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Chapter 1 of "Great Expectation" has been described as one of the most memorable in English Literature. Discuss this and give reasons whether you agree or not and why.

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Introduction

Chapter 1 of "Great Expectation" has been described as one of the most memorable in English Literature. Discuss this and give reasons whether you agree or not and why. Dickens generates interest in Pip and also makes you feel sorry for him through the use of many techniques. One of these techniques is in the manner he explains Pip's name. Dickens describes how Pip taught himself his name from his father's tombstone and also of his sister "Mrs. Joe Gargery". He learned his family name Pirrip from his father's grave and his sister, Mrs Joes Gargery, taught him that his Christian name was Philip. Pip's "infant tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit than Pip", so this is what he called himself. The manner in which Pip tells us about his family is interesting. It starts off with us knowing that only his father is dead, but through time it builds up to tell you that his mother is also dead along with his five little brothers. Pip imagined what his parents would have looked like. He imagined his father as, "square, stout, dark man, with curly black hair". ...read more.

Middle

Dickens also creates a powerful contrast between Pip and the convict; by the contradicting nature of their speech. The convict speaks in an improper uneducated manner and doesn't ask Pip question he just orders him to "tell us your name!", with no manners at all. In this quote the convict is being very impolite and he is dominating Pip. Pip's language is the complete opposite, even though he is being shouted at. His language is well formed and polite English. As he says, "There sir", "yes sir" and "my sister, sir". The word "sir" indicates that even though he is being treated badly he still manages to maintain his decorum. The difference in the language is also mirrored by the convict's actions towards Pip. These actions are vicious. "turned me upside down, and emptied my pocket", shows that the convict is demonstrating his physical superiority. This also highlights the difference in their moods. Clearly Pip will be feeling unhappy and more than likely scared, "After each question he tilted me over a little more, so as to give me a greater sense of helplessness and danger" shows the fear experienced by Pip. The convict felt different, "with a threatening shake of his head", this means that he was unpropitious and probably feeling withstanding and maybe important. ...read more.

Conclusion

This describes the landscape as tranquil and that it would be subset, which is very atmospheric. The final description of the convict is also very atmospheric. "The man was limping on towards this latter, as if he were the pirate come to life", this quote is a simile, as Dickens is comparing the limping convict to a pirate come to life. A pirate being a character that everyone can associate with as being frightening. The last thing that creates a strong sense of atmosphere is the description of Pip's emotions. "I was frightened again and ran home without stopping", this is the last line of the chapter and leaves it as a cliff-hanger, showing that the convict did scare Pip by being such a frightening man. In conclusion I think that chapter 1 is one of the most memorable in English Literature because of the way Dickens builds up the tension all the way through the first chapter. From gaining our interest and sympathy for Pip at the same time and the way that he has also created a dramatic contrast between the two characters Pip and the Convict. Finally, the first chapter ends with the audience on the edge of their seats when Pip is running home. ...read more.

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