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Great Expectations

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Great Expectations - Opening Chapter In this essay I will be describing how effective the opening chapter of Great Expectations is. The novel, Great Expectations is centred on the life of a young orphan boy called Pip who was fortunate enough to be raised by his older sister. The young boy has grown up through his life without ever meeting or knowing whom his parents. Unknown to him he was soon to have a strange encounter with an escaped convict called Magwitch. The novel continues all the way up through Pip's life, telling us about his journey to becoming a gentleman and all the experiences he has faced from living with a black smith and his wife to becoming rich and wealthy. The novel was written by Charles Dickens, born February 7th 1812 in Landport, Portsea. Dickens based the way Pip thought and saw the world as he did himself and based Pip's childhood around his own making the novel semi autobiographical. By making this novel semi autobiographical it helped to make it more effective as it is a reflection of Dickens's view of the Victorian world and the issue of what happened to the young orphan children of that period. Dickens starts the opening chapter by talking as Pip, in the third person, telling the story from Pip's point of view and telling the audience what had happened to him when he was younger. ...read more.


It is important Dickens puts us in Pip's shoes so we are then more able to understand more about him. When Pip first meets Magwitch Pip is very scared but still manages to use his manners well and speak politely to him. The way Pip was brought up by his sister now reflects on the way he is with Magwitch in the graveyard even though he is under threat. The setting of the graveyard reflects on Magwitch's character. Magwitch is described a dark scary character as he is an evil man who has escaped from prison and on the run, using the churchyard where Pip stands as a hiding place. Magwitch is very aggressive towards Pip and threatens that he will cut his throat if he isn't quiet. This then makes Pip feel very intimidated and frightened; we know this from Pip's response which although is coming from a frightened boy is very pleasant and well mannered, 'O! Don't cut my throat, sir' 'Pray don't do it, sir' Magwitch then asks Pip for some 'wittles' to eat and a 'file' so he is able to take the chains that are attached to his feet off. When Pip arrives the next evening with the things for the convict, Magwitch's whole attitude soon changes from a threatening, scary character, to a thankful yet still tough character. Magwitch's character is threatening and nasty so this makes the audience dislike him and feel no sympathy for him, which is a complete contrast onto how we are meant to feel for the young orphan boy Pip. ...read more.


will later change his life but at the same time we wonder how the convicts encounter with the orphan who could have possible saved his life changed his thoughts on the world. It makes the read wonder weather the two will later meet again in the story and what effects it will have. Overall the first chapter of the novel is able to hook the reader with its description of the characters and the way Dickens sets the setting, by creating the kind of atmosphere that he does the reader is interested to find out why, on Christmas Eve, the young orphan wonders alone to have such an ordeal with such an animal like man, who will later change Pip's life, forever. It is evident that the opening of 'Great Expectations' is an extremely effective piece of writing and a thrilling and compelling story. By the end of the opening you can clearly see that Pip is no longer scared of Magwitch and the young, na�ve Pip that there was in the very beginning is starting to grow just like the title 'Great Expectations' suggests. I conclude that by the language Dickens has used to create two realistic and believable characters, and by the way he makes the setting stand off the page that 'Great Expectations' can only get better. And as the title suggests we can only come to expect great things from that 'small bundle of shivers' Pip. ?? ?? ?? ?? Holly Christopher 11B ...read more.

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