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How does Dickens make the opening chapters of his novel (Great Expectations)

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How does Dickens make the opening chapters of his novel "compelling"? Charles Dickens's "Great Expectations" contains one of the most famous opening chapters of a novel ever written. It is very effective in making the reader want to read on. He uses many techniques which makes each paragraph flow into the next. The novel was a very popular literary form in the Victorian period, in a time before the invention of modern forms of entertainment such as television and video. As the nineteenth century progressed increasing numbers of people could read. At the time books were very expensive for the lower class people making it hard for them to afford many books. So Charles Dickens decided to publish his novel in weekly instalments in his own magazine "All the year round". Dickens needed to make his novel interesting so people would buy the next issue of his magazine. This way of publishing the novel made it affordable for all classes of people. ...read more.


Dickens uses very good description and he also uses similes which help to describe the setting. "As if some goblin had been crying there all night and using the window as a pocket handkerchief" This creates an excellent picture of the setting and you can see exactly how Dickens wanted the scene to look. Dickens uses very good descriptors "the marsh mist was so thick" creates a picture of extremely thick and dirty mist which is what Dickens wanted you to see. Colour is also used in the novel this enhances the atmosphere. In these chapters Dickens only uses selected colours mostly red and black. He describes his sister as having "a prevailing redness of skin I sometimes wondered if she washed herself with a nutmeg grater" This shows that Mrs Joe is a harsh person and that she may be a threat to Pip as she is red. Dickens uses the atmosphere to enhance the picture of the setting which proves to be very effective. ...read more.


In Great Expectations Dickens created some very memorable characters. He was able to create these as he had a very good style of writing. Pip is a very memorable character as his life is told by himself when he was an adult and this gives you his view of himself. He is also memorable because of his encounter with the convict. The other most memorable character for me is the convict Magwitch. He is very impressive because of Dickens description of him and the way he first enters the novel unexpectedly. When Magwitch first enters the novel he is made to be a very dark man "A fearful man, all in coarse grey" the darkness gives him an even more frightful appearance which ads to the shock to Pip. In conclusion I feel that Dickens made his opening chapters compelling by using the techniques above. I think he wrote the novel very well when you start reading it you really cannot stop. Dickens's novel was very successful and one of the reasons is because he created the opening chapters so well. Julian Rowley February 2003 ...read more.

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