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Analyse the opening chapter of the novel 'Great Expectations' by Charles Dickons

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Introduction

Introduction The first chapter of Great Expectations is about a young boy called Pip and a terrifying event in his life, which is being looked back on by the voice of an older more mature Phillip Pirrip in the first person which gives limitations as we can only see his viewpoint and knowledge. Dickens uses Dual Narration; at first the older Phillip Pirrip introduces himself, and then the younger, innocent Pip experiences the events as the main character. The novel was written in the Victorian age and really does show how difficult life was during that age for the poorer people. Dickens uses his own experiences working in a blacking factory which help him describe in detail the problems of Victorian life. The opening chapter is very exciting and achieves the main target; to get the reader interested and want to read on, Dickens does this using a Narrative hook. Setting The setting is in a graveyard which is surrounded by the marshes, the river and the sea. The weather is grim and the graveyard is 'bleak' and un-kept; 'a bleak place overgrown with nettles was the churchyard'. Pip does not fit this dull setting as he is innocent and vulnerable, Magwitch, however, matches the doleful setting perfectly as he is impious and evil. ...read more.

Middle

I think this shows humour too. Pip believes his brothers have dodged work deliberately, as he does not realise that people die without wanting to and doesn't know that death is not a good thing, he is prepared for a life of hard work as a blacksmith for Joe Gargery. But realisation hits Pip from the middle of the third paragraph, and he becomes enlightened to the harsh side of life at that time, he realises 'the identity of things'. He has realised that his parents are actually dead and that he is an orphan and it is something he should be upset about; 'Phillip Pirrip late of this parish, and also Georgiana wife of the above, were dead and buried.' This realisation from Pip begins to create drama as the tension builds up, Pips realisation of what the graveyard represents, and the cold remote are surrounding him raises the level of tension. Pips innocent misunderstanding of the world helps create a feeling of sympathy towards Pip from the audience. The terrifying appearance of Magwitch adds to the tension, the drama, and the reader's sympathy for Pip creating a climax. Magwitch When Magwitch appears in the fourth paragraph he really does contribute to the dark, miserable setting, and fits it perfectly, creating a dark mood. ...read more.

Conclusion

Pip uses standard English throughout the chapter, even in moments of terror he still has the manners to address Magwitch as 'Sir'. Magwitch, however, uses coloqual English, which shows his lack of education. It is easy to derive by the style of writing that it is not a novel written in this day and age but is of the Victorian era and is very formal. This goes to show that Pip was raised at a time that life was difficult and Pip probably didn't have a very joyful life. Dickens leaves this chapter on a cliff hanger which I believe at the time was because the novel was first written in a weekly magazine, so leaving the story on a cliff hanger was essential in keeping readers interested. The interaction between the two characters is what builds up tension. To conclude, I believe that the opening chapter of 'Great Expectations' is extremely successful at getting the reader interested and wanting to read on into the rest of the book. The opening is very exciting and the excitement is left to hover on a cliff hanger; will Pip steal the 'file' and 'wittles' or not? The duel narration is also successful in enticing the reader as it gives a mature adult, and a na�ve child's viewpoint and is very interesting. ?? ?? ?? ?? Great Expectations - By Charles Dickens Page 1 of 6 ...read more.

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