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How does Dickens create an effective opening to Great Expectations?

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How does Dickens create an effective opening to Great Expectations? The first nineteen chapters of Dickens' Great Expectations creates an effective opening in many ways. The very first chapter sets the scene with a mixture of anxiety and a build up of pressure. This is a good way to open a novel as it immediately grabs the readers interest. Throughout the opening of Great Expectations the setting changes several times. At the graveyard in chapter one, the atmosphere is very eerie and bleak. The graveyard is described as "dark flat wilderness" which gives the reader an image of a grim setting. There is no major difference between the graveyard setting and the setting in the next four chapters, collectively they have the atmosphere of depression and apprehension . This is when Pip steals the 'wittles' for the convict and is edgy about getting caught. The first big change happens in chapter eight when Pip visits Miss Havisham's house. Dickens describes the setting here as 'dismal, and had a great many iron bars to it,' it is still dark and gloomy all over the house, especially in Miss Havisham's room. Although this gives the impression that it is similar to the first seven chapters, Pip's feelings are different, this is the first time he feels vulnerable and resentful toward his upbringing and his background rather than afraid. ...read more.


Pip and Magwitch, except f course in the first chapter, do not have much of a relationship until later in the novel when Pip believes Magwitch is his benefactor. Mr Jaggers is often in and out of Pip's house and is the one who offers Pip a new life in London where Pip gets to know him better. The Pocket family have a strange connection to Pip. He often sees them at Miss Havisham's house on his visits. Towards the end of the opening Mr Pocket offers to tutor Pip in London and organise him with new clothes after his move to London. Especially throughout the opening of Great Expectations Pip is offered several opportunities, all of which he takes. The first opportunity is stealing the file and wittles for the convict, Magwitch. Pip feels he has no choice and he will be killed if he does not bring them so he obliges even though there are consequences at home. Pip is offered regular visits to Miss Havisham's house by Mr Pumblechook. Pip goes to Miss Havisham's and meets Estella, she is probably the reason Pip returns again and again as is rather scared of Miss Havisham at first. ...read more.


When the uneducated Mr Joe is talking, it is not very fluent and often spelt wrong. Mr Joe quote here. Great Expectations is an autobiography, its structure is very repetitive and is in chronological order. Dickens has his own very effective style which makes Great Expectations and other Dickens books so unique. The opening ends as Pip is leaving his small village for London, he pays Miss Havisham and Estella a final visit and celebrates with Mr Pumblechook. He leaves Biddy on bad terms as they have an argument. This could be one of the reasons that he has tears in his eyes as he leaves. Overall I think that Dickens creates an effective opening o Great Expectations by using his own style. Especially in more recent novels, no other author has the same very detailed narrative structure which make his novels unique to him, rarely is ever have readers been offered such detail. Dickens uses pressure and anxiety exactly where it is needed in a way that keeps the reader interested right through to the end, he allows the reader to really get to know and grow to love the characters. The end of the opening is a kind of cliff hanger, the reader will want to read on and find out what happens to Pip in London, if he ever does become a gentleman and if he will ever win Estella's love. ...read more.

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