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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: English
  • Essay length: 1517 words

Explore Chapter 1 as an introduction to Great Expectations.

Extracts from this essay...

Introduction

Explore chapter 1 as an introduction to great expectations. The novel 'Great expectations' was originally published in a magazine in 36 weekly instalments. The book is written in the first person in autobiographical form, that is, it is pip who looks back on his past life `and recounts the events which led him to the situation that we find him in at the last chapter. Pip is surrounded by mystery and secrecy from the opening chapter to the novels end. Dickens ends each instalment with a moment of tension and suspense to engage a reader's interest for the next instalment. In the first chapter of the novel Dickens sets up many questions and moments of tension as he introduces Pip and Magwitch to each other and the reader. The first picture Dickens creates is of a young boy crying by the graveside of his parents and brothers on a misty marsh on a winter's afternoon. "Five little stone lozenges...memory of the five little brothers of mine who gave up trying to get a living." This draws the reader's attention to Pip feeling isolated. Dickens also shows this isolation by saying that Pip is getting a vivid picture of his mother and father, whom he never met, by the inscription on the gravestones. This would make the reader feel sorry for Pip because he has no image of his parents, as photographs weren't invented then. Through the description of the landscape Dickens highlights the danger of Pips environment to him.

Middle

Put me aside forever- you have done so, I well no......... there may be one who loves you even as dearly, though he has not loved you as long, as I.' Instead of turning away from his feelings for her. Later on in he helps friends and family by going to their houses every week to help with chores. He also helps Magwitch by taking him food and helps him to escape when he is on the run. A reader's initial impression of Magwitch is almost contradictory. On Magwitch's first meeting with Pip he barks out questions and commands and doesn't treat him very well. At one point Dickens gives the impression that Magwitch is a desperate man who would go to any lengths to survive. 'You young dog' said the man licking his lips, 'what fat cheeks you ha' got.' This gives the impression that Magwitch would even eat pip to survive. The description 'a fearful man, all in coarse grey, with a great iron on his leg,' makes Magwitch's and pips first meeting sound awful for a young boy like Pip. However by the end of the first chapter the reader might detect a softening in Magwitch's attitude towards Pip. In fact he seems to care that Pip gets home safely. After reading the first few chapters we learn that Magwitch fell into bad company at a young age and broke the law.

Conclusion

This creates a picture of poverty and premature deaths that were always a threat for Pip from an early age and which reflects aspects of the society at the time. Pip's reaction to Magwitch suggests the presence of an authority figure, possibly one who rules through fear. Pip and Estella have both had bad early life experiences: Estella's mother murdered her rival in a jealous scene and as she had threatened to kill their child too, Magwitch believes that Estella needs to be taken away. She is then adopted by Miss Havisham and brought up to seek revenge on men. Estella doesn't ever know of her background. Chapter one does suggest that there is little love in the novel. However, Magwitch is one of two characters who show very deep feelings. Joe is the other. In the opening chapter there is a very subtle hint of Magwitch softening towards Pip. 'Now, you remember what you've undertook, and you remember that young man, and you get home.' Charles Dickens chooses to make his story one in which his hero does not make his fortune while using the format of a traditional fairy tale as a way to tell his story. The lives of Pip and Magwitch are linked throughout the story. Pip rejects his fortune from Magwitch and learns to live by his own values. It is only then that he can return to the forge a very different person from the boy who left years ago. Natalie Parkinson 10T4 0

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