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GCSE: Great Expectations

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  1. How does Charles Dickens hook the reader into reading Great Expectations?

    The ghoulish atmosphere of a churchyard is not a common place to find a young boy. It gives the narrative a depressing point of view that gives the reader the push to read on and see if the protagonist's life will get better or not. I think the reader could imagine Pip to be quite imaginative. The writer has pointed this out when Pip describes his father as 'a square, dark man, with curly black hair'; he got that from his own hair and the lettering on his father's tombstone. The reader's attention is now on Pip and the story because the reader can imagine Pip's life due to his portrayals.

    • Word count: 3698
  2. Explore the ways in which Estella is presented and developed in Great Expectations

    It also highlights the deeply ingrained division between the classes in the Victorian society, which was something that Dickens passionately wanted to change. He wrote his novels as social critiques that were intended to challenge and ultimately modify society: the rich lived in decadence and opulence whilst the poor suffered devastating deprivations. There was no movement between classes: if one was born into poverty, they died in poverty. Estella, having been brought up with wealth and luxury, sneers at and ridicules Pip, which emphasises her judgemental quality.

    • Word count: 1865
  3. Explore the initial presentation of Dickens Magwitch and Miss Havisham in Great Expectations

    Miss Havisham's presentation, and in turn Compeyson's, is used to expose the upper-class. Miss Havisham wants to find her adopted daughter, Estella, a fitting boy of lower class, teach her her own opinions on men. Her intentions throughout the novel are to make young Pip fall in love with beautiful Estella, and then exploit said love, to seek revenge on the opposite sex seeing as she was once jilted at the altar by her almost husband, Compeyson. Compeyson is also of upper class; he went to a boarding school as a child and was quite good-looking.

    • Word count: 2609
  4. Great Expectations -how Dickens uses language in the opening chapter and in chapter 8.

    The reader then goes on to learn that Pip is an orphan since he clarifies that both his father and mother have passed away. "My father's family name on the authority of his tombstone." Already the reader is sympathetic towards Pip in only just the second paragraph due to the fact that Pip is so young and helpless. This, the reader is quickly drawn to this boy who we know little about. In addition, the description of "death" creates airiness.

    • Word count: 2059
  5. Great Expectations Chapter One analysis

    representing the death of Pip's parents, when he was at a very small age. Magwitch the escaped convict is also introduced; who we assume is a corrupt character from the use of language used to describe him by Dickens. He described as "A fearful man, all in coarse gray, with a great iron on his leg" gave us the ideas that he is an escaped convict as only convicts are chained by iron and a bad personality from the phrase "A fearful man". Pip's sister, Mrs Joe Gargery is the final character who is introduced; she acts like a mother figure to Pip.

    • Word count: 873
  6. How does Dickens present childhood in Great Expectations?

    The Victorian period was also very capitalist - a very individualistic ethos of an economy that made people believe it's their fault if you're in poverty - further playing on why people couldn't pull themselves up from the dirt in the way Pip would do. Dickens' main interests as a writer would be to entertain as well as to gain recognition to be successful and make money. However, Dickens was very much a 'people's writer', meaning that he listened to the praises and criticisms of his readers, and did more of or improved, respectively.

    • Word count: 2247
  7. Great Expectations. How does Dickens create characters that are both memorable and striking?

    Also she repeats the word "and" this is to give it more emphasis to the point she is trying to express. Estella's tone is smirk and scornful with a posh accent towards anyone below her social class. We are introduced to Estella in chapter 8 which is set in the Satis house, home to the rich Miss Havisham. The house is described by pip descriptively as he says "which was of old brick and dismal, and had a great many iron bars to it."

    • Word count: 1595
  8. With particular reference to chapters one to eight, how does Dickens engage the reader in Great Expectations?

