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Comparisons of openings of Great Expectations - Novel and film.

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YEAR 10 MEDIA COURSEWORK COMPARISIONS OF OPENINGS OF GREAT EXPECTATIONS- NOVEL AND FILM In this essay I am going to compare the opening of the film with the opening of the novel. I will write about the differences and why changes were made in the film. Charles Dickens wrote Great Expectations in 1861, in the later years of his life. Dickens fiction is much inspired by a painful period in his life when his father was imprisoned for debt and Dickens, age 12, went to work in a blacking warehouse. His writing was very much a comment on the Victorian society in which he lived, in particular the hardships suffered by many working class children. In the first opening paragraph of the book, the character of Pip is established. I can tell this because it says, " so, I called myself Pip" in the first paragraph you find out his full name " Phillip Pirrip" and how he came to be called Pip. The first paragraph seems to reinforce who Pip is and this makes you think that he is probably the main character in the story and that he is very significant. Also in the first paragraph you can see that it is being written first person. ...read more.


Later on Pip watches the convict walk off and he is described as " hugging his shuddering body, clasping himself. As if to hold himself together." You go from feeling scared and resentful towards the convict to feeling sorry for him. Pip watches him " picking his way among the nettles and among the brambles." This sounds like a place that is unkept, overgrown, isolated a bad place to be. Pip says, " He was eluding the hands of the dead people." It is like the convict is close to death and it creates an unpleasant image. Dickens then uses a simile " like a man whose legs were numbed and stiff." This shows that the convict has probably been sitting and waiting on the marshes for a long time, this increases our feeling of pity. After the convict has left the story returns to the description of the landscape. It says, " The marshes were just a long black horizontal line" this gives the feeling of death and a colourless landscape. Then a metaphor is used " the sky was just a row of long angry lines and dense black lines intermixed." This again is pathetic fallacy as it creates an atmosphere of something brewing like a storm as though the next chapter in the story has some action in it. ...read more.


There are a few close up shots of Pip's sister, we do not know that this is his sister though. She shouts at him telling him she " brought him up by hand." This all makes you feel sorry for Pip. There is a low shot making the woman seem big and powerful, as she is asserting her authority on the small weedy child. There are quite a few similarities between the book and the film such as the graveyard setting and the convict. But there are also many differences such as the establishing shot. Also the film jumps to the second chapter when Pip says he went to see the carols, this does not happen in the book until later on. This has been done to interest the viewer, and the story has to be cut down, so the film makers take out the bits they feel are most important so they can move the film on more quickly. Other changes such as concentrating on a certain part of the convict adds dramatic suspense. This is however like Dickens use of alliteration and repetition to in force an important factor. I think that the book is more effective because with Dickens's brilliant descriptions and use of language, you can really let your imagination go and follow the story in your mind much better than the film. Louise Baldwin R7 ...read more.

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