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'Great Expectations' - Charles Dickens.

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Introduction

'Great Expectations' - Charles Dickens 'Great Expectations' was written in the early 1860s by the famous writer Charles Dickens. At that time massive changes were taking place in the world. There were hugely rich people but lots of people who were living on the streets with no home, no job and no money. The rich people did not give the poor any support by paying taxes which is why there were vast numbers of people living in poverty. The novel is portrayed as an autobiography, through the eyes of Philip Pirrip, an orphan looking back at his life. The novel is 'written' by the adult Pip which is why, in parts Pip seems to be critical of himself. The fact that the novel is written in autobiographical form is linked to the moral purpose and reader appeal the novel has. I think Dickens wrote 'Great Expectations' in the first person in an autobiographical style so he could get Pip's feelings and views of the world across to the reader in the most efficient way possible. This is why everything in the novel seems so big to the reader - because it seen through the eyes of Pip who is so small. It also makes it more realistic so the reader will feel like they are really there, in the story. ...read more.

Middle

Pip is a symbolic name as pips are small and vulnerable but will grow and flourish if nurtured and cared for. However, as the next paragraph reveals, Pip has not had as much love and attention as he needed because he is an orphan. The idea that Pip has derived an impression of his Mother and Father from their tombstones will immediately make the reader feel sorry for him. I think that the shape of Pip's Father's tombstone has influenced Pip's image of his Father because Pip thinks he was a 'square, stout, dark man with curly black hair'. Tombstones are usually square and stout and the 'dark man with curly black hair' could be derived from the decoration of the stone. The tombstones seem dominating to Pip because he is so small and helpless and he seems lonely and sad. He also has an impression of his five brothers from their gravestones - he thinks ' they had all been born on their backs with their hands in their trousers pockets' and I think he has got this idea from his brothers' graves all lined up in a row, straight and flat so that they wouldn't fidget. Pip thinks everyone is 'dead and buried' which emphasises even more how alone in the world he is. ...read more.

Conclusion

Magwitch threatens Pip he will rip his heart and liver out unless he brings him a file and some wittles, which makes Pip the most scared that he had ever been in his entire life. This is very violent language and, as this novel was originally published in installments in the newspaper, it will make the reader want to know more about Magwitch and Pip and why Magwitch is so aggressive so they would want to read more. This, of course, would sell more newspapers and, if the instalments were eventually made into a book, people would go out and buy it. Throughout the novel Dickens is ambivalent and he has great sympathy for people like Pip and Magwitch. If Dickens was not treated correctly as a child then this might explain why the novel seems so realistic, if it was written from his own experiences. To conclude, I think Dickens presents the characters of Pip and Magwitch and the setting very cleverly as it is through the eyes of the main character which makes everything seem more believable. He uses language skilfully to make the reader aware of what is going on and make them feel they are actually there, watching Pip and the other characters as they make their way through the plot of the novel. Overall I think Dickens uses the characters and setting to very good effect in this opening chapter. Hannah Hardwick VL VEC 'Great Expectations' - Assignment One (Chapter One) ...read more.

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