    Dickens does this with many names. Two examples are "Mr. Pumblechook" and "Mrs. Hubble". In addition, Dickens takes on the persona of Pip. This device makes it hard not to like and have sympathy for Pip. It creates an emotional involvement of the reader with Pip. Furthermore, Dickens uses a lot of detail to describe his characters. The amount of detail written just to describe one character in the novel gives the reader a good image of the characters personality and looks.

    • Word count: 1957
  9. How does Charles Dickens use setting in the novel Great Expectations?

    A 'distant savage lair' provides the hint of an introduction to Magwitch. Magwitch could also be represented by the brittle, brutal nature of the landscape. This is particularly reinforced by the uncultured, colloquial way in which he speaks, that shows his roots and the time he has spent in prison. However, as the chapter evolves, we see the perspective of Magwitch change. He is shown as 'limping' and 'cut', which encourages us to feel pity for him and could hint at the battered existence he has had which has led him to crime.

    • Word count: 1047
  10. How does Dickens create sympathy for his characters in the first 11 chapters of Great Expectations?

    Pip, being timid in nature, easily became intimidated by the convict and obeys his demands. He soon goes home to his abusive sister and his brother-in-law, Joe Gargery, whom he considers to be an equal and a friend. The next day, he wakes up early in the morning to take what the convict had demanded of him. He then returns to the churchyard from a guilt-ridden trip, having done something he considered 'evil' for the first time. This is a key moment in the book for the convict had been shown kindness that he would never forget, albeit forced.

    • Word count: 1838
  11. How does Charles Dickens engage and sustain the reader in the opening chapter of Great Expectations?

    He begins the story without tension as Pip (the older) introduces himself and begins to describe his childhood. Immediately the audience is engaged by Dickens' protagonist as their given an insight into his life. Pip says 'my infant tongue could make of the two names nothing more explicit than Pip. So I called myself Pip and came to be called Pip'. As well as injecting some humour to the story, the audience is given something personal to relate to Pip - much like a nickname. Afterwards, the audience begins to sympathise with Pip as we learn more of his situation.

    • Word count: 948
  12. How does Charles Dickens make the the first chapter of "Great Expectations" effective?

    In the second paragraph the author uses words like "gloomy" and "raw" to create a bleak atmosphere. Moreover the author writes "the distant savage lair from which the wind was rushing". These words used in this paragraph symbolize pip's feeling and foreshadow the upcoming events which make the reader apprehensive. The reader learns from the fist two paragraphs that pip has had a horrible time so far and the fact that he lives in poverty does not help. The third paragraph starts with "hold your noise".

    • Word count: 826
  13. Great Expectations Character analysis of Magwitch and Pip

    As I compare the different circumstances of both Pip and Magwitch in chapter one and chapter thirty-nine we immediately see the differences on how they have developed through the story. In chapter one Pip is an orphan who is cared for by his sister, Pip refers to her as, 'Mrs. Joe Gargery'. He is very lonely and destitute; often visiting his parent's graves, 'I give Pirrip as my father's family name, on the authority of his tombstone', as well as his five little brothers' graves, 'To five little stone lozenges...

    • Word count: 2468
  14. Having read Great Expectations how effective is the opening chapter? Discuss the methods Dickens used to ensure his readers continuing interest.

    Some things cause strength or growth in a person are responsibility, discipline and surrounding ones self around people who are challenging and inspiring. Pip has dreams and resulting disappointment that eventually lead him to becoming a genuinely good man. During his transformation into adulthood, Pip comes to realise two diverse concept of being a gentlemen and he come to find out the real gentlemen in his life aren't the people he had initially thought. In the first chapter Pip begins the story as a young orphan boy being raised by his sister Mrs.

    • Word count: 1128
  15. Discuss how Charles Dickens builds tension in Chapters 1 and in Chapter 39 of his novel Great Expectations?

    Great Expectations is a story that the public can relate to because it shows that possessions and wealth do not change who people are inside, and that finding one's self can be a long tedious process until finally the mists rise and everything becomes clear. The first skill Dickens uses to build up tension is the way he creates the setting. From the start, Dickens immediately builds up suspense by his vivid descriptions of the scenery in Chapter one. He uses lots of detail to describe the landscape to give an atmosphere.

