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GCSE: Great Expectations

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  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. The themes that are introduced and emphasised in Chapter 8 of Charles Dickens Great Expectations are a near complete summary of the themes of the novel as a whole and of the conditions in which the English people had to live with in the 1800s.

    In Chapter 8, he is controlled by Pumblechook (as afore mentioned), Estella ('"You are to wait here, boy."') and Miss Havisham ('"Play!"'). In particular, Miss Havisham manipulates the lives of Estella and Pip to suit her own twisted, selfish needs to the point where she is remorseful of her actions. Dickens stresses the point that, in this era, the wealthy people dictate the actions of the poorer people. The fact that Pip is sitting back and enjoying the ride, so to speak, is a result of the people around him ordering and demanding things of him. Pip rarely has a choice to make, and is manipulated and used by many people, some with good intentions (Magwitch), some with evil intentions (Miss Havisham and Compeyson).

    • Word count: 3103
  4. How does Dickens create an effective opening chapter in Great expectations?

    Pip is also the shortest version of his name which helps to give the reader the image that Pip is small. The word ' infant' creates an instant impression of youth and sounds as if pip is referring to himself in the past giving the impression that this is the adult pip telling the story of himself as a young boy. Pips name also helps to give the reader an impression of his character in that the name is simple and short (one syllable)

    • Word count: 4783
  5. Explore Dickens introduction of the characters of Magwitch and Jaggers in Great Expectations, and consider how these characters are developed during the course of the Novel

    strengths are shown, through the eyes of the young naive Pip - the reader will be able to see things that Pip cannot. When Magwitch is reintroduced into the story, it soon becomes apparent that he is prepared to do as much as he can to benefit Pip, despite the fact his poor and uneducated background would make this a great challenge. By doing this, Dickens goes against the expectations of the reader, establishing himself as a social commentator and making the reader question their own lines of thought.

    • Word count: 3774
  6. An evaluation of the effectiveness of chapter one of great expectations as the opening of a novel

    Those who were born into a family like this often took on the role of their parents, boys would inherit their fathers job and girls would be 'married off' to other families, their life mainly consisting of housework, reproducing and attending to their husband's needs. This was all because of the lack of money. Without a large amount of money coming in from somewhere, educating children was simply unaffordable, and therefore they had no hope of getting a job that would have a much larger pay and wouldn't consist of any hard labour.

    • Word count: 3080
  7. Free essay

    Great Expectations. Discuss how the theme of class is developed through Pips visit to Satis House

    A number of families then considered moving to towns to get jobs. Town children lived in overcrowded streets which quickly became slums; children had to share one bed or sleep on the floor; they had a bad diet and dressed badly. They were prone to diseases such as, smallpox, measles, diphtheria and tuberculosis. These children worked in local mines, factories or as chimney sweepers. At the beginning of the novel we find out that Pip is illiterate, for example he says: "I fell among those thieves, the nine figures, who seems every evening to do something now to disguise themselves and baffle recognition." This shows that Pip can barely read or write.

    • Word count: 4346
  8. Great Expectations, character and setting

    At that time divisions between the rich and the poor were wider than ever. People were moving from the countryside to London in the belief that it would bring better jobs and living conditions giving them a happier life. This was not however, the reality, as the amount of people living in London combined with the pollution from the factories led to London being a very dark and crowded place which was not at all pleasant to live in. Social mobility was rare and people tended to stay within the class they were born to.

    • Word count: 4335
  9. Analysis of chapters 1-8 in Great Expectation by Charles Dickens

    In the churchyard, the landscape from a distance can be seen as a line which has been smudged to give it its industrial looking colour. Furthermore, the line "distant savage lair from which the wind was rushing, was the sea" describes the impending danger. This is because there are always the natural elements and species that can sense danger before humans can. However, in this case the wind rushing suggests that there is danger that is on its way. The word "savage" is a word associated with violence and brutality which suggests that something terrible is on the "horizon".

