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

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Introduction

How does Dickens capture the reader's interest in the first eight chapters of 'Great Expectations'? Dickens gets hold of the reader's attention from a very early stage in the book. He shows a very bleak view on Pip's life which parallels his own life when he was a child. John Dickens, his farther, was put in prison for not paying debts that he owed and to help support his family he was pulled out of school (which he enjoyed) and forced to work in a shoe blackening factory. All this makes him a very effective narrator and gives him an immense talent for engaging the reader's interest. 'Great Expectations' is seen as one of his great achievements. He puts his own thoughts on social justice and morals into his book which then gives it a very autobiographical theme rather than a fictional story. There is a huge amount of description using very savage and dismal images. I think that Charles Dickens can describe such a good picture of a poor little boy who has no hope with bleak descriptions is that it has happened to him. He is describing his life when it was most depressing. ...read more.

Middle

It is an aged, drab, isolated graveyard and completely empty. There is also a very strong connection between Pip and convicts, which Dickens introduces slowly. A comic scene in where Dickens introduces this idea is when Pip mouths at Joe 'What's a convict?' and Joe mouths back incomprehensible words, the only word Pip could make out was is own name. Another example of this is when Pip asks Mrs Joe after not understating what Joe said about what a convict is and she replies that all convicts start by asking questions. An important aspect of the novel is the characters and how they affect the reader. The character Estella is a symbol of Pip's longing in life. Pip 'loves' her but she only returns it as cruelty and hate as she has been twisted by Miss Havisham. Estella's grace and wealth are the complete opposite of Pip's life; she criticizes Pip's 'coarse' hands and his lower class, uneducated background. This starts of Pip's desire to become a gentleman as he is no longer satisfied with his status of life. Estella is cruel and uninterested in him this leaves the reader disliking the Havishams and inquiring about their life and what will happen to them. Pips brother-in-law, Joe, represents the life that Pip does not want to lead. ...read more.

Conclusion

Her character and story behind it is only revealed in the third volume of the book. The reader is drip fed the information and slowly then they see that everything is connected. 'I got up and went downstairs; every board upon the way, and every crack in every board, calling after me, "Stop thief" and "Get up Mrs. Joe!"' The reader is drawn in by Pip's fears and the suspense of the situation. They want to find out if Pip will succeed or fail and this intrigues them into wanting to uncover more. A famous Victorian author, Wilkie Collins, said that to capture the reader's interest you have to 'Make 'em laugh, make 'em cry, make 'em wait' Dickens certainly uses all the attributes to make the reader interested. The opening chapters use a tense and daunting perspective on Pips life; this draws the reader in by using emotions such as sympathy and pity. These are also used through out the novel as I have already explained. He uses humour along side Pips terrible life such in chapter two. There is a lot of ambiguity in the later chapters as the reader wants to find out about what happens to the characters in the book. Overall Dickens uses all of these points, emotions of the reader, mystery behind characters, humour and a very interesting story line to capture the reader's interest. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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