    • Word count: 2683
  16. How does dickens create an effective opening to great expectations ?

    Dickens has created two very different characters, Pip and Magwitch. Pip is a young boy that is timid; the name pip suits the character because pips are small and harmless, just like him. Dickens describes pip with phrases like 'small bundle of shivers', 'undersized, and not strong' these descriptive phrases make pip sound even more vulnerable, to attack. The other character is Magwitch; he is older and appears a lot more threatening. Dickens describes Magwitch with comments like 'fearful', 'broken shoes', 'old, cut' and 'growled'.

    • Word count: 1143
  17. Great Expectations Courcework

    As a child Pip aids a convict by bringing him food and a file to remove his shackles. Pip often, by request, visits an old lady known as Miss Havisham. Miss Havisham is very wealthy and has an adopted daughter known as Estella, who later becomes the love of Pip's life. As a young man Pip learns that someone has decided to pay for him to live like gentlemen, a childhood dream of his. Pip immediately assumes that Miss Havisham is the benefactor who is paying for him to be a gentleman so he can be good enough to marry Estella.

    • Word count: 2202
  18. How does Charles Dickens present Pip as vulnerable in the opening chapters of Great Expectations?

    In the opening chapters of 'Great Expectations', the settings is in the marshes near the River Thames. It is dark, frightening, it is cloudy and the wind is very rough. Pip is a young orphan in a graveyard on his own looking at his parents, and brothers' grave, wondering what they were like. Charles Dickens uses adjectives to create a dangerous setting. The phrase "bleak place with overgrown nettle," suggests that this place is deserted, empty, frightening and is petrifying for Pip. Another phrase, "the sky was just a row of angry red lines "suggests that the Charles Dickens is personifying that the sky is a row of long angry red lines, and that the sky is cloudy and very frightening.

    • Word count: 1610
  19. How does Charles Dickens create effective images of people and places in chapters 1 and 8 of Great Expectations?

    This highlights the idea that Victorian society is socially rigid. It is not based on who or what you are but instead about your heritage and your riches. Dickens uses this novel to demonstrate that people lower class are more than capable to easily slot into the life of riches and perhaps too easily. So the opening chapter starts with Pip he is in the process of analysing his parents and brothers gravestones in desperation for any knowledge of his heritage.

    • Word count: 1529
  20. A comparison of chapters 1 & 39 of Great Expectations

    is surrounded by death, as Pip being an orphan he is visiting the graves of his parents and tries to imagine what they would look like, 'he was a square, stout, dark man, with curly black hair.' this makes the reader feel sorry for Pip, because the only connection to his parents is through guess work by him. In Pip's home life we are made to feel pity for Pip as he is punished by his sister for the slightest thing that she doesn't feel is appropriate, using Tickler -a cane used to hit Pip- and helpings of tar-water it creates sympathy towards Pip.

    • Word count: 1835
  21. Pip's diary

    I wanted to escape. Additionally Mr. Wopsle continued on intimidating me into feeling a burden towards Mrs. Joe. I appreciate that Joe is the only person who feels compassion towards me, though sometimes it seems like he pities me.

    • Word count: 434
  22. How does Charles Dickens make the characters in his novel, Great Expectations, memorable?

    Dickens also makes us grow fond of Pip by creating sympathy for him. The reader feels sorry for him and immediately feels close to him and wants him to do well. We can see his vulnerability in the first chapter by the way he reacts to Magwitch; he is terrified ' "O! Don't cut my throat sir", I pleaded in terror, "pray don't do it sir"'. It is clear that the reader would also develop a liking for Pip because he is polite and humble, we can see from this quote and throughout Chapter 1, during which, he calls Magwitch, a terrifying convict, sir.

    • Word count: 3133
  23. How does Dickens engage the reader in Great Expectations?

