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Great Expectations Assignment - Assess the significance of chapter one.

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Great Expectations Assignment Assess the significance of chapter one of the novel in terms of a) Making the reader aware that this is an adventure story b) Preparing us for the way in which Pips relationship with Magwitch will be important for the formation of his character Charles Dickens's "Great Expectations" tells the story of a young orphan boy called Pip, who is desperate to become a gentleman. He is then able to live his dream when an anonymous benefactor pays for him to live in London. In the first chapter Charles Dickens makes the reader aware that this is an adventure story by powerfully and effectively describing the setting, which makes it easy to imagine. He uses the phases "raw afternoon" and "bleak place overgrown with nettles", along with his description of the dark marshes, to show that this is an unpleasant place. Dickens then writes about a "savage lair" that is the sea, which gives the reader a clue that a monster is about to pounce, as Abel Magwitch then does. The spooky wilderness around the churchyard may have been used to reflect Magwitchs savage appearance. The first chapter leaves the reader wanting to know more about the characters pasts, presents and futures. ...read more.


Pip is understandably scared of Magwitch, who makes many threats towards him, but he also feels sorry for Magwitch, and Dickens doesn't make it clear whether it is his fear or sympathy which makes him go back and help. In the next two meetings Pip and Magwitchs relationship strengthens greatly. Magwitch does not turn Pip upside down to get food, but leaves him to take it out of his pockets, unlike in their first meeting. While Magwitch is eating Pip says "I think you have got the ague" and "You've been lying out on the meshes, and they're dreadful aguish. Rheumatic, too" which shows that he is concerned about his health. When Pip tells Magwitch that he has told no one about him, Magwitch believes him. Then before Pip leaves him he says "I was glad you enjoyed it" and Magwitch replies with "Thankee, my boy. I do". We can take this as a genuine exchange which shows they care about each other. When Magwitch is caught by the soldiers Pip thinks of him as "my convict", and Magwitch gives Pip a look which he couldn't understand. When they arrive at the soldiers hut Magwitch begins to repay Pips kindness by telling the sergeant that he stole the food and file from the blacksmiths. ...read more.


As Magwitch nears death he feels comfort in the fact the Pip will still be able to live his rich life, as Pip hasn't the heart to tell him that all his money will be given to the Crown. This shows that they are still both trying to care for each other. Pip then says "I will be as true to you, as you have been to me" and tells Magwitch how he is never late to visit him, as he stands and waits outside the gates. Magwitch thanks him for never deserting him and Pip sits in an embarrassed silence as he remembers how he once meant to leave him. Pip asks Magwitch if he is in pain and Magwitch replies "I don't complain of none, dear boy". These are Magwitchs last words. Pip takes his hand and tells him of his love for his "very beautiful" daughter, Estella, and Magwitch acknowledges this by kissing Pips hand. Magwitch then quietly passes away and Pip recites Magwitchs chosen words "O Lord, be merciful to him, a sinner". This shows that Pip understands Magwitchs crimes, but as the bond is so strong between them, like a father and son, that he still feels for him. ...read more.

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