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Great Expectations

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How does Charles Dickens introduce his characters, setting and themes at the beginning of his novel, Great Expectations? The world that Charles Dickens creates at the beginning of his novel Great Expectations is one of isolation, loneliness and sorrow. This is because he portrays the world in this novel through Pip, whose childhood is spent in loneliness because he was deprived of his parentage and the comfort of his siblings at an early age. His sister Mrs Joe Gargery brings him up and is extremely aggressive and abusive towards him. She pushes him to the extent that he isolates himself from the world, and spends part of his childhood grieving over the death of his parents in the graveyard. The atmosphere at the beginning is shown as being really distant and sorrowful, when describing the atmosphere where Pip is first introduced as, "the small bundle of shivers growing afraid of it all and beginning to cry was Pip." Dickens has chosen to use a variety of linguistic devices to help the reader visualise what the landscape looks like. For example he uses a series of adjectives to describe Pip's immediate surroundings: 'Dark, flat wilderness.' In particular he uses metaphors to compare the different aspects of the environment; "the distant savage lair from which the wind was rushing, was the sea." This presents the sea in such a way that the readers are given the impression that the sea is aggressive and hostile. This relates back to the way Pip's sister behaves towards him, always aggressive towards Pip and takes every opportunity to abuse him both mentally and physically. "Bleak place overgrown with nettles." This describes Pip's surroundings as being overcrowded with nettles. ...read more.


He tilted me again. "And you get me wittles." He tilted me again. "You bring 'em both to me." He tilted me again. "Or I'll have your heart and liver out." He tilted me again." The way Magwitch speaks is so different to the Standard English that Pip uses, this is because he uses colloquial language. This citation also proves that Magwitch is selfish and passionate, as he is so desperate to get what he desires that he will do anything to make sure he gets it, no matter how much turmoil and trouble it could cause. Furthermore, it shows that he is very dangerous and the influence he has over Pip can lead Pip to carry out a criminal act. The instant image that is created of Magwitch is of danger and neglect, because of all the exploitation and torment that he furnishes on Pip. "A fearful man, (...). A man with no hat, and with broken shoes, and with an old rag tied round his head... who limped, and shivered, and glared and growled; and whose teeth chattered in his head as he seized me by the chin." You can tell that that Pip is petrified of Magwitch due to his appearance and the way he conducts himself. This has an immense amount of impact on Pip as he still has nightmares regarding the convict, which frightens him. However this image of Magwitch is shown in a different light as we advance in to the novel. Pip is courteous and kind to him, as a result he decides to make Pip a 'gentleman of great expectations.' ...read more.


This being the reason that Dickens had empathy for children and had experienced as a child on what their feelings and thoughts were. My personal view of Great Expectations and why it is still such an important book is it reflects the organization of today's society and why there is such a huge status gap between the rich and the poor. It also relates to how Pip has to struggle in life as a child, and how much torment and abuse he has to face all through his life. This reflects the life of many children today who face abuse and neglect from their families and relatives, or that when a child is kidnapped, they are physically and mentally harmed whilst being abandoned, away from the rest of the world alone and isolated My reaction to this novel was that it was extremely emotional and had a powerful story to it, which had the readers engaged in every moment of the novel. I found that the story which was based on Pip had a huge impact on me, and I got involved and anxious to know what happened next. The emotions and the way that Pip was treated, had been emphasised in the novel to a great extent, so that the audience felt truly apprehensive and sympathetic towards Pip. I think that this novel has been very successful in attaining the support of the audience. Charles Dickens's novel Great Expectations represents the heart breaking accounts and feelings of many unfortunate children. All the more reason for the work of Charles Dickens to be appreciated and praised through out society. ?? ?? ?? ?? Aliyah Shaikh Year 11 Hampstead School ...read more.

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