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How Does Dickens Create Atmosphere In The Opening Chapters Of Great Expectations?

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Introduction

How Does Dickens Create Atmosphere In The Opening Chapter Of Great Expectations? In the opening chapter, Dickens portrays quite a sad and gloomy atmosphere because Pip is visiting the grave of his parents and five brothers. However, the scene develops into a more intimidating and hostile environment when another character is introduced. Dickens uses a variety of tools and components to create this atmosphere; these include powerful adjectives, imagery, similes, metaphors, powerful verbs and pathetic fallacy. In the opening chapter, Dickens describes the surroundings and settings in detail. He does this through the use of a wide variety of powerful adjectives. For example, he describes the churchyard as a, "bleak place overgrown with nettles". This creates atmosphere because it portrays to the reader how much of a hostile place the churchyard is and also, because it is Pip that is describing the churchyard in the novel, it shows the reader Pip's negative attitude and emotions towards this intimidating place. Additionally, it tells the reader that Dickens wants us to have a negative feeling about the churchyard and its surroundings. ...read more.

Middle

For example, "I pleaded in terror". This creates atmosphere because it gives us an insight to Pip's thoughts and emotions and shows us his attitude towards the events taking place in the novel, which creates atmosphere. Also, in chapter one, Dickens introduces a sense of mystery and suspense. He does this whilst he is describing the newly introduced character of Magwitch; "with a great iron on his leg". This shows the reader that he is maybe a prison convict and makes the reader wonder why he is chained up. Also, it shows the reader that he is a shady character. This builds up atmosphere. Additionally, there is a deadly element to the whole chapter. For example, the chapter is set in a churchyard full of dead bodies, "overgrown with nettles was the churchyard" and then as the chapter develops, Pip receives a death threat from Magwitch, "Keep still, you little devil, or I'll cut your throat". This deadly element creates a negative atmosphere throughout the first chapter and shows to the reader that the churchyard is a dangerous and intimidating place, especially for a small boy. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is an effective technique because by having weather that compliments the emotions of the characters it creates a more appropriate atmosphere. Dickens creates atmosphere by creating a sense of fear. He does this through the use imagery. For example, "he were eluding the hands of the dead people, stretching up cautiously out of their graves, to get a twist upon his ankle and pull him in". This gives the reader an image in their head about what is going on the story and gives them a better understanding of the events that are taking place in the story and also, of the way that the characters behave. Overall, in the opening chapter, Dickens portrays quite a sad and gloomy atmosphere because Pip is visiting the grave of his parents and five brothers. He does this through the use of a variety of powerful adjectives, imagery, powerful verbs and pathetic fallacy. However, the scene develops into a more intimidating, hostile and bleak environment when another character is introduced; Magwitch. Dickens uses a variety of tools and components to describe this character and the change in atmosphere caused by this disheveled character. These include powerful verbs, imagery, imperative verbs, powerful adjectives, etc. ...read more.

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