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How does Dickens create effective descriptions of people and places in Chapter 1 and Chapter 8 of Great Expectations(TM)?

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Introduction

How does Dickens create effective descriptions of people and places in Chapter 1 and Chapter 8 of 'Great Expectations'? In this essay, I will be analysing the techniques that Charles Dickens uses to create thorough and effective descriptions of characters and the setting in the novel 'Great Expectations' and to what extent he achieves this. The reader quickly manages to identify that 'Great Expectations' is a novel written in a first person narrative, as Dickens states in the quote 'I call myself Pip'. Dickens uses this technique as it can make the reader associate with the protagonist Pip to his thoughts, feelings and experiences throughout the novel. Furthermore, Dickens uses the name of the protagonist to serve as a metaphor for Pip's life, as a pip is generally related with a seed found in fruit; so by using this specific name for the protagonist, he connotes the word 'pip' to a very small and insignificant object. However, Dickens deliberately gives the reader the idea that a pip can grow into something bigger and fulfil its highest potential, only through the love and attention it needs. This then makes the reader predict that Pip is a very small and vulnerable and his life is likely to be a struggle. But as with a seed, Pip is going to grow and this makes the reader think that something great is going to happen to him to make him successful in the end of the novel. As Dickens goes to further describe Pip's personality, he states 'as I never saw my father or mother.' ...read more.

Middle

The house is described by Dickens as 'old, brick and dismal.' This then indicates the house is not cared for, which is additionally a metaphor for the woman living there, as it seems she is not cared for; she's falling apart and doesn't care or look after herself. 'Old brick' can be taken as a metaphor for Miss Havisham's life as it crumbled away like an old brick would do. Another way Dickens links the house to the character of Miss Havisham is shown through 'the cold wind seemed to blow colder there...it made a shrill noise.' This technique Dickens uses is pathetic fallacy as he describes the house and the mood at that time. Dickens creates tension and a sense of foreboding here, as if something abnormal is going to happen and there is something not right about the house. 'Cold wind' reflects the character Miss Havisham, how she is very cold hearted and the word 'shrill' makes her sound bitter and sharp. However, there is still some good in her as reflected in the quote 'the passages were all dark, and that she had left a candle burning there.' The candle suggests that out of all this darkness, there is a flicker of hope for Miss Havisham. Dickens uses foreboding here, as there is a possibility that something significant could happen to Miss Havisham to make her happy again. This also links to the title of the novel which can show further into the novel, there is a great expectation that many significant things are going to happen to everyone including Miss Havisham. ...read more.

Conclusion

Dickens is similar to the character of Pip in the novel as Pip also had a troubled childhood with no real parental guidance. This then means that the thoughts, feeling s and experiences of Pip are very vivid because these are based around Dickens own personal experiences. The moral of 'Great Expectations' then is that even through thick and thin, like the harsh conditions and bad childhood of both Dickens and Pip, through hard work and dedication you could become successful, like Dickens did who established himself as a very famous writer. Dickens moral through Miss Havisham tell us that money cannot buy you happiness or love. Dickens message in the story particularly was that it doesn't matter of your social class; each individual is responsible for their own actions. In conclusion, I think that Dickens uses his flamboyant language techniques to create effective descriptions of the characters and setting by making the characters contrast with each other to successfully show how times were like back in the 1800's. Through his description of the setting, he manages to make a clear image in the head of the reader on what the setting is like, and this setting usually reflects the mood in the scene at the time, so he helps to create tension and suspense successfully. The novel suggests to me that in future, great things are to come for Pip as the novel is named 'Great Expectations' which means that there is a high possibility of something significant happening to Pip as he has the opportunity to grow. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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