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

    Magwitch is a person who Pip is intimidated by in the early chapters of the novel even though he eventually becomes friends with him. Although at first Pip is afraid of his grotesque appearance, he later decides to bring him food and a file out of sympathy.

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

    In chapter 54, we see Pip try and help Magwitch escape the country and the death that awaits him if he is caught. However, the police catch them, but in another twist of events, Compeyson is on the boat that apprehends Magwitch.

  1. Great Expectations; Is Magwitch a criminal or a victim of society?

    of society that he feels that the only way he can achieve justice is to take matters into his own hands. Dickens uses this opportunity to state his anger at a justice system which is unfair," I saw two-and-thirty men and women put before the judge to receive that sentence

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

    Dickens uses a long sentence to describe the convict. " A man who had been soaked in water and smothered in mud and lamed by stones, and cut by flints, and stung by nettles and torn by briars, who limped and shivered and glared and growled; and who's teeth chattered in his head as he seized me by the chin."

  1. Great Expectations - Why is Magwitch an Important Character in the novel?

    Pip shows consideration towards Magwitch as he and Herbet make an attempt to liberate the convict. "If all goes well; said I, 'you will be perfectly free and safe again'". This is said by Pip talking to Magwitch, it shows how they both seem to talk to each other more affectionately.

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

    were no laws to protect them and let them go to school as there are today. Some orphans and homeless children were sold to employers as chimney sweepers. However children from wealthier families did have the chance to get a proper education.

  1. "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.

  2. 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",

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