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How does Charles Dickens make the the first chapter of "Great Expectations" effective?

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Introduction

How does Charles dickens make the the first chapter of great expectations effective? The first scene in the novel is set in an "overgrown" graveyard which creates a miserable atmosphere. We know pip has never seen his parents before they died "never saw" so he makes absurd descriptions of them "unreasonably derived", this creates a sympathy for pip as he knows that its stupid but its the only way he can imagine his parents "square, stout, dark man". The author does this to show how neglected pip is. We learn that Pip is happy to be in this graveyard as he refers to the tombstones there as "my tombstones". He uses this possessive language to show that he feels comfortable there and this gives the reader an empathetic reaction. Dickens then creates more sorrow by saying "five little stone lozenges". This shows that not only did he lose his parents but he also lost his brothers and sisters, this makes us symathize with pip even more. ...read more.

Middle

The word "sir" expresses that he is a vulnerable person as he does not retaliate and shows self restraint. The scene is purposely shown in graveyard so that it can be used in juxtaposition to the way Magwitch treats pip. By using this stylistic technique it creates a sense of commiseration for pip. The author writes that Magwitch has "limped and shivered" to get here. These words emphasize how much Magwitch has worked to get here and this creates tension. Also when Magwitch asks him who he lives looks after him he refers to his sister as "Mrs. Joe Gargery". By calling his sister by her formal name it suggests that he is not very close to his sister, this scene in the novel creates an antagonistic repulsion between the two characters in the reader mind. This is because the reader inevitably has a sorrowful reaction to pip as we learn that he lives independently with no motherly affection and no support from his sister. ...read more.

Conclusion

By doing this dickens creates more tension and sympathy for pip as we really see what he went through. Remembering the early scenes in the play, we are again reminded of this irony. As Magwitch walks away the author describes him in conjunction to an old man. "Limped towards the low church wall". This line is again ironic as this convict who is portrayed as a murderer is know portrayed as an old man. The author does this to increase the tension as the reader is now sceptical as to what will happen next. In conclusion to this we learn that Charles dickens creates a bleak atmosphere to draw the reader's attention. We also learn that he uses very simple and unappealing language such as "dark" and "overgrown". These words are contradictory to the title "great expectations". Charles dickens purposely does this to create a trepidations feeling in the reader. The common theme in this novel is the use of analogical ways to describe the feelings of characters and the use of irony to create tension. ...read more.

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