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

How does Dickens create an effective sense of time, place and atmosphere in the opening chapter of Great Expectations?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How does Dickens create an effective sense of time, place and atmosphere in the opening chapter of Great Expectations? Great Expectations was written by Charles Dickens, it was first published in the early Victorian era, so it is set in the Victorian times. It is about a little boy called Pip who when visiting his parents graves, is found by an escaped prisoner. The strange man tells Pip to get him some food and a file, so he can cut away the iron strapped to his legs. Pip runs home and follows the stranger's orders after he was threatened. The novel is written in an autobiographical form, this means that Pip, who is an adult, is telling his story since his childhood going on until reaching his current age. In the first chapter Pip visited his parent's graves, and as he turned his head, the stranger fiercely emerged into Pip's face, Dickens described the man as a "fearful man" ... "with a great iron on his leg"... "who glared and growled"..."as he seized me by the chin" he is very descriptive to make you imagine the danger of the convict so the stranger told Pip to go home after he was threatened and shaken. ...read more.

Middle

As the narrator, Pip actually makes the reader aware of the harsh conditions in his early life by describing his dead family and the fact he lived near the marshes with his sister and her husband, and how bleak and dark the place he lived in was, or as Dickens says: "Ours was the marsh country". The atmosphere in the opening is quite dark as Dickens starts by informing us of Pip's dead family, he had also used the words "tombstone, black, dead" etc. This effect makes the reader feel sorry for the boy. Paragraph 3 is also really 'dark', Dickens uses the words "bleak" or "overgrown with nettles" to make us picture those scenes, by doing this he influences our feelings towards Pip in the horrible atmosphere of that unwelcoming place. When the prisoner emerges, the mood switches to a more frightening one. The convict holds Pip by his chin and uses these words to threaten him: "Keep still or I'll cut your throat". He then starts to ask Pip several questions before ordering him to get him the file and "wittles" (dialect for food). ...read more.

Conclusion

He then has nothing else to say and lets Pip go, as Pip walks off he describes the mans legs as "like a man whose legs were numbed and stiff". He tries to picture the prisoner's bad condition. Dickens tries to describe the dull atmosphere of the marshes in various ways like: "the river was just another horizontal line, not really so broad nor yet so black", and "the sky was just a row of long angry red lines and dense black lines inter mixed". As we imagine the descriptive detail he then places objects which are mixed in the background of the picture to help us imagine this in our own way, and by making us connotate the atmosphere with the objects e.g. the gibbet connotates to the danger and death. Dickens created this good opening by increasing the tension of the reader in the opening, giving the reader no chance but to read on, until the end of the story to see what is going to happen to Pip and the Convict. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...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. Dickens creates atmosphere and tension in the opening chapter, of Great Expectations

    The situation he is in gives the impression of no redemption. To add tension and atmosphere Dickens describes the convict as "a man... who shivered and limped... and whose teeth chattered in the head". This shows us that the weather was so harsh even a man who has been though what he has, could not endure it.

  2. How does Charles Dickens create an effective opening to Great Expectations?

    This feature brings us a lot closer to the character of Pip and allows us to understand him in more detail. One thing that Pip can do when he is narrating is to describe how he felt during events that took place during the story.

  1. Great Expectations. From my reading of the novel Great Expectations, I have found that ...

    is prepared to be very violent in order to get what he needs, it shows his desperation. " 'you get me a file'. He tilted me again. 'and you get me wittles' He tilted me again. 'you bring `em both to me' He tilted me again.

  2. How does Charles Dickens create atmosphere and suspense in the opening paragraph of Great ...

    Another factor which contributes to the suspense in the opening is pips imagination with the questions he asks himself about his dead parents, "what were they like" because this also helps with gaining the readers sympathy. Pips imagination helps to build up suspense when pip refers to the convict as

  1. Analysing and explaining Charles Dickens' Great Expectations; Chapter 1.

    This helps create atmospheric tension and suspense for the viewers because, unlike leans which shows the titles at the beginning of the film, it shows them when the audience have become gripped to the film and want to see more, hence suspending them and making the see all the main credits before the rest of the film.

  2. How does Dickens use language effectively to create mood and atmosphere in chapter one ...

    He cleverly knows how to scare a little boy as he has obviously been previously studying Pip crying and sees his weakness, and an opportunity to abuse this knowledge. We can tell the convict is desperate and starving as Dickens uses adjectives such as 'ravenously' (describing the convict eating bread

  1. How does Dickens create atmosphere and suspense in the opening chapter of his novel, ...

    This shows how scary the world must have been for Pip at the time. When Magwitch, otherwise known as the 'fearful man' is introduced to the reader, he is described in malicious terms, but yet sympathetic terms. 'A man who had been soaked in water, lamed by stones, and cut

  2. How Does Charles Dickens Create An Atmosphere Of Crime And Death In Great Expectations? ...

    Dickens introduces Magwich quite early in the story. Convicts are directly linked to crime. Charles Dickens uses imagery to describe the convict as 'a man with no hat, and with broken shoes, and with an old rag tied round his head'.

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