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Compare how the audience and purpose of Dickens' "Great Expectations" and Lively's "The Darkness Out There" affects the way they have been written.

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Alex Coates Like every piece of writing, Dickens' 'Great Expectations' and Lively's 'The Darkness Out There' are determined by the author's intended audience and purpose. Before an author begins to write a text, they must decide who they are writing it for, and the reason for writing it. For instance, if an author wanted to teach young children not to fight, they wouldn't write a horrific novel. This is because it wouldn't be appropriate for the audience. Young children wouldn't be able to read a novel, and if they could, they would be terrified. If writers do not write with a specific audience and purpose, their texts will not appeal and would therefore not sell. In this essay, I will attempt to prove that the audience and purpose are inextricably linked, by comparing the two stories. Set in the nineteenth century, 'Great Expectations' tells the life story of Pip, a boy who lived with his sister and her husband, Joe, because his parents and five brothers were dead. One day, as Pip walked through the churchyard in which his family were buried, Magwitch, an escaped convict, threatened him, demanding food and a file. As Pip felt compassionate towards Magwitch and unafraid of his death threat, Pip stole these things from his home and gave them to Magwitch the next day. When writing the story, Dickens had two purposes. His first was to entertain and the second was to make money. To do this he had to consider his audience, the type of texts, the language used and the content of the novel. ...read more.


For instance, Dickens could have left the story on a knife-edge when Magwitch threatened Pip in the churchyard, as the reader would want to read the next instalment. Dickens' second purpose was to make a comment on society, as he did in Magwitch's and Compeyson's trial. When Magwitch was young, a man said about him, "May be said to live in the jails, this boy." Magwitch had been labelled as a criminal at an early age, as he stole food because he had to. In the nineteenth century there was no welfare state, so if you were poor you had to steal. At the trial Compeyson said to Magwitch, "Separate defences, no communication..." Compeyson immediately distanced himself from Magwitch because he knew he would get different treatment, as he was rich. The defence only defended Compeyson, and didn't bother with Magwitch, as he was poor and looked like a criminal. Compeyson got "...seven year, and me (Magwitch) fourteen..." By writing about the trial in this way, Dickens commented about the judicial system in Britain, and showed his desire for it to be changed. Dickens also had a reason to write with a first-person narrator - if he wrote third-person his audience would think he was criticising them himself. He knew his readers (the middle-class) were the voting public, and that they had the power to change the system. He wrote first-person so that it seemed like the character was criticising it and not him, as he knew his books would not sell if people thought he was slating them directly. ...read more.


Mrs Rutter is portrayed as a sinister character through the descriptions of her eyes as they "...snapped and darted." This tells us she is evil from the beginning, but it took Sandra a lot longer to realise this. Sandra eventually realises the truth about people, through Mrs Rutter's vivid description of the German pilot she left to die. She realised that Kerry "...had grown...his anger eclipsed his acne, the patches of grease on his jeans..." and that "You could get people all wrong..." as "...she realised in alarm." Lively is trying to teach young people not to stereotype, and that they should find out what people are like on the inside. This moral is similar to that in "Great Expectations", where Dickens is also trying to send a message across about stereotyping - you should not judge people by their wealth. Having compared the two stories, they have both shown that the writer's purpose and audience decide the content of any text. Lively had to write a story, and had to use the language style she did, because it is what her audience liked. The content of her story was decided by her purposes, which were to entertain and to educate people to avoid stereotyping. The same applies to Dickens's novel, "Great Expectations", as he wrote what he wrote because it suited his purposes and audience. He also had to write to his audience's tastes; otherwise the book would not have sold. If it had not have sold, he would not have made money, and therefore would not have achieved his main purpose. But for the author to make money, every piece of text must cater to suit its audience's tastes. ...read more.

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