• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

great expectations

Extracts from this document...


16th November 2006 How effective is the opening chapter of 'Great Expectations'? The novel 'Great Expectations' was written by the much admired Charles Dickens. It was firstly written in a weekly series for a magazine and finally published into book form in 1861. Dickens' childhood influenced his writing to a great extent. At a very young age his father was imprisoned for failure to pay debts. This meant that Charles was sent to work in a blacking factory, living his life in poverty and adversity. Dickens had much compassion for the lower classes, especially children and this is shown in many of his books. In the first chapter of 'Great Expectations' we see Dickens' childhood reflected into the main character of his novel, Pip. The story begins with Pip in a graveyard when a convict approaches him. To make a successful opening it must immediately grab the readers' attention and make them want to read on by using a narrative hook. Dickens has done this skilfully by using certain aspects such as language and vivid characters to make it effective. Pip is firstly introduced into 'Great Expectations' when in a graveyard visiting the grave stones of his parents and five brothers. Even though the reader does not know much about Pip at this point, they are made to feel sympathetic towards him as he has lost the majority of his family. ...read more.


Another point which makes the reader believe he is an escaped convict is when he turns Pip upside-down to see if he has any food. This may be considered as stealing and it is something that a criminal would do. It also resembles the way in which Magwitch has turned Pip's life upside-down although he may not know this at this point. Additionally, it says that Magwitch eats the bread (found in Pip's pockets) 'ravenously' which also implies that he may be hungry again suggesting he may be on the run. Magwitch speaks in non-standard English for example, 'Or a eel!' This creates the impression that he may not have been educated. and it contrasts with the way Pip is speaking. Magwitch's speech is written phonetically. Dickens has done this to show his accent and his class position in society. This additionally shows that he may not have been well educated. Throughout the chapter Magwitch appears to be a terrifying character. From the moment he is first introduced into the novel, he is very aggressive towards Pip. We first see him threatening Pip when he says, 'Keep still you little devil, or I'll cut your throat!' Dickens has done this early in the chapter so that the reader will know he is going to be intimidating throughout. Magwitch uses lots of imperatives when speaking to Pip. ...read more.


Alliteration is used to slow down the pace of the novel, 'Low leaden line'. This contrasts with the shorter, faster sentences, helping to create fear and panic in the reader for instance, 'Hold Your Noise!' Pip's name has been cleverly selected as it suggests something that starts off small and progresses into something very big and successful. Use of the third person, 'The small bundle of shivers growing afraid of it all and beginning to cry, was Pip,' helps to show that Pip is now older again and is telling the story retrospectively. Certain aspects of the language help us to identify the personality of the characters. For example, the polite language Pip uses makes reader think that he is a kind, young boy. On the other hand, Magwitch is quite the opposite. In conclusion, I believe the opening chapter of the novel is very effective . It makes the reader able to feel as though they are a part of the story by using several different techniques such as descriptive settings and unique language. His characters are very memorable and he uses interesting language keeping the reader interested in the story and to understand the feelings and thoughts of the two protagonists . Finally, to conclude the opening chapter he uses a narrative hook leaving the reader feeling tense and wondering what will happen next, making them want to read on ?? ?? ?? ?? Centre No. 34369 Emma Barrow 10M ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Great Expectations section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Great Expectations essays

  1. 'Is Magwitch a criminal or victim of society?'

    Magwitch however had no idea about Compeyson using him. This could tell us that Magwitch is somehow still quite naive. When Magwitch and Compeyson are at trial, Magwitch receives a higher punishment than Compeyson, because Compeyson appears to be more of a gentleman.

  2. Great Expectations Role of Magwitch

    "I hope to hear you say so, my dear boy." By the use of ' my dear boy', this makes the reader aware that Magwitch now considers Pip as though he is his son as he has helped him so much.

  1. Charles Dickens's writing techniques in Great Expectations.

    Pip and Herbert first met at Miss Havisham's house, where Herbert launches into a fist fight with the unwilling but stronger Pip. When Pip arrives in London, he is surprised to discover that the person with whom he is staying is actually Herbert, "the pale young gentleman."

  2. How does Dickens create an effective opening chapter in Great expectations?

    making the reader wonder if he has an important part to play later in the story, which he does. Dickens uses sentence structures to show distance "ours was the marsh country, down by the river, with as the river wound twenty miles from the sea" This creates an instant impression that his home is very far away.

  1. explore the importance of Magwitch in the story of 'Great Expectations'

    Pip is always afraid of the consequences and not in seeing that he has done something wrong. This leads him to become more selfish and he has not learnt to appreciate human affection and love above his ideal perception of the world.

  2. "Great Expectations" is considered Dickens' finest novel. To what extent does it deserve this ...

    For example, he uses the mini-breaks to shift completely the focus of the story. For example, chapters 25-26 were one instalment and chapters 27-28 another. However the transition between them is not coherent and their subject matters are not related.

  1. Is Magwitch a criminal or a victim of society? In the ...

    This is the society in which Magwitch lives in. When Magwitch first appears to us we are led to believe he is a hardened criminal. He seems to have no conscience in the way he treats Pip for his own gain. The first thing Magwitch says to Pip is "keep still you little devil, or I'll cut your throat",

  2. "Is Magwitch a Criminal or a Victim of Society

    He has a 'dull sense of being alone', and the weather is fittingly ominous, leading Pip to believe himself to be in a 'storm beaten light house'. When Magwitch first appears, Pip does not recognise him, and soon resents this stranger and the 'bright and gratified recognition that shone in

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work