    Simultaneously, Dickens also used varying sentence structure to create anticipation and tension. He used long sentences for a detailed description. This would create the atmosphere. On the other hand, he used short sentences for sudden events and dialogue. This creates tension as it happens suddenly. This, in turn, helps to engage the reader. A different technique that Dickens used to make 'Great Expectations' successful is the use of universal themes, i.e. crime and violence. For example in chapter two, Pip's sister "applied tickler to its further investigation". The above quote shows that Dickens used violence - a universal theme.

    • Word count: 818
  24. Compare, Contrast and Analyse Chapters 1 and 39 of Great Expectations.

    He felt compelled to highlight the problems of the structure in place in Victorian society, due to the events Dickens faced within his own life, having come from a working class background however. Dickens managed to work his way up through the classes. As a result of this he had experienced first-hand, the attitudes and views between the classes. His father was also imprisoned for debt; a trivial matter which is common in today's society and seems unworthy of a jail sentence, Dickens also felt the Victorian justice system, as well as the social class system together with the attitudes

    • Word count: 4741
  25. Two Chapters In Great Expectations Introduce The Character Of Magwitch. Compare The Two Chapters On The Basis Of Language And Structure.

    Pip has a lot more power over Magwitch when Magwitch is introduced the second time. As I have mentioned, the two chapters contrast greatly however both share the same anxious and tense atmosphere. I believe this has a lot to do with the way Dickens has described the weather and setting. Chapter 1 begins in a graveyard, which is a traditional scary setting that develops a sinister mood in a piece of writing. Pip, at his family's gravestones, is described as a 'small bundle of shivers'. The image of a small boy shivering lets the reader know that he is in a cold location with nobody there to comfort him.

    • Word count: 1523

Conclusion analysis

Good conclusions usually refer back to the question or title and address it directly - for example by using key words from the title.
How well do you think these conclusions address the title or question? Answering these questions should help you find out.

  1. Do they use key words from the title or question?
  2. Do they answer the question directly?
  3. Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?
  • Discuss the three main female characters in Great Expectations

    "In conclusion I believe these three women have all had their effects on Pip and his life in some way or another. The majority of these effects have been negative and Pip has had to endure a lot in his life. Yet he has come out all in all a very respectable young gentleman when he could've turned very differently."

  • Compare and contrast the presentation of Pip, Magwitch, Miss Havisham and Estella in the opening chapter of 'Great Expectation

    "In conclusion, in the opening chapters of 'Great Expectations,' I believe that Pip earns the most sympathy due to the way he is presented; his frailty and him being an orphan being the key emotional areas. However, later on as we learn more about each of the other characters, we feel more sympathetic towards them. By the end of the novel, each character is an almost contradiction to themselves as Dickens argues against society suggesting that people can change. Poor, trembling Pip has grown up, he has sufficient money, which is what he wanted, he becomes educated and is a gentlemen, whereas the arrogant and beautiful Estella becomes quiet and battered, her beauty now hidden behind her scars. Miss Havisham dies understanding, that although she felt it is necessary to gain her revenge on men, due to her pain, she'd caused a lot of pain by creating a monster in the cold hearted Estella which meant that her once broken heart could finally feel again. Finally, Magwitch, who seemed to be rough and animal like, mellows down and forms a bond between himself and Pip. His story helps the reader understand him and the hatred they felt towards him in the opening chapters is directed towards Compeyson who becomes the common enemy and villain who meets a just end."

  • Having read Great Expectations how effective is the opening chapter? Discuss the methods Dickens used to ensure his readers continuing interest.

    "In conclusion, I believe that the opening chapter of Great Expectations is very effective. Not only is this one of the most exhilarating novels that a person could read, but it is one to recommend too. Due to the narration of Pip, the opening chapter would make readers very intrigued, wanting to know more about 'what's going to happen next' as well as Pip's life and what his outcome in life is. The choice of language as well as the literary terms used such as metaphors, similes and dramatic tension, would draw one's attention and keep them fascinated throughout the entire book."

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