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Great Expectations

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What Techniques does Dickens use in Great Expectations to gain and sustain his readers attention and interest, and how effective do you find these techniques? Illustrate your answer using examples from the text? Although Great Expectations was written some 150 years ago it is still being read even today. Dickens grabs the readers attention from the very start and manages to sustain it throughout the book by using a variety of techniques which I am going to explore in more depth. The chapter begins with the introduction of Pip and saying how his name came to be. 'My Fathers family name being Pirrip and my Christian name being Philip' this gives the reader an impression that Pip is you're genuinely average person and the main character will most probably be Pip as he is introduced very sharply in the opening paragraph. Dickens characterises Pip and his tone of voice as learned and precise and uses formal vocabulary which may suggest he has had a good upbringing and his family are strong on manners and respect. Pip then begins to tell the reader that he never knew his parents and has never even seen them in photos let alone real life 'I never saw my Father or my Mother, and never saw and likeness of either of them' Although he had never seen his Mother or Father humour and pathos combine in Pips explanation of how ...read more.


'My name is Jaggers'. The reader would feel by reading this that he is a hard, stern man with little emotion and that he has a jagged personality. 'Mr Wopsle, the clerk at the church' This is a very funny name and Dickens is trying to amuse the reader as the name isn't very common. 'Uncle Pumblechock' This is also a very funny name and suggests he may be an arrogant person with a posh, pompous personality. Dickens mixes humour with seriousness consistently throughout the course of the book and balances this just right to keep the reader wanting to keep going on and read more. He does this throughout the description of Mrs. Joe and forces the reader into creating their own image of her by saying things which offer little help in knowing what she may look like 'Not good looking'. This is brief but it is backed up by an in-depth description of her personality which may help the reader complete the 'jigsaw' in terms of Miss Joe's appearance. He tells us. 'She must have made Joe marry her' and 'had established a great reputation.. Because she had bought me up by hand'. This gives the reader a clear idea of Mrs Joes personality as from those two phrases the reader can gather that she is a very strict, temperamental and bossy woman. ...read more.


He stopped in his looking at me, and slowly rubbed his right hand over his head.... He sat down on a chair that stood by the fire, and covered his forehead with his large brown veinous hands'. Towards the end of the book Dickens does the opposite and uses an acceleration of pace. 'They had pulled one sudden stroke ahead, had got their oars in, had a run thwart us, and were holding on to out gunwale, before we knew what they were doing. This shows Pip as being excited as he is rushing what he is saying as he is not describing anything in detail and can't to say what happened. Another very good technique that dickens uses in Great Expectations is Dickens's larger than life characters that have been exaggerated to make the story come alive and more believable. A good example is Miss Havisham, as she is regularly described by Pip as "some ghastly waxwork from the fair" and having" dark eyes". She is also described as a "skeleton", and someone who had "shrunk to skin and bone" and having clothes that were faded and lost their brightness. This makes the reader perceive her as a very evil and dead person. As I can see from his wide range of techniques that are used to great effect Dickens is able to gain and sustain the readers interest from the very start and keeping it going right through to the end of the book which makes Great Expectations so well renowned even today. ...read more.

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