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

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Introduction

How does Charles Dickens 'hook' the reader into reading 'Great Expectations'? In Dickens 'Great Expectations', he obtains the reader's attention and gains their interest in the first paragraph to make them want to read on. Dickens introduces the protagonist 'Pip' to 'hook' the reader and make them ask questions. The reader wants to know about the protagonist and his life. They will ask themselves questions such as 'Where did Pip's parents go?' The questioning method used in 'Great Expectations' is also used in many other stories; this method is used to persuade the reader to read on. The writer also introduces the setting to grasp the reader, by presenting the sense of atmosphere in the narrative. Readers are inquisitive about where Pip lives and it also aids them to understand Pip's feelings. We also see that the bleak atmosphere Dickens creates makes the reader want to learn if the rest of the story is as gloomy as the beginning. Pip was just like the writer Dickens as a child, they were both intelligent but poverty-stricken. This is one of the many reasons the reader become interested in the protagonist. They both weren't very familiar with their fathers and were not given a 'decent' education. Therefore the reader wants to ascertain 'Great Expectations' is a reflection of Dickens life. 'Great Expectations' first paragraph starts with 'My father's family name...' this makes readers curious about whom the narrator is. Also 'My infant tongue' implies that the protagonist is a trivial boy and makes us feel additional compassion for him when bad things occur. We learn that Pip appears to be young, uneducated and underprivileged, because he can't pronounce his own name. My impression is the reader wants to find out if the protagonist's life becomes better off and he lives up to 'Great Expectations'. The ghoulish atmosphere of a churchyard is not a common place to find a young boy. ...read more.

Middle

Then again, this is what Dickens wanted society to do, and many people did start to help the underprivileged by opening schools and charities to help. The Victorians believed that every individual was born into a social class and the upper class societies were very negligent towards the poor; in this day and age people would not understand why this used to happen. On the contrary, the poor are still treated badly but not in the same way as before. We are no longer judged by social status, but we are judged by on how much money we earn and material items we buy. 'Beginning to cry, was Pip', the protagonist feels alone and upset about the loss of his family. The pain Pip is going through is more real to us as we can visualize him weeping; because Pip is no longer keeping his feelings to himself. Also, we can picture the protagonist's sorrow because the churchyard is the only place where he can stay close to his family; the churchyard is a lonesome place that shows he feels alone wherever he goes. The narrative is given a different pace when Dickens changes from the description, which may grasp the reader's attention. 'Hold your noise!' the protagonist and the reader are surprised when the style of the narrative is changed; the abrupt appearance of the convict also stuns the reader. 'Tell us your name!' dialogue is used to quicken the action and pace but the speaking grasp the reader's attention. Dialogue is used to introduce change to the narrative after plenty of detailed description; some readers will prefer dialogue to description. Dickens may have written the description as an opening to set the atmosphere for this odd meet. In addition, dialogue is clearer and more straightforward than description. Rather than thinking about it in detail, dialogue is used to show exactly what we are supposed to distinguish 'Pray don't do it, sir'. ...read more.

Conclusion

As a result, the 19th century audience would have been more interested in the story as they could talk to the author and understand the narrative clearly. Modern day readers would look at 'Great Expectations' and think it is quite a heavy read; this could also be off putting. The Victorians would be 'hooked' into reading 'Great Expectations as it was sectioned which made it more interesting to read and understand. I think some bits of this opening interested me but overall I don't think I was 'hooked' into reading 'Great Expectations'. I felt compassion for the protagonist as he has no family and was very helpless and emotional in the opening paragraphs. This made me want to know what happens to Pip but I could not picture how dreadful it is to lose a whole family. In addition, I wanted to know what the convict does with his life and how the protagonist is no longer poverty-stricken. I was dispirited from reading on as the monotonous setting gave the story a bleak outlook. It doesn't look like Pip will ever find happiness as there is no excitement in his life. Although the protagonist's life will improve, the depressing mood will continue for a couple more chapters. I think the most effective section of the chapter for the 19th century would have to be when Dickens describes the convict's appearance, as Victorians would be shocked that a man isn't wearing a hat. This would interest them because they would want to know if the convict gets caught and if the protagonist keeps his word. The description of the character Pip is effective with audiences of both 19th and 21st century readers because they all understand and sympathise with his feelings. On the whole, I think Dickens 'hooked' the Victorian readers more than the Modern day readers, only because he wrote in instalments. Also, 19th century readers understood the appearance of the convict better than 21st century readers and could feel more compassion and sympathy towards Pip. ?? ?? ?? ?? Sarah Yousaf 10WF ~ 1 ~ ...read more.

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