    • Word count: 3321
  10. Great Expectations Analysis

    Furthermore, I felt remorseful regarding Pip's despondent background due to the fact that he grew up with no main authoritative figure. On the other hand, Victorian readers may not necessarily have the same sentiments. History reveals that, during this era, there were countless other young children in similar predicaments, therefore they would have classified Pip's scenario as conventional. Dickens has skilfully crafted his writing with the intention of reciprocating a sense of compassion, which can be developed in subsequent events.

    • Word count: 5483
  11. How does Dickens create sympathy for Pip in the opening chapters of great Expectations(TM)

    "Wooden house, as many of the dwellings in our country..." This gives us an idea that the place Pip lives in is crowded, hard to live in and considered a slum like. There is very little to see in the area except for a broken down light house and a gibbet. "The beacon...like an unhooped cask upon a pole-an ugly thing...a gibbet, with chains hanging to it which had once held a pirate". The only things he can see are a gibbet that in its self is horrible.

    • Word count: 3079
  12. How does Dickens create an effective opening in "Great Expectations"?

    Dickens also uses an example of personification in "the wind was rushing" describing the wind as if it were actually moving and hurrying deliberately fast. This imagery helps the reader to picture the scene and also makes it seem that even the weather is against Pip. The fact that it is set in the barren marshes and graveyard does not only appear terrifying but they also have close links to death. Obviously the graveyard houses most of Pip's family and the reader fears it may also become home to him, especially when Dickens cleverly describes the tombstone on which Pip is sitting, "he came closer to my tombstone" as if Pip may die just there in that exact spot.

    • Word count: 3397
  13. How does Dickens capture the reader's interest in the first eight chapters of "Great Expectations"?

    Dickens started of his literary career as a journalist like many others in his time. Dickens engaged the reader in all his novels with epic stories and his vivid characters which are so memorable. Dickens talent is shown within his novels as he includes many autobiographical aspects of his personal life which makes this novel a brilliant read. The opening of the novel is very dramatic and we find out the Pip's tragic history. 'Great Expectations' is written in first person but there is also dual narration in the course of the book.

    • Word count: 3589
  14. Discuss how the theme of class is developed through Pip's visit to Satis House

    The Education that young Pip receives is offered by the ancient Mr Wopsles great aunt above her store. Through the course of the chapter we see that the level of education at the time of history was worryingly poor. Not only was there a deep exacerbation within the already exceedingly low education standards, the children were also accustomed to praising themselves, for being able to read the simplest of words, to further worsen matters, these simple words were not even spelt correctly by most!

    • Word count: 3265
  15. Great Expectations

    You were generally considered lucky if you survived the high mortality rates. The involvement of this fact early on shows that death, and poverty was an everyday occurrence; it wasn't an unusual nature, hence the matter of fact writing. The weather in this scene creates a solemn yet dramatic tone. A negative pattern exhibiting raging storms, adding to the bleak and cold winter's day atmosphere is vividly painted. It is a gloomy Christmas Eve's day. Pip ventures out into these eerie 'unknowns', which later on prove to be a symbol that his life is going to change drastically too, where peril and ambiguity await.

    • Word count: 5629
  16. Great Expectations

    Surprised by a Convict who needed help, Pip was threatened to give the Convict food, drink and a file. A day later Pip stole a pork pie, drink and a file. He gave it to the Convict. He needed the file to escape from the English soldiers who were after him. Later on, the Convict gets caught by the soldiers. He helps Pip by saying to the blacksmith (Pips brother in law) and soldiers that he stole a pork pie and file from the blacksmith. The Convict helped Pip because Pip had given him food and a file. A year later Pip goes to Miss Havisham's house, to play with her daughter Estella.

    • Word count: 3471
  17. Central motifs of the novel are established vividly in this volume. Imagery and allusions to crime, guilt, class and death exist throughout".

    The arrival of the convict in Pip's life also marks a turning point in his life, as he is then initiated with the act of crime itself, when he is forced to commit a crime to help the criminal by stealing food and a file from the Gargery's pantry, "I stole some bread, cheese...". Allusions to crime and guilt also emerge as a result of Pip's inquisitive nature, when he asks, "And please what's Hulks?" and, "I wonder who's put into prison-ships, and why they're put there?".

