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

How does Charles Dickens engage and sustain the reader in the opening chapter of Great Expectations?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Victoria Babatunde Great Expectations by Charles Dickens How does Charles Dickens engage and sustain the reader in the opening chapter of great expectations? An effective opening for a story often uses a sense of mystery and suspense to engage the reader and maintain their interest. A good opening sentence makes the reader want to continue with the story. Dickens, like any good storyteller, begins with both. Dickens originally wrote the story for his magazine, 'All The Year Round', and boost his sales, so it was written in instalments. To sustain his readers' interest, Dickens wrote the end of each chapter as a cliff-hanger (much like the soap operas of today); by doing this, the readers of his magazine were inclined to buy the next issue. Dickens expertly varied the level of tension in the opening chapter of great expectations, which helps to sustain the readers' interest by keeping them entertained. He begins the story without tension as Pip (the older) introduces himself and begins to describe his childhood. ...read more.

Middle

The audience at the time it was written would know a man with no hat as dishonourable. Furthermore, having a great iron on his leg could indicate the chains of a convict. It also mentions that he is soaked in water, which leads the audience to consider how this man with no name came to be so. The audience is also led to believe that Magwitch is not an honourable man by his language and his poor grammar. For example, he says 'Pint out the place' and 'lookee here'. This gives the impression that he isn't a respectable person and contrast with Pip's polite and well mannered dialogue intrigues the reader. The appearance of Magwitch also increases the tension because he threatens Pip to attempt to make him do as he says. He says, '...Never dare to say a word or dare to make a sign concerning you having seen a person such as me'. This reinforces the idea that Magwitch may be an escaped convict, making him seem even more menacing to the audience. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, at this point Pip has the upper hand as he knows that Magwitch could be a criminal. He could easily go to the authorities and not bring him the things he wants. I believe that he sympathises with Magwitch's situation and senses that an adventure might be afoot for him if he comes back to Magwitch. When he sees Magwitch walking towards the gibbet and shivering, he appears vulnerable. The audience becomes aware that this man has nowhere to go, no warm clothes and no food. It becomes apparent that maybe he is not as evil as he first seems. Dickens cleverly draws his audience into the story by using a semantic field around death and bleakness and a sympathetic landscape. The scenery reflects how the main character, Pip, is feeling. By describing the setting as 'overgrown' the reader gets imagery of a desolate area. Somewhere un-kept with uncut grass and never visited (save perhaps, for Pip). By using two characters that are so different, Dickens creates a scene that appeals to all audiences. The sharp contrast grips the readers attention; and with his great storytelling, Dickens engages and sustains the readers attention throughout the opening chapter. ...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 Expectation by Charles Dickens. Opening, characters and chapter 5.

    But when Magwitch looks at Pip, he seems to experience feelings that have nothing to do with Pip's innocence or guilt, a look that Pip "did not understand" but which is the most "attentive" look Pip has ever received. This is an important moment of foreshadowing in the book, our

  2. How does Charles Dickens hook the reader into reading Great Expectations?

    In the 19th century all crimes were punished in the same way so you could be hanged just for stealing. Individuals might have grown bored of Pip and are interested in the new character. 'A fearful man... with a great iron on his leg', the children will wonder what this

  1. Great Expectations -how Dickens uses language in the opening chapter and in chapter 8.

    One could argue that Magwitch was not intending to be fatherly in anyway; he was simply looking for one thing - food. On the other hand, others could explain that the way he turned pip upside down, was as if a father would do to his son, playfully.

  2. How does Charles Dickens create an effective opening to Great Expectations?

    An example of this is when he says: "Who d'ye live with - supposin' you're kindly let to live". The dash gives the impression that Magwitch just quickly slipped the phrase in to make himself sound threatening but that he does not really mean it.

  1. How does Dickens create an effective opening chapter in Great expectations?

    Children in this time period and those featured in Dickens novels were likely to have been beaten if they did not show respect to their elders. As well as this Pip is very scared of this man and by being polite he is trying not to antagonise him.

  2. Write about how Dickens gives the reader a sense of tension and mystery in ...

    'Savage lair' describes the graveyard as somewhere that maybe a beast or a monster would hide out in, so giving it this description would give it sort of a dangerous effect. This is because monsters and beasts are vicious labels thus giving them a dangerous vibe, so giving the graveyard

  1. How does chapter 8 prepare the reader for the novel to follow?prose coursework: great ...

    It is highly reminiscent of a prison with "a great many bars to it" (Ch. 8 p. 44) and even "some of the windows had been walled up" (Ch. 8 p. 44). The repetition of bars when describing the house is beguiling.

  2. Analysing and explaining Charles Dickens' Great Expectations; Chapter 1.

    the atmosphere because winds brew up into storms and hurricanes, that causes destruction, devastation and death. This shot also creates tension because storms and hurricanes can correspond to peoples minds under huge stress, madness at explosive measures, and their numerous irritation and recurring thoughts, swirling around like the winds; rushing, going crazy and out of control with tension and violence.

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