• Level: GCSE
  • Subject: English
  • Essay length: 3100 words

David Copperfield

Extracts from this essay...

Introduction

David Copperfield How does Charles Dickens create a sense of tension in this extract? We have a read a short abridged extract from 'David Copperfield' where he returns home after a holiday to find he's got a stepfather. In this extract, Dickens uses a variety of techniques to build tension. The extract starts with a very positive atmosphere. David is having a holiday in a quiet seaside Yarmouth town with his maid's family, whom he likes. Everything is so peaceful and calm and David is happy. Then the third paragraph starts with a very short sentence. 'At last the day came for going home.' The short sentence suggests his return might not be a very happy one. The day he went home was a 'cold grey afternoon, with a dull sky, threatening rain.' This technique is called pathetic fallacy, where the weather reflects the mood. When David reaches home (expecting a huge welcome from his mother), he is received by a 'strange servant'. This has a hint of shock in it because the reader wonders why Copperfield's mother hadn't given him the welcome he expected. Was something wrong? When David asks Pegotty (the maid) whether his mother was home she replies, ' ''Yes, yes Master Davy...I'll - I'll tell you something.'' ' The hesitation shows something's not right. Later David asks, ' ''Where's mama?' ''Where's mama Master Davy?'' ' repeated Pegotty. Here Dickens uses repetition which shows Pegotty is playing for time. It makes the reader wonder what could be wrong. Later David asks. ''Not dead, too! Oh she's not dead Pegotty.'' ' This is an ominous sentence. Why's David worried his mother is dead? Bringing death into the extract makes it even more tense. 'Pegotty cries out, ''No!'' ' Dickens uses sound here to create tension. He also puts exclamation to good use. Another technique used by Dickens is that he prolongs the tense parts.

Middle

And now he's got a stepfather, who's name itself suggests trouble, ordering his mother and him around. He looks out of the window at 'some shrubs that were drooping their heads in the cold.' Pathetic fallacy is used here again. The shrubs reflect his life, falling away in front of his eyes. 'As soon as I could creep away'. This sentence shows that he's a stranger in his own house. His room and everything has been altered and he goes into the yard to see if anything's unchanged and there he finds 'a great dog - deep mouthed and black-haired'. The dog and its appearance represent Mr Murdstone. 'and he was very angry at the sight of me, and sprang out tot get at me.' The dog going angry at the sight of him and springing out to get him suggests David is a stranger in his own home. Overall I think Charles Dickens used a great deal of techniques to build tension in this interesting and tense extract. David Copperfield How does Charles Dickens create a sense of tension in this extract? We have a read a short abridged extract from 'David Copperfield' where he returns home after a holiday to find he's got a stepfather. In this extract, Dickens uses a variety of techniques to build tension. The extract starts with a very positive atmosphere. David is having a holiday in a quiet seaside Yarmouth town with his maid's family, whom he likes. Everything is so peaceful and calm and David is happy. Then the third paragraph starts with a very short sentence. 'At last the day came for going home.' The short sentence suggests his return might not be a very happy one. The day he went home was a 'cold grey afternoon, with a dull sky, threatening rain.' This technique is called pathetic fallacy, where the weather reflects the mood.

Conclusion

Pegotty then tells David, ' ''Come and see him.'' ' When David refuses, Pegotty says ' ''-And your mama.'' ' David is being blackmailed by Pegotty here. She's indirectly telling him that if he wants to see his mother he would see his stepfather as well. David's is then taken to the best parlour and left there. 'the best parlour where she left me.' He's being isolated. 'On one side of the fire (represents pain and suffering) sat my mother; on the other Mr Murdstone.' David's stepfather has got a sinister name. Murd for murderer and stone for heart of stone. The name itself suggests trouble. His mother is very glad to see her son and rises from her chair but she is restrained by Murdstone. ' "Recollect! Control yourself" '. David's stepfather is ordering his mother around. David 'gave him' his 'hand.' The short sentence suggests David is very reluctant to do it. It's like his whole world has been shattered. His father had died before he'd been born and he has never had to share his mother. And now he's got a stepfather, who's name itself suggests trouble, ordering his mother and him around. He looks out of the window at 'some shrubs that were drooping their heads in the cold.' Pathetic fallacy is used here again. The shrubs reflect his life, falling away in front of his eyes. 'As soon as I could creep away'. This sentence shows that he's a stranger in his own house. His room and everything has been altered and he goes into the yard to see if anything's unchanged and there he finds 'a great dog - deep mouthed and black-haired'. The dog and its appearance represent Mr Murdstone. 'and he was very angry at the sight of me, and sprang out tot get at me.' The dog going angry at the sight of him and springing out to get him suggests David is a stranger in his own home. Overall I think Charles Dickens used a great deal of techniques to build tension in this interesting and tense extract.

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