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Great Expectations

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How effective is the opening chapter of 'Great Expectations? The opening chapter of Great Expectations describes the encounter between the two protagonists, the young boy Pip and convict Magwitch. The author of Great Expectations Charles John Huffam Dickens was one of the greatest writers in the country he was born on the 7th of February, 1812 at 1 Mile End Terr, Portsmouth, England. From 1817 Dickens lived with his family in Chatham, Kent. He considered his years in Chatham as the happiest of his childhood and many scenes in his books stem from his early years there. His books are a sustained commentary on human nature and society. These opening pages demonstrate all his qualities as a great writer, revealing his skills in all the areas of writing great novels. The success of the opening chapter must depend to a large extent on the way he portrays the character, Pip. As both narrator and protagonist, Pip is naturally the most important character in Great Expectations. He was christened Phillip Pirrip, but as he is unable to pronounce his first name or his last, trying his best he called himself Pip and the name stuck throughout his childhood. ...read more.


This shows he wants to strike fear into Pip. But, Magwitch also shows fear, he is worried that he might get caught again when he asks Pip where his mother is and Pip points in a direction 'he started made a short run, and stopped." This shows he did not want to be found out and tried to get away. When he says he will cut Pips throat he is yet to find out whether Pip is a threat and could cause danger to him. Nearing the end of the passage Magwitch discovers Pip is no harm to him, He knows that Pip can help him and will do what he is told to do as he is scared of Magwitch. Magwitch becomes less aggressive towards Pip Physically but he scares him mentally telling him stories of another man more terrifying and horrific than him. As the passage goes on we change our opinions of Magwitch. At the start of the passage we feel that Magwitch is an evil Character and we feel sympathy towards Pip. But as we read more we find similarities between the two characters between the two characters and begin to like them both. ...read more.


Finally, one should recognise the writer's skill in his use of language when considering the achievements of the first chapter. They way dickens uses clever words to describe characters and objects, such as 'course' this describes Magwitch's clothing as well as his rough appearance and personality. Pip's name is also cleverly used by Dickens as a Pip is like a seed that grows into something big and over the years of his life Pip will grow and learn more. Dickens has created Magwitch so he has a problem with pronouncing all his letter the way he says 'vittles' instead of whittles this is his like his only weakness. The language the writer uses create very good descriptions and help us to under standing the characters and setting a lot more easily. Dickens has cleverly used the words he does to create a clearer image of the way the story is going to plan out, but still he hides the complete truth and this makes the reader want to read on. One must surely conclude that the opening is an extremely effective piece of writing. Using clever language, great character and setting descriptions Dickens has really managed to bring the first chapter alive and make the reader want to read on and find out what become of Pip and Magwitch. ...read more.

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