• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Describe how Dickens creates atmosphere and introduces characters in Chapter One of Great Expectations

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Rebecca Jones 10M June 2005 Gothic Literature Describe how Dickens creates atmosphere and introduces characters in Chapter One of Great Expectations. In this essay I am going to describe how Dickens successfully uses tension and drama to create atmosphere and to introduce his characters status, emotions and identity in the opening chapter of Great Expectations. The central character, Pip, is followed from youth as he makes the journey from poverty to riches and back again as he attempts to fulfil his own great expectations. To do this I will be examining in close detail the techniques he used to sustain the reader's interest in the first chapter. Dickens introduces the opening of this novel with death "from their tombstones" and violence "Don't cut my throat!" This is a typical convention of gothic literature. This chapter is set among desolate marshes in a ruined graveyard. The weather plays an important part in the opening chapter "the sky was a row of long angry red lines" and "dense black lines"; "the wind was "rushing". These are examples of pathetic fallacy, this is when the weather is used to reflect what is happening in the story. To create atmosphere Dickens drags out how Pip's family is all dead and how Pip is alone in the world, "dead and buried". ...read more.

Middle

Any description he has of his parents or his five brothers are "derived from their tombstones" indicating a childish imagination. Pip has the impression that his father was a "square, stout, dark man" whereas his mother was "freckled and sickly". At this point he suddenly realizes he is all alone in the world and will have to cope "small bundle of shivers growing afraid of it all and beginning to cry". Pip describes the day he met Magwitch as a "memorable raw afternoon towards evening" in "this bleak place" which expresses how an important but unpleasant event is about to occur. When Magwitch is threatening Pip, Pip still respects him whilst he is trying to defend himself "O! Don't cut my throat, sir!" He also says 'sir' after everything he says to Magwitch. We get the idea that Pip is sometimes frightened or scared in this chapter, "I was frightened" "I pleaded in terror" and "growing afraid of it all". Pip may be scared early on in the chapter when Magwitch, the "fearful man" suddenly appears and starts threatening him. However Pip has another reason to be scared right at the end of the chapter and he lets his childish imagination run away with him. ...read more.

Conclusion

Magwitch also uses some vulgar expressions on Pip when he is threatening him "you little devil". Before Magwitch swears by God "Lord strike you dead if you don't" he keeps tilting Pip backwards, "he tilted me" this is repeated several times to tell us how much Pip is being tilted. A different part in this chapter, where Dickens makes us feel sorry for Magwitch is when he is "[limping] towards the low church wall". This is quite a pathetic image, unlike the one where he is threatening Pip, of a man who may be heading towards the end of his life "A man whose legs are mumbled and stiff". In the eyes of young Pip, he describes Magwitch as though he were "eluding the hands of the dead people," this conveys an image of dead people pulling him in to the grave, which is a classical image of gothic literature "hellish" On the whole, the convict has a sense of humor "I wish I was a frog", he also makes idle threats and his emotions are shown. In conclusion Dickens successfully creates atmosphere and introduces character in chapter one of great expectations with the use of repetition "he tilted me again", metaphors "the low leaden line beyond was the river" and the use of verbs instead of adjectives "lamed" and "stung". Humor is also used to add drama to this chapter "I earnestly expressed my hope that he wouldn't" ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Great Expectations section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Great Expectations essays

  1. Dickens creates atmosphere and tension in the opening chapter, of Great Expectations

    Dickens describes Pip like this intentionally, to make Pip seem cold and alone. He describes Pip as "a small bundle of shivers growing afraid of it all". The weather seems to have a direct impact on Pips feelings. The reader can relate to the way Pip is feeling and sympathise with pip completely.

  2. Explore the ways Dickens uses places and atmosphere in 'Great Expectations'.

    An ominous tone helps Dickens to portray Magwitch as being threatening and powerful by emphasising his abusive and dominating behaviour towards Pip. However, Dickens hints that on the inside, Magwitch is not an all-bad person. Like Pip, Magwitch is presented as a victim suffering pain.

  1. How do circumstances cause characters to change?

    Joe is the only true gentleman. Joe can now write and bailed Pip out by paying for medical costs and debt with his own saved money. Joe still thinks he is embarrassing. Pip returns to the village when he is well enough. He finds Biddy, who forgave him as they "embraced".

  2. How does Dickens use characters in Volume One to present the themes of 'Great ...

    This is the part of the novel where the reader is in major disagreement with Pip. Estella is presented as a home-wrecker and readers do not take kindly to her because she hurts Pip's feelings and because Pip is the narrator, we can see how much she is really damaging his self-esteem.

  1. Analysing and explaining Charles Dickens' Great Expectations; Chapter 1.

    Similarly in the BBC's version, they also use Chains on the chasers feet, showing it's something brutally evil after Pip, which also for a very long time to create suspense as well as tension, is the only part of the convict you see.

  2. How does Dickens create an effective opening chapter in Great expectations?

    This quote also how small and insignificant Pip is in his surroundings because it is such a long description until all that is left is pip. He is beginning to scare himself because he uses a metaphor describing the sea as a lair as the wind is rushing from it

  1. What is the significance of chapter one of 'Great Expectations' in relation to the ...

    This is a crucial point in the novel as Pip learns the identity of his benefactor. The convict treats Pip with the greatest respect, perhaps because Pip became something he never was, which places him a class above the convict.

  2. How Does Charles Dickens Create An Atmosphere Of Crime And Death In Great Expectations? ...

    However the sky is described as 'long angry lines'. The word angry suddenly suggests the red represent blood, fear and anger. Dickens makes the weather seem like a scary criminal out to get Pip. This use of personification makes the reader feel like the sky is closing in on Pip

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work