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Great Expectations. Write about two incidents in Great Expectations, which display Dickens' ability to create atmosphere.

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Introduction

Great Expectations. Write about two incidents in Great Expectations, which display Dickens' ability to create atmosphere. The two incidents from Great Expectations I have chosen to write about are Pip's first meeting with the convict and Pip's first meeting with Miss Havisham. In the first of these incidents Dickens is successful in creating an atmosphere of fear tinged with a hint of humour. At the beginning of chapter one the mood is melancholy. Dickens is describing Pip as an orphan who has never seen his deceased parents and siblings. Humour is then introduced. Pip says that he thought he could learn what his parents looked like "from their tombstones". The script on the tombstone makes Pip imagine his father as a "square, stout, dark man, with curly black hair". He conjures up a picture of his mother as being "freckled and sickly". The shape of his little brother's graves is likened to lozenges. This forces Pip to believe his siblings were the same shape as their graves and "born on their backs with their hands in their trouser-pockets". ...read more.

Middle

This initially is read as funny and lightens the mood but on deeper thinking this sad statement makes the reader sympathetic towards Pip's identity crisis. On discovering Pip lives with a blacksmith; his brother in law Joe Gargery, Magwitch realises Pip could be of use. He forces Pip over a tombstone increasing the feeling of helplessness, whilst demanding tools to remove the leg iron. The tone becomes increasingly more threatening; Dickens describes the frightening criminal man handling Pip. Magwitch demands that Pip brings him food and a file or his equally more terrifying accomplice will seek Pip out and eat his heart and liver. Pip is so terrified he agrees to do as he has been asked. The scene closes with Pip running home leaving the reader pitying the small boy. In the second incident I have chosen there is an atmosphere of fear, bafflement and humiliation. Pip arrives at Miss Havisham's house already feeling dislocated and bewildered as he has just come from Pumblechook's shop. ...read more.

Conclusion

Everything seems old and lifeless. The reader is baffled further when we learn that all clocks in the room had "stopped at twenty minutes to nine". Time has stood still for Miss Havisham, which is very confusing and strange. Miss Havisham demands that Pip plays with Estella. The pretty girl again humiliates Pip by saying, "why he is a common labouring-boy" making Pip again question his identity. Pip again notices the "pale decayed objects" that were surrounding him. Everything is very surreal and quite frightening to Pip. Estella talks to Pip with "disdain" showing she feels she is better than him and Pip if embarrassed by this especially when she comments on how "he calls the knaves jacks" and how Pip has "coarse hands" and "thick boots". This left Pip feeling ashamed. Estella continues to insult Pip until he asks to go home. Once Pip leaves the room he begins to again doubt himself and sees his boots as "vulgar" and believes that everything Estella has said to be true. Dickens is so successful at creating atmosphere in this novel that you want to read further. Great Expectations - 8 - Elisabeth Dakers L5N - 1 - ...read more.

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