    • Word count: 3563
  18. how charles dickens presents characters in chapters one and eight of great expectations

    To a modern day reader, this is a very bizarre thought. Nowadays a photograph is not a piece of modern technology; it is something that everybody has, whether it is a digital camera or a camera phone. This is a good example right at the beginning of the story as to how different life was in the 19th century. After this the reader is informed that Pip had five younger brothers, who all died at a young age. This was normal in Victorian times, to have a large family and for many of the children to die in infancy.

    • Word count: 3101
  19. Great Expectations

    This is why Dickens is biased in this novel. He favours the working class and makes them out to be the better people. As an audience we prefer the younger Pip, this is because younger Pip is a genuine person and we made to like him. We sympathise for younger Pip straight away. In the opening paragraphs of the novel, we see Pip extremely sad whilst he is looking over his parents graves; from this we begin to like Pip. But as Pip grows older we begin to dislike him.

    • Word count: 3277
  20. Great Expectations - Theme of class

    Pip describes his world as a 'universal struggle,' and we see how Pip looks at life and how his suffering has affected this. Dickens uses the metaphor to describe him as a 'bundle of shivers' and this shows that he is defenceless and vulnerable. The metaphor is assertive and makes the reader understand his conditions. It becomes clear that Pip will have to break the mould of manual labour and has a lengthy journey to go before achieving his aim of becoming a 'gentleman.'

    • Word count: 4338
  21. Great Expectations -How Pip changes throughout the novel

    Pip has had a very strict upbringing by Mrs Joe. Pip and Joe became very good friends they only became this close because Joe treated Pip as a he would if it was a friend and they were always there for each other, and this seemed to be one of his only friends at this point in the story, he always looked up to Joe and wanted to be a blacksmith, when he was older, just like Joe. Pip saw Joe as an a older version of a child and treated him as an no more than an equal.

    • Word count: 3270
  22. Great Expectations Role of Magwitch

    The use of his own experiences is shown in Great Expectations, as it is generally agreed that within this novel Dickens's explores his personal mixed feelings about his past more rigorously than in any of his other novels. The first meeting between Pip and Magwitch (the escaped prisoner) takes place on Christmas Eve in a church graveyard. The location of the graveyard is on the Thames Marshes and is also the location of Pip's father, mother and brothers as their bodies lie within the graveyard itself and this is the reason for why Pip is visiting the graveyard on Christmas Eve.

    • Word count: 6509
  23. How Does Dickens use settings to reflect characters in Great Expectations

    This shows that the novel in some ways is autobiographical. In 1856 Charles Dickens bought Gad's Hill. This building is considered to be the inspiration behind Miss Havisham's home Satis House. This was where Charles Dickens spent most of his time editing his two journals, Household Words and All the year Round. This huge mansion in Rochester was admired by Charles Dickens when he was a small boy very much like Pip who admired Satis House as a little boy. This also proves how Great Expectations is autobiographical. In 1827 Charles Dickens went to work at a law firm and then later became a journalist.Working for newspapers which led to the publication of his first novel The Pickwick Papers (1836).

    • Word count: 3464
  24. An exploration of the ways in which issues of class and status are presented in Charles Dickens' "Great Expectations" and L.P. Hartley's "The Go-Between".

    the assumption of the ancient idea of the moral superiority of the wealthy, going back to the Bible story of Job in the Old Testament, where God blessed a good man with wealth. Ironically, Triningham is already displaying the injuries already done to the aristocracy, he has been forced to rent out the home his ancestors have held for generations as he himself can no longer afford to live there; he himself has lost his wealth in his property, even though temporarily. Nevertheless, the middle classes Maudlseys do not appear to have gained by their social rise at the end.

    • Word count: 11699
  25. Dickens is Famous for his dramatic presentation of character and using them as a device for social commentary.

    As a direct result of not meeting those expectations, we're told how Miss Havisham choose to stop her life, and live - if you can call it living - in the past, constantly replaying the terrible pain she suffered the day her heart was broken and dreams destroyed. The first time Miss Havisham is mentioned in the novel, Dickens displays great skill, as he shadows everything we're told about her in mystery and doubt; making the reader very curious and more closely examine, the details revealed about her character.

    • Word count: 3195

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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