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Discuss the range of devices Charles dickens uses to engage the interest of the reader in the opening chapters of 'Great Expectations'

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Great Expectations Discuss the range of devices Charles dickens uses to engage the interest of the reader in the opening chapters of 'Great Expectations' It's essential for a novel's opening to engage the reader's interest, if the opening isn't fun or exciting they won't bother reading on. At first 'Great Expectations' was published in magazines and in sets of two to three chapters, he mostly ended each in 'series' because of this with a cliff hanger, so that the readers would be eager to find out 'what happened next'? At the beginning of the novel dickens created a feeling of anxiety, yet the story opens in an introductory type of way as Pip tells us his name and his background making it humorous to the reader, he also describes the features of the churchyard in a depressing and harsh way. We then find out that both his parents and his brothers have all died, it's even worse when he describes the sizes of his brothers graves, "each about a foot and a half long, which were arranged in a neat row beside each other" this may come as a shock to us now that his brothers died very young but in the mid 19th Century it was a common thing for a child to die young, even so one of Dickens children had died young too, since they had a high infant mortality rate. ...read more.


While the reader at this point might find humour in it, they will also feel fear for Pip since he is very gullible. Dickens makes the 'convict's' entry into the story very dramatic and exciting for the reader. We hear him say, "hold your noise" before even seeing him, and then he comes out from behind a grave as if he himself is a dead person and is coming alive from the dead. The 'convict' threatens Pip from the start by saying, "I'll cut your throat!" This is Dickens's way of getting the readers interest by making them worry for Pip. The next paragraph, Dickens gives us a very detailed and precise description of what the 'convict' looked like, "he had been soaked in water, and smothered in mud" which could mean that he had been in the water and coming through the marshes. In the fifth paragraph, there are altogether eleven verbs to describe the convict, the effect of the verbs are to keep us interested and build up questions in our head. The verbs are all negative and that's the picture we get of the convict, however there are so many 'ands' used which shows the amount of things that have happened to him, there might be a few people who'll feel sorry for him. ...read more.


She gives them both a really bad tasting medicine, "Joe got off with half a Pint." This is funny also because it makes you wonder, why did he even think about marry her in the first place? The mystifying character gets introduced very dramatically. We hear him before we see him, and Dickens hold back quite a lot of information about him. A few questions asked could be, 'Why has he a manacle on his leg?', 'How did he escape?', 'Is he really that bad a person' and, 'What has the convict done to be put into a prison ship?'. At the end of chapter two the audience are left with a cliffhanger. Young Pip runs off into the darkness to find the convict and consequently putting himself in a dangerous situation. The readers will be asking themselves, 'What will happen?' all through out the chapter. I think that the reasons for why 'Great Expectations' is so successful is because Charles Dickens takes the meaning of something and then makes it its opposite, like Mr and Mrs Joe Gargery. And also because he uses the young Pip to exaggerate an event so much that it turns in to a great joke, like he thought that he was going to jai, for stealing from his sister! ?? ?? ?? ?? English coursework Ms Gardner 'Great Expectations' 1 Mehboob Ahmed 10C ...read more.

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