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How does Charles Dickens create atmosphere and suspense in the opening paragraph of Great Expectations?

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Great Expectations How does Charles Dickens create atmosphere and suspense in the opening paragraph of Great Expectations? Introduction: After reading the novel great expectations by Charles Dickens, I will be looking closely at the atmosphere and suspense created in the opening chapter. The novel was written by Charles Dickens in 1860 as a tragi-comedy to appeal to readers who liked to laugh, liked romance and liked mystery. The opening chapter of a novel is very important as it sets the scene in ways of where the story is set, it introduces us to characters and their personalities, gives us as readers any background information about the characters which may be relevant and also needs to get the readers attention to make them want to read on. The opening chapter of great expectations is full of atmosphere in the way that we are introduced to pip as a lonely boy, quite isolated who is at the overgrown churchyard to visit his father, mother and younger brothers who have all passed away before pip was old enough to understand what they were like and even who they were. Dickens uses a wide range of vocabulary to describe the scenery creating the lonely atmosphere of Pip being isolated surrounded with nature such as grass, fences, cattle, tombstones and they sky. ...read more.


Dickens sets the scene and the isolated atmosphere by use of a wide range of vocabulary and literacy techniques. "Ours was the marsh country, down the river, within, as the river wound, twenty miles off the sea" sets the atmosphere of distance and isolation and is also symbolic of Pips expanding horizons. "Bleak place overgrown with nettles was the churchyard" also contributes to the atmosphere of isolation within the surrounding of grass weeds and animals. During describing the atmosphere, Dickens uses personification in "wind was rushing" and metaphors in "small bundle of shivers growing afraid..." as a build up to the suspense when the convict appears. Pip's character is introduced into the novel firstly by stating where the name Pip came from and continues to explain that his mother, Farther and younger brothers have previously died, leaving Pip living with his older sister Mrs. Joe Gargery and her husband. Pips name is significant as the reader associates him with a pip (small, frail and weak) and is also associated with growth and development in regards to pips childhood and upbringing. Pips family situation is also significant and helps with suspense as Pip is seen by the reader as a small child who is isolated and has the reader's sympathy which creates the build up of suspense when the convict appears due to the reader's sympathy. ...read more.


In the final description of the marshes at the end of the chapter there is a build up of suspense created by the way that Pip is agitated and just wants to get away leaving the reader with suspense of what is going to happen and questions of "will he get home safely"? The reader is able to see that Pip is terrified in the way that he is paranoid and keeps looking around and looking over his shoulders and the scenery is all described as just horizontal lines. This creates suspense as the reader is given the impression that Pip just can't get home fast enough. Conclusion: Throughout the opening chapter, several questions are raised in the reader's mind such has "how does Pip feel about family circumstances", "What is pips life at home with his sister like" however the most important questions which are raised through the use of suspense are "who is the convict and what does he want from Pip" and "Will Pip be safe or will he come into any harm or even be killed". Both of these questions are narrative hooks and create suspense for the reader to want to read on to find the answers. Overall I feel that Dickens's use of suspense is very successful in the way that it send a lot of questions to the readers minds and really does make the reader want to read on to get their questions answered. ?? ?? ?? ?? John Timmins ...read more.

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