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Chapter 1 in Great Expectations by Charles Dickens introduces themes in the novel and characterizes Pip through his observations.

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Introduction

Ch. 1 Commentary - Great Expectations Chapter 1 in Great Expectations by Charles Dickens introduces themes in the novel and characterizes Pip through his observations. Pip describes a setting and makes dialog which emphasize him feeling small, alone, and helpless in a large world. His feelings of isolation and smallness in this chapter are shown in the description of his self's presence in a large scene: "At such a time I found out for certain that this bleak place overgrown with nettles was the churchyard...and that the small bundle of shivers growing afraid of it all and beginning to cry was Pip."(10). This description contrasts with that of the life of Pip as a whole, shifting from a larger perspective to a smaller one instead of vice versa. ...read more.

Middle

You know what a file is?" and Pip later describes the convict leaving: "As I saw him go...he looked into my ...eyes as if he were eluding the hands of the dead people, stretching up cautiously out of their graves to...pull him in."(11, 13). Despite the convict's mistreatment of Pip, Pip sympathetically describes the convict leaving the churchyard. Errors in speech and child poverty create social commentary. For example, Dickens comments on the necessity of a country-wide education with the dialog of the convict, as the convict says, "Pint out the place!" instead of using the word "point." (10). Furthermore, Pip makes deductions based on a small amount of evidence, as he concludes his mother was named "Also Georgiana" from the text on her tombstone. ...read more.

Conclusion

Social commentary and Pip's perspective characterize him as a naive narrator. For example, the convict flips him upside-down and Pip declares the object he looks at to flip over: "When the church came to itself - for he was so sudden and strong that he made it go head over heels before me..." (10). In conclusion, Dickens accomplishes social and literary goals in this novel. He introduces a naive narrator and literary paradox in the first chapter. The importance of names inside the novel and contrasts of corruption and innocence show two primary motifs. Pip's descriptions and observations make social commentary on the struggles of the impoverished and the need for widely available education. Meaningful names in the novel, contrasts between corruption and innocence, and social commentary also continue to appear further in the novel and serve as a basis for other themes. ...read more.

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