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great expectations, opening paragraph question

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Introduction

Great Expectations Charles Dickens wrote great Expectations in December 1860. It was originally published in serial form in a magazine. The story is set around 1812 and is about an orphan, Pip, tracing his life from early childhood until adulthood. Charles Dickens was brought up in poverty and in his times if you didn't have much money life could be cruel and you could end up in debtors prison or the poor house working in terrible conditions. Dickens uses his own experience to reflect detailed accounts of wealthy middle class people to the poverty stricken working class families. Great Expectations is a story about love and personal development. It is also a constant learning process for Pip as well as the audience. In Great Expectations, Charles Dickens uses a range of techniques to put us into Pips perspective. Throughout the story Dickens uses the first person point of view so that you know Pip is narrating. This is effective in making us see things from Pip's point of view, and helps us understand his emotions, and how he is feeling. We can tell that Pip is older and looking back on past events because he uses sophisticated vocabulary, which we would usually associate with an adult, such as 'explicit' and 'my infant tongue'. ...read more.

Middle

The convict is the other important character introduced in the first chapter. He is introduced quite dramatically and gives the story excitement and edge. He is first described as "A fearful man, all in coarse grey with a great iron on his leg." this makes him sound quite frightening but Dickens then goes on to say "A man who had been soaked in water, and smothered in mud, and lamed by stones, and cut by flints, and stung by nettles..." this list of suffering of the convict makes us feel sorry for him and the repetition Dickens uses here also adds effect. The convict uses rough language different to Pip's young and innocent vocabulary. This helps to give us an idea of what sort of man he is and the difference between their lives. When the convict tips Pip upside down and makes threats we are reminded of his danger but when he asks where Pip's mother is and Pip points towards the gravestone he makes a short run before he realises that Pip's mother is dead. This shows the convict is quite afraid and vulnerable himself. This part of the chapter not only makes us feel sympathetic towards both Pip and the convict but also is infused with humour, which captures the reader's interest. ...read more.

Conclusion

When Pip is first approached by the convict he calls him 'sir' although he is not a gentlemen and is not respectable. I think this also shows Pip's confusion about identity. Later in the story Pip is referred to as sir but he is not a nice person either. This shows that at that time people were separated by class and those who had more money were thought to be of a higher class. The convict also introduces the theme of crime and punishment to the story. I think this also part of the identity theme as throughout the story our views on the convict change. Also the theme of power and powerlessness is hinted at. In conclusion I think the opening chapter was an effective introduction to the rest of the novel. Dickens careful use of characterisation and language adds humour to the story and his descriptive passages provide a vivid image for the reader to add suspense and tension. The themes and characters are well thought out and the plot is always moving forward. By using first person it feels as if Pip is talking to the reader, which makes the reader feel involved and intrigued as to what is going to happen next. The opening chapter is really good and gives a good impression as to what the rest of the book will be like. ?? ?? ?? ?? Jasmin Hill ...read more.

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