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Great Expectations- Explain the first scene

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Read the Opening Chapter of the Novel Great Expectations. Explain why this Chapter has such a Powerful Impact on the Reader. The opening chapter of Great Expectations is effective because Dickens uses a range of techniques in his writing that makes the reader want to find out what happens to Pip later on in the story. The chapter starts with a brief introduction, into how Pip got his name. The first paragraph uses short, simple sentences to hook the reader in and not using long, complicated sentences that will bore us. The paragraph uses a lot of repetition on the name "Pip". "Pip" is most likely to be a child's name and we can identify that this character is probably sweet and innocent. The sentence structure also reflects this, in how they are short, simple and catchy. The story then goes on to tell us about Pips family. The length of this second paragraph is a lot longer than the first. I think this is because the first paragraph is simply a concise introduction, so then the second paragraph goes into more detail and provides the reader with a lot more information. This extra information helps us to sympathize for Pip, as he has lost most of his family, leaving just his older sister "Mrs. Joe Gargery- wife of Joe Gargery, the blacksmith" to look after him. We also empathize with Pip as he has never seen his mother nor father, yet he has "drawn a childish conclusion" of what he thinks they might have looked like. ...read more.


Although Pip was clearly frightened by the convict he was still able to make a joke and use his vivid imagination to take his mind away from the graveyard. The old folk tale Little Red Riding Hood links in with this part of the story, because like in the folk tale with the Big Bad Wolf and Little Red Riding Hood, the convict is expressing his hunger by saying how big and lovely the poor, innocent Pips cheeks are, and how he could just eat them all up. In this next section we start to realise that Magwitch has no intentions of killing Pip, and after hearing Pip lives with his sister, who is married to a blacksmith, the convict realises that he must be very careful into not scaring the young boy too much or else he wont get him the file that he needs to break the ball and chain from his ankles, " 'Now lookee here... You know what a file is?...You know what wittles is...". The effect of Dickens using repetition of the phrase "He tilted me again.", is to let the reader know that the convict still has all the power over Pip. The trustiness and slight bravery in Pips behaviour perhaps indicates that he understands that Magwitch is not really such an ogre. The trust that Pip is showing is really slightly emotional, in the fact that Pip doesn't have a father there to protect him, but instead he realises that the convict only wants his help, that he wont hurt him, and although very frightened, maybe some of this fear is now ...read more.


The convict undoubtedly is all of these things as he is a man who likes to be in charge and independent. The lines also describe the vast landscape and how in a way it is all layered up, one thing on top of the other, and that its all laying flat, not standing out. "On the edge of the river... the only two black things in all the prospect that seemed to be standing upright." These two objects that Pip is able to perceive in the distance are a beacon by which the sailors steered and a gibbet, with some chains, that once held a pirate. The symbolic significance that they take on, is the fact that Pip saw the convict "limping on towards" them and limping could often be linked to pirates with wooden legs, this image uses a simile "as if he were the pirate come to life...", which makes the reader see the convict as a pirate. Also as he has come from the sea, this could also be linked in with the pirate image. These images suggest that the life that Pip is going to embark on, is going to be a mysterious and unexpected one. It also makes the reader wonder whether after Pip has returned to give the convict food and a file, will it be the last we see of Magwitch or will he return later on in the story. In conclusion, I think that Dickens has written this chapter brilliantly, to give such a powerful impact to the reader. It shows fear, humour and many other emotions which help make it such a success. ?? ?? ?? ?? Zo� Williams Great Expectations Coursework October '08 Page 1 of 5 ...read more.

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