nettles' and the surroundings are described as a 'dark flat wilderness'. ...read more.

Middle

very aggressively and the later tells Billy to 'shut it' then swings his fist under the blankets and thumps Billy in the kidneys. This makes the reader feel sorry for Billy because of what he has to put up with everyday. Language Great Expectations is first person narrative. I think Dickens did this because it gives an overwhelming power of experience and reality. Dickens writes in long complex sentences that are descriptive with a careful use of punctuation-'the marshes were just a long black horizontal line then, as I stopped to look after him; and the river was just another horizontal line, not nearly so broad nor yet so black; and the sky was just a row of long angry red lines with dense black lines intermixed.' This gives the impression of him writing in character to a certain extent. Some of the language is more difficult to read in Great Expectations because some words have disappeared from common use like 'lozenge' being a tombstone and 'wittles' being food. These words have evolved in language today so it is harder to read. Another reason for this use of language could be that the character Abel Magwitch has a slight cockney accent with mispronunciation of words. ...read more.

Conclusion

Individual aspects of the stories are very similar but are presented in slightly different ways. Great Expectations is written by a very well known author and it is a novel that has had much more success than Kestrel for a Knave. I think this is because of the time that it was written. It was written in a time when a majority of people couldn't read so stories where read to them as a form of entertainment. This was because there was nothing else to do but read as many things hadn't been invented. I think this is the main reason that Dickens' writing style is much more descriptive than Hines'. Great Expectations is first person narrative that gives a power of recalling and reality. Dickens decides to write in character to build more of a relationship between the reader and the main character so it is more realistic to what they are feeling. This presentation of characters in the first chapter can give a more personalised account of Pip's life. Great Expectations was published in magazines with many issues. It was written in this way to create suspense so the reader would buy the next issue to find out what happens next. By Laura Madden 11HG ...read more.

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