• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

great expectations, opening paragraph question

Extracts from this document...


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.


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.


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.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Great Expectations section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Great Expectations essays

  1. Great Expectations - Theme of class

    "..my hands were coarse, and my boots were thick." Pip is now admitting these traits of himself and we see Pip is becoming more acquainted with his class, even though he is not happy with it.

  2. How does Charles Dickens create atmosphere and suspense in the opening paragraph of Great ...

    Dickens's views on many topics are reflected in his novels such as his views of justice and the law system that 'lawyers were a breed of men, feeding off misfortune of others' and his views of class and wealth that 'wealth was a corrupter of peoples characters' also reflected in the novel.

  1. Show how Dickens introduces the themes of crime, punishment and guilt in the early ...

    Pip says to Joe "I hope, Joe, we shan't find them." And Joe replies "I'd give a shilling if they had cut and run, Pip." When Pip and the convict make eye-contact Pip feels very guilty about his betrayal to the convict and shakes his head as if to say he didn't tell them.

  2. Compare the opening of two different film versions of the novel “Great Expectations”.

    It would mostly be used in long shots when it is difficult to see the persons face. When lighting is used in the background with no light on the person, it creates a silhouette. An example of this is the right at the beginning, when Pip is going to the graveyard.

  1. "Great Expectations opens unforgettably in a twilit and overgrown churchyard on the eerie Kent ...

    That shows that Pip looked down at himself in the past because he says he was NOT STRONG and UNDERSIZED. I believe that if Pip could go back, he would've liked to change the way he dealt with things. Pip is a character in the story as any other character; but he is the novel's narrative voice.

  2. Dickens uses Characterisation, imagery and language to ensure that the reader has great sympathy ...

    When Pip mentions rows, the reader feels as though he still has the memory of his brothers with him in everything that he does or sees. Dickens' portrayal of Magwitch makes the reader feel scared for the safety of Pip.

  1. Why is the opening chapter of Great Expectations so successful?

    Magwitch keeps showing signs of extreme violence, 'your heart and your liver shall be tore out, roasted and ate', Magwitch gives off an animalistic image. Magwitch invents a tale that he is not alone, and if Pip disobeys him then his companion will come and kill and eat him, 'a

  2. One of the focuses in Great Expectations is growing up. How does the older ...

    This can be viewed in his treatment of the convict at the very beginning of the novel. He fears the convict, as he has not been exposed to anything more shocking than his little working class town. He has an automatic repulsion against the criminal part of society and has

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work