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great expectations

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Introduction

How does Charles Dickens create tension in chapter 1 of Great Expectations? Coursework in controlled condition In order to find out how Dickens created tension in chapter 1 of Great Expectation, it is necessary to know why he had to keep the tension present through out the chapter in the first place. Like most of his other stories, Great Expectations was published in serials. It was important for Dickens to leave some anticipation in the end of each chapter so that the reader would buy the next edition of the magazine. Born in 1812; Dickens family was constantly in financial trouble. In fact, Dickens's father spent time in a Debtor's prison when Charles was twelve years old. During that time, he had to work in a Blacking warehouse. It was a traumatic experience he had truly hated. It was clear that his unhappy childhood affected his writing, many of Dickens's work dealt with the injustice children experienced. In Victorian Britain, children of the poor were treated badly. Orphans were very common and the streets of London were filled with them. A few got jobs like chimney sweeping, the work was dirty and dangerous. their employers were also constatly abusing and exploiting them. ...read more.

Middle

The fact that Magwitch was a convict was made clear by the "great iron" on his leg. The reader now has a very good reason to be afraid. The tension is growing because we are now scared for Pip. Dickens described events in a broad ways to begin with. The first three paragraphs were descriptions, nothing really happened in these first few paragraphs. Gradually as we learn more about a character and his capabilities, we begin to expect an event, or guess what might happen. In Magwitch's case, when he said "keep still, you little devil, or I'll cut your throat" we now know that Magwitch will scare Pip into obedience. They were in a graveyard, which was a symbol of death. Magwitch's fearfulness is inflated because he is seen through Pip's eyes. Because the reader sees all of this through the eyes of a child, the descriptions of Magwitch is exaggerated since Pip had a limited of the world in general. Because a child sees things differently as they have known fewer people, each person they meet is scrutinized according to their short pasts. A child's world is much smaller. Because Pip was used to doing what he was told, He had agreed to help Magwitch because he was unaware of the dangers. ...read more.

Conclusion

Structurally, writers often use simple short sentences when building up to a climax, often with one or two word sentences, although this is not the case here. In the first physical description of Magwitch Dickens divided a sentence into little bits. "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 whose teeth chattered in his head ..." This has a similar effect as to using very short sentences to create tension. The word "and" was used nine times in this sentence. The reason Dickens didn't use any other conjunction as it would make the sentence more flowing and therefore losing the intended effect. Tension is also felt in the detail. It's the small things that would not normally be noticed or commented on that the reader is forced to notice. In the quote above, we are flooded with descriptions of Magwitch. The tension created in the first chapter of Dickens's Great expectations relies on the reader's sympathy for Pip and the frightfulness of Magwitch. The chapter's gloomy setting also obviously creates apprehension. Although there are times when the readers are almost comfortable, Dickens always leaves seeds of anxiety lingering. Overall, Dickens maintains the tension by never letting the readers feel completely sure on what's happening next. ...read more.

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