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Analysis of chapters 1-8 in Great Expectation by Charles Dickens

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Introduction

"Great Expectations" In "Great Expectations", Charles Dickens has surely created one of the most memorable novels of the Victorian era. It is still regarded as a success and it read by many admirers worldwide. The novel is based around Pip, an orphan who has been raised by his elder sister Mrs Joe. Pip narrates his story as he grows into a man of fortune following an anonymous inheritance. Throughout his novel, Dickens displays his skills as a creator of setting, atmosphere and character. In the first chapter, the use of first person shows that we have been put in Pip's prospect so that we can feel the emotions he is feeling during his growing up from a child to a man. "I pleaded in terror" is effective as it gives you a firsthand account to the drama so we are brought closer to the character. When we read the first chapter, we are given clues that a ten-year-old is not narrating this novel. This is evident by the words used like "most vivid and broad impression", "my first infant tongue" and "raw afternoon". The words used by Pip are rather expressive and sophisticated which can suggest that Pip is now narrating as an adult instead of a child. Pip is recollecting and revisiting his past and narrating the events that have occurred in Pip's childhood up to his adulthood. The description of the churchyard is vivid and intensely detailed. It is described as a "dark flat wilderness beyond" which suggests the place is like a wasteland and a dump land. Pip is aged only ten and is visiting a graveyard on a dull windy day. This can have a traumatic effect on his mental health. The line "low leaden line" shows a use of alliteration which emphasizes the grim description of the setting of the churchyard. The word "leaden" can also suggest that the dullness of lead has been smudged across the churchyard which gives its dull complexion. ...read more.

Middle

Pip steals from his elder sister and Magwitch has escaped from prison. It seems that they have something in common. When Pip gives Magwitch the food and a file, Pip begins to use more directive language towards Magwitch. This is contrast from the first chapter where he was in too much of in shock and fear. Words like "you" and "I" are used in their second meeting. Pip says "I am glad you enjoy it" as Magwitch gobbles his food. When Pip returns to the churchyard, he finds a man who is badly bruised and is wearing a "broad-brimmed hat." Pip thinks that it is Magwitch but instead it is another escaped convict. Pip walks past the convict without the story giving any other hint on whom this man is. This is effective as the audience are given little clue on who this man is which hints that this man has got something to do with the story. When Mr Pumblechook explains that Miss Havisham wants Pip to come and play for Estella, Mrs Joe is ecstatic. Without hesitation, she orders Pip to enter the "Satis House" to play with Estella. When Mr Pumblechook arrive at the Satis House, they are greeted by a "young lady" approaches the gate. The "young lady" who was "very pretty" is introduced to Pip and Mr Pumblechook in which she pays little attention. She rather insults Mr Pumblechook as she literally shuts the gate before him. This shows that this "proud" lady acts like she is Miss Havisham herself. This is shown when she discomforts Mr Pumblechook by telling him that "but you see she don't". The self-centred girl then insults Pip by repeatedly calling Pip a "boy". This word is usually associated with a servant and shows she is patronising him. It seems like she has no respect for Pip which is unusual as she doesn't know him yet. ...read more.

Conclusion

So there could be a connection in the creation of Miss Havisham with Dickens' mother. After Pip finishes the game with Estella, he is told to revisit in six days. Despite the orders of revisiting from Miss Havisham, she is terribly confused of what day it is. "I know nothing of days of the week; I know nothing of weeks of the year". When Pip is told to follow Estella down to the courtyard, he begins to look at his hands and his boots. "I took the opportunity of being alone in the court-yard, to look at my coarse hands and my common boots". It feels like Pip has caught a virus which is troubling him. Pip had never thought of his "coarse hands" and "common labouring boots" but now he feels like Joe is to blame. He begins to tell himself to ask "Joe why he had ever taught me to call those picture-cards, Jacks, which ought to be called knaves". It is clear that Estella's comments about him have affected him. Estella gives Pip "some bread and meat and a little mug of beer" and placed it on the floor "without looking". Pip thinks that he is being treated as a "dog in disgrace" which causes Pip to be "humiliated, hurt, spurned, offended, angry and sorry". This causes Pip to finally cry to the "quick delight" of Estella. This was Estella's motive and it had worked on Pip who left feeling bitter as he "kicked the walls". Pip's involvement with people in the higher society is a bitter one. Pip feels embarrassed and humiliated. The relationship between Pip and Joe is a warm one. This is shown when Pip teaches Joe the alphabet beside the fireside, which corresponds to their warm relationship. However, after visiting the Satis House, Pip is angry in why Joe is not highly educated. He begins to feel ashamed of his upbringing. "I wished Joe had been rather more genteelly brought up, and then I should have so too." ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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