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Great Expectations

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Introduction

Essay title: Having read 'Great expectations' how effective is the opening chapter? Discuss the methods Dickens used to ensure his readers' continuing interest. In this essay I will be focusing on the novel, 'Great Expectations.' Charles Dickens was a 19th century writer which affects his writing and language used within the novel. He has also written many other famous books such as "Oliver Twist", "The Christmas carols", and "David Copperfield". The novel, 'Great Expectations' is set in London in the 19th century. It is about a young boy called Pip, ambitious to become a gentleman; He starts off as a na�ve, innocent, young boy growing up in a working class family who is then tainted by wealth, desire and pride. He develops his working class status to grow on to a higher class status, however he finds out human values are much more important than pride and wealth. In order to entice the reader to the rest of the novel Charles Dickens employs a variety of techniques and narrative hooks in the opening chapter. Within the opening chapter Charles Dickens exploits engaging characters such as Pip goes on to the outside world where he meets Magwitch, in which he learns that the world was not as simple as he assumed it to be. Charles also uses dramatic action and mysterious setting in the first chapter to hook the reader to the rest of the novel. The use of pathetic fallacy is also developed in the first chapter, where Charles uses the presentation of nature possessing human qualities. The theme of crime, childhood, and class is explored throughout the novel largely through the characters. In the novel, Philip Pirrip or Pip is the protagonist who expects great things from life. Great Expectations is told by Pip in his own semi-autobiographic voice, tracing his life from his early days of childhood until adulthood. Pip is introduced in the opening chapter, he is in a graveyard, the quote which makes this noticeable is "a bleak place ...read more.

Middle

The reader already has a subtle impression of Miss. Havisham from the last part of her name "sham" this means to trick people. Her character is not exactly believable to the readers. Miss. Havisham is very vengeful, ever since that day she found out Compeyson had betrayed her as he did not turn up to their wedding. Estella, Miss. Havisham's adopted daughter, Estella belittles Pip and looks down on him as she thinks Pip is a hoi-polloi. Estella is condescending towards Pip making him believe he is nothing, "'He calls the knaves, Jacks, this boy!' said Estella with disdain, before our first game was out 'And what coarse hands he has! And what thick boots!' " This gives Pip a very negative view on his own class, Pip takes these comments to heart; perhaps if Mrs. Joe had not been so cruel to him then he would have ignored Estella. If he did not listen to Estella, he might not have been so ashamed of himself and possibly not have wanted to go to London and ruined his life. When walking back to his home, Pip begins to feel ashamed of his life. His mind is filled with regretful thoughts such as "that I was a common labouring-boy; that my hands were coarse; that my boots were thick; and generally that I was in a low-lived bad way". Pip realizes that his personality and perception on his life is changing as he states, "That was a memorable day to me, for it made great changes in me." Estella is aware of her actions but makes the mistake of thinking that she cannot be hurt by such a destructive way of life. However, later on in the novel after her experiences with Drummle and the passing of time makes her realise what she lost when she rejected Pip's love. The opening chapter is in the desolate setting of a marshy graveyard. ...read more.

Conclusion

Here, the example of Miss Havisham being the opposite of what we had deemed her to be shows that people shouldn't be judged just by the amount of money they have. Dickens also explains this through Herbert Pocket, where he says, "No man who was not a true gentlemen at heart, ever was since the world began" this is a very significant quote as it directly enlightens the reader on the message Dickens was trying to present to us from the beginning of the novel. In conclusion, I believe that Chapter one of Great Expectations a perfect opening. The tense atmosphere, which arises from the bleak landscape and the appearance of a desperate convict, grips the reader's attention completely. The readers raise a lot of questions by the end of the opening chapter, with no answers given. What happened to Pips Parents and Brothers? Who is this strange man? Would Pip return the next morning? If so would the stranger hurt him? Would Pip get found out about stealing the food? The readers will only find the answers by reading on. Therefore I think this chapter is very successful as an opening. Dickens also uses a range of techniques within the first chapter to entice the reader to the rest of the novel, such as; characterisation, use of humour and suspense. The introduction to the main character drives the plot forward. In general I think the novel shows a disillusioned approach to society in which all of "great expectations" become false. I think this is because Dickens thinks that society is disillusioned and that great expectations for him personally have never become true. When Pip finally understands that wealth and class are less important than affection, loyalty and inner worth, despite the love for Estella that he holds, he realizes that one's social status is definitely not related to their real character. Dickens's passes this message with character such as Drummle, who is an upper class vandal, while Magwitch the convict has a deep inner worth. ?? ?? ?? ?? Zubaida Begum 10G2 ...read more.

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