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Comparing Chapter 1 of Great Expectations where Pip first meets the convict, with Chapter 39 where the convict returns.

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Introduction

In this assignment I will be comparing Chapter 1 of Great Expectations where Pip first meets the convict, with Chapter 39 where the convict returns. Charles Dickens wrote Great Expectations in 1860-1861 when he was in London. It is set in the mid nineteenth century, in Kent, and London. The basic plot of Great Expectations is: Pip, a young orphan living with his sister and her husband in the marshes of Kent, sits in a cemetery one evening looking at his parents' tombstones. Suddenly, an escaped convict springs up from behind a tombstone, grabs Pip, and orders him to bring him food and a file for his leg irons. Pip obeys, but the fearsome convict is soon captured anyway. The convict protects Pip by claiming to have stolen the items himself. One day his uncle takes him to Miss Havishams house to play. A few years later he is apprenticed to his sisters husband. One-day pip is told that he is to live in London and has great expectations thanks to a secret friend. A couple of years after this the convict comes back to pip and tells him that he is the person that has been supplying all the money to him and that ever since Pip help him he promised himself that he would make Pip a gentleman. Pip is appalled at this but helps the convict to escape back to Australia. Before the convict escapes he is caught is put back into prison, he gets ill and dies. Before he dies he tells Pip that he has a daughter who was put up for adoption when she was a baby. Pip believes this to be Estella (who he used to play with at miss Havishams house and is in love with her). Miss havisham has died and has left her money to the pockets. Pip decides to go abroad with his friend to work. ...read more.

Middle

I get the impression people in London are much richer than the people in the country from these two chapters, the people in London have the money to buy themselves a better lifestyle. I get this impression by the way the buildings are described, and the way the there are streetlights in the streets. People in the country wouldn't have tall buildings with lead on the roofs and there wouldn't be any streetlights. I think that Dickens wanted us to believe that there are two types of gentleman the kind Pip believes he will become before he goes to London and then there's the kind of gentleman that Pip turns into. Pips first impressions of a gentleman are someone with wealth, "breeding", education, and social status. This idea soon changes when Pip gets to London. He tries to be a gentleman when he reaches London but soon realises that he has a lot to learn and soon he starts to hate his past, the way he was brought up. After time he begins to hate Joe and the way he makes his living, but when Magwitch tells him who gave the order for him to become a gentleman, he starts to think about himself and what he has become. Then he remembers where his roots are, and who his family are. This is when he realises there's two types of gentleman the good type that he wanted to become and the bad type the one he has become. Only when he helps to save Magwitchs life by putting his own in danger he becomes a true gentleman. Also I think Dickens wanted us to remember where are roots are and who our true family and friends, by the time we had finished reading the book. How effective is the opening chapter in Charles Dickens' Great Expectations? Charles Dickens was one of the outstanding writers of the 19th century. ...read more.

Conclusion

For an opening chapter to be effective it needs to have a positive effect on the reader other wise the first chapter is all that they will read. 'Great Expectations'' first chapter has been written well by Dickens. He has introduced the characters and described them well and we get a good understanding of the personalities of both Pip and Magwitch. Dickens uses different techniques to show the two different characters, with Magwitch we discover him mainly, through the medium of speech, and how he acts towards Pip. We find out about Pips character through his actions and how he reacts to Magwitchs' treatments. The atmosphere and landscape that has been described adds to the tension of the chapter and sets the scene well. Dickens has used dark, bleak colours, and has used pathetic fallacy with the wind and weather to create the sense that not everything is as it should be, and something is about to happen, this is very much similar to the opening chapter of Shakespeare's 'Macbeth', where the 3 Witches meet in a derelict place in similar weather conditions. The ending of the chapter is very dramatic, Pips imagination takes over and he imagines that the man he has just spoken to is the pirate who was hung nearby, come back to life. 'The man was limping on towards this latter, as if he were the pirate come back to life, and come down, and going back to hook himself up again.' The chapter ends with questions which have been left unanswered such as 'Who was Magwitch?' 'Will Pip return with food?' 'Will he keep this meeting secret?' 'Will Magwitch kill Pip?' and so on, thus making the reader want to read on. Compared to Magwitch, Pip is only a tiny defenceless boy. He is scared by him and also by his own imagination. The reader feels sympathy towards Pip and easily understands how he must be feeling in such a situation. Overall I think that the opening chapter of this book is extremely effective, and leaves the reader with great expectations. ...read more.

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