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

How does Dickens capture the reader's interest in the first eight chapters of "Great Expectations"?

Extracts from this document...


How does Dickens capture the reader's interest in the first eight chapters of "Great Expectations"? Charles Dickens had a great talent for engaging the reader in his fascinating novels. 'Great Expectations' was one of the last that Dickens wrote and it is one of the most famous in English literature ever. Dickens was the son of John and Elizabeth Dickens and was the second of seven children. John Dickens was a clerk at the navy pay office but he struggled to provide for his growing family. John Dickens was in severe debt and the family had to sell of personal items but this was not enough for his creditors and he was arrested and sent to Marshalsea Prison. For Charles being such a young child it would be very distressing. As his father was in prison this meant that Charles at the age of twelve found work at Warren's Blacking factory where he was paid six shillings a week for wrapping shoe black bottles. Charles had to do this to help provide for his family. This had a great influence on the novel as there are autobiographical elements in the book. At twelve years old this is a lot to go through and he didn't have a very good childhood just the same as Pip in the novel. 'Great Expectations' has a lot of autobiographical elements in it no just about Pip but other elements as well. For example Dickens lived Chatham in Kent and in Great Expectations this is where Pip is living and both Dickens and Pip had very unhappy childhoods with tragic family histories. The same as Pip, Dickens also moved to London and found work there and people said that Dickens himself after living in London for a few years was a very snobbish man just the same as Pip is towards the end of the book until he realises that Joe was already a gentle Christian man. ...read more.


Another and a very evident clue Dickens puts in is when Pip asks his sister why people are put on prison-ships and she shrieks "People are put in the hulks because they murder, and because they rob, and forge, and do all sorts of bad; and they always begin by asking questions." Pip's sister says this just to stop Pip asking questions and go to bed. Pip hears what she has said differently and looks at it in his perspective which is, that he has been asking questions and he is about to steal food so Pip thinks that he will become a convict for his awful ways. The connections don't end here, there is a bond between Satis house and how Pip describes it. Pip describes Satis house "Some of the windows had been walled up; of those that remained, all the lower were rustily barred. There was a court-yard in front, and that was barred;" repetition of the word "barred" is linked to a prison cell and how the convicts are barred up. This bond is strengthened when Pip "went into the house by a side door- the great front entrance had two chains across it outside." Again this is another clue that Satis house is connected with the hulks and convicts because Magwitch had chains around his legs just like there are chains across the front entrance. Dickens deliberately put these clues in because all these continuous links engage the reader's interest and it makes the reader curious about what all these clues will come to. Dickens does use a bit of humour to give the reader some comic relief. An incident which is quite comical is when Pip talks about Mrs Joe taking Joe "by the two whiskers," and then she "knocked his head for a little while against the wall behind him: while I sat in the corner guiltily on." ...read more.


Wilkie Collins was another great Victorian novelist. He was once asked how he engages the reader's interest and he answered "Make 'em laugh, make 'em cry, make 'em wait." Dickens does this exactly in 'Great Expectations' in the first 8 chapters. In the first chapter Dickens makes you cry because you find out that Pip has lost his parents and his five little brothers, you then see Pip being threatened by the convict and he has a future which looks so bleak. After this in chapter 2 Dickens makes you laugh as he puts in some light humour of which I have touched on earlier, where Joe's head is banged on the wall and he is held by his whiskers. Then last of all the you are made to wait. Dickens does this by introducing the convict very early on in the book and he is only there for a couple of chapters, he is then taken out of the book and he is to return later. The reader will want to know when the convict will return and why he will return. There are more questions that the reader will want to ask e.g. who is the other convict and what role does he play in the book? And what does Pip's future hold for him? Will Estella take a fancy of Pip? There are countless questions that the reader will want to know but the only way the reader can find out is by reading on. From chapter one to eight what really grabs my attention is how much sympathy the reader automatically gives Pip. Through the first chapter when we learn that he has lost his family and how he is threatened by the convict and how he is treated by his horrible sister. Along with how Estella bully's Pip, saying that he has "coarse hands" and she denounced Pip "for a stupid, clumsy labouring boy." For a boy of Pip's age to go through this, it must be agony and that is why we express sympathy for Pip. ?? ?? ?? ?? David Drayton 14.10.07 ...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. Discuss the role of Joe Gargery in Great Expectations.

    of, this provides Pip some basis for a superiority complex over Joe. If there was one point where the relationship of Joe and Pip breaks down it is most certainly here and is it the pernicious effect of money upon people and relationships which destroys the simple love that Pip had previously held for Joe.

  2. Great Expectations - The Relationship between Pip and Joe.

    Joe did not believe this idea and ended up being the happiest character in the novel while remaining in the same social class. Chapter Fifty Eight - This is the penultimate chapter of the book, Pip returns to the forge to confess his love to Biddy, but instead finds Joe and Biddy are getting married on that same day.

  1. development of pip

    This passage illustrates Pip's release of the guilt that has been bottled up within in him for so long. Pip feels that this expression of compassion and kindness has made him a better person and! is thankful that something good has come from his greater expectations.

  2. What does Pip learn and how does he learn it during the course of ...

    This shows us that he has learnt about selflessness and is capable of loving and caring for others. He puts his friends first and ensures their happiness by telling them that 'you receive my humble thanks for all you have done for me' (Ch.

  1. Consider the role and presentation of women in Great Expectations and their influence on ...

    Her main influence on Pip is through this violence and abuse, which is primarily responsible for Pip's insecurity and guilt. Ultimately she makes Pip sensitive, as he says: "My sister's upbringing made me sensitive." It is because of Pip's sensitivity that he is vulnerable to Estella's malice and verbal abuse.

  2. Great Expectations -How Pip changes throughout the novel

    Lucky for Miss Havisham her plan had started to work Pip had fallen in love with Estella the first time he clocked eyes on her. He sees Estella as pretty, a little proud, but she is a lady which is the reason he needs to improve his life by becoming a gentlemen, so that Estella would love him back.

  1. Analysis of chapters 1-8 in Great Expectation by Charles Dickens

    Deliberately Miss Havisham asks Pip's feeling about Estella. Miss Havisham knows the answer but she wants to hear it from Pip himself. The three words in which Pip describes Estella are "proud", "insulting" and "pretty". We all acknowledge that Dickens is a master in creating characters, setting and describing atmosphere.

  2. Great Expectations: Father figures, mentors and patrons

    Wemmick is a "yes man" for Mr. Jaggers at the office, imitating him in almost every way, including the dispersions that he constantly casts at his customers. Wemmick becomes acquaintances with Pip through their dealings with Mr. Jaggers. When Wemmick invites Pip over to his home, he sees another side of Wemmick that is never seen at the office.

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