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How Charles Dickens builds up Sympathy for Pip at the start of the novel 'Great Expectations' through the use of first person narration, the setting and his encounter with Magwhich.

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Introduction

Katerina Antoni Great Expectations Charles Dickens builds up Sympathy for Pip at the start of the novel 'Great Expectations' through the use of first person narration, the setting and his encounter with Magwhich. Pip is presented as a vulnerable child in a threatening environment. The reader identifies with Pip in his role as victim when the convict begins his unprovoked attack on the young child. Dickens use of first person narration immediately involves the reader by connecting them to the central character that 'came to be called Pip'. Dickens manipulates his readers by projecting the depressing and often violent story through the eyes of an innocent child. The reader is introduced to Pip in the first line of the book where the child is sitting in a graveyard. In a melancholy sentence the child reveals that he never saw his mother or father and therefore 'never saw any likeness to either of them'. It is from here that we grasp of Pip's tragic situation, an orphan sitting amongst the five graves of his siblings. ...read more.

Middle

It is from here that the reader decides that they care about what happens to Pip because Pip is a personified emotion that they possess. We are first introduced to the violent Magwhich through his shouting in a 'terrible voice' for Pip to 'hold his noise. The 'fearful man' is described as being 'all in course grey' with a 'great iron on his leg'. This prepares the audience for what is about to happen and the tension slowly builds. Dickens makes a point of describing that Magwhich has been 'soaked', 'smothered', 'lamed', 'cut' 'stung', 'torn' and although these words describe his physical appearance they make a mark on his personality and of what the reader should expect form him. Magwhich is an extreme contrast from Pip's clean-cut innocence and the two characters almost balance each other out, so even in the beginning of the book the reader can tell that these two characters are part of a wider spectrum. Magwhich is also described as a man, who 'limped', 'shivered', 'glared' and 'growled'. ...read more.

Conclusion

Pip 'pleaded in terror' whilst Magwhich merely 'said' indicates Pip's fear and establishes the power Magwhich has and will have over Pip. Dickens ends the first chapter with the central character running home without stopping. He creates a tension so vivid it makes the reader question the plot, feeling eager to find out more. By this time the reader feels protective of Pip, they feel connected to him and almost want to mother him because he possesses a tiny bit of themselves, whether it be youth or life or hope. Pip is the unlikely hero but because of his naivety, people cannot dislike him. No one can dislike a person who doesn't mean harm and for this reason readers like Pip. The end of chapter one leaves readers on a cliffhanger, it leaves them wondering what will happen if Pip goes back to see Magwhich or if he tells his family about his encounter. Either way it tells us that from the beginning Pip cannot be loyal to his own interests and to his family and that he must decide which is more important to him. ...read more.

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