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

How does Dickens use characterisation and description to set the scene in Great Expectations?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How does Dickens use characterisation and description to set the scene in Great Expectations? The novel Great Expectations was first published in 1861 in Charles Dickens own magazine, Household Words. A small number of chapters were in each issue which were released every 3 to 4 weeks in a series format. The magazine left many cliff-hangers, much like soap operas nowadays, so readers would purchase the next magazine to continue reading the story. My essay will focus on chapter 1 and chapter 8 and I will talk about where Pip meets Magwitch and where Pip meets Miss Haversham. In chapter 1, we are introduced to the main character Pip and the graveyard. Dickens puts emphasis on describing the graveyard in the opening paragraphs. When describing the graveyard Dickens uses a variety of literacy techniques in order to create a vivid illustration of the graveyard in the readers mind. One such technique is metaphor usage; 'distant savage lair from which the wind was rushing' is a use of this technique. The passage is used to create a tense, dark atmosphere but also prepares the reader for the entrance of Magwitch. A lair is generally associated with beast creatures for example, bears or lions and together with the wind is rushing creates an image of a beast like creature coming out rapidly towards you, leaving you helpless. ...read more.

Middle

A method similar to colour symbolism is object symbolism, Dickens talks about a 'gibbet' and a 'beacon' which are not that significant when first mentioned but are connected with what happens further on in the story. When Magwitch is convicted he is sentenced to hanging, which would have taken place on a gibbet. Also when Magwitch is trying to escape he wants to leave by boat, which would have been guided by a beacon. Despite the objects are of no consequence at first, they show what is going to happen towards the end of the book. In chapter eight we are introduced to Miss Haversham, Estella and Satis house. When Dickens is describing the scenery and characters in this chapter he again uses a variety of literacy techniques. When Pip first arrives at Satis house there is a repetition of the word bars, bars are normally associated with imprisonment and this represents what has happened to Miss Haversham. She has locked herself away from love and people, just as she would if she was in prison, and has locked Satis house from love and people as well. The quote, 'had a great many iron bars to it.' shows how Satis house has been locked away from the outside world and reflects Miss Haversham's position therefore making it pathetic fallacy. ...read more.

Conclusion

And finally Miss Haversham, who is described again from the point of view of Pip. She wears, 'Rich materials-satins, and lace, and silks' and we assume that she is upper class by her clothing and her house. The sentence structure helps to increase the tension before Pip first sees her; we think she is going to be a ghostly character and what is described is that. When she talks it is in a quiet, distant tone but she very manipulative in what she says. 'Play, play, play' is a quote which shows how in control she is, by having so much sympathy with her she is able to manipulate people because they don't want to hurt her feelings. So even though she may seem a disturbed character she is not the mental case everyone thinks because she is in total control of everything regarding her. She constantly questions Pip which makes him feel very uncomfortable and reluctant to do anything to hurt her feelings, so really she is getting him ready to be her new toy that she controls. So in conclusion, Dickens uses a variety of literacy techniques to set the scene in Great Expectations and also to create strong complex characters, such as Magwitch and Miss Haversham. Sion Atkinson Page 1 5/9/2007 ...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. Charles Dickens's writing techniques in Great Expectations.

    In contrast, when the reader first meets her she is a frightful old woman who cares about nothing but herself. She is determined to live her life in self-pity and seek revenge on all men. In the novel, Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, Miss Havisham is established as a cruel

  2. An exploration of the ways in which issues of class and status are presented ...

    a whole: that the aristocracy and middle classes independence is built on unstable foundations. The class battle is waged without the upper classes having enough numbers to have a team purely with members of their own, needing to include those inferior to them.

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

    emotions, and there is nothing to keep in suspense from us like in the BBC's because we saw everything that happened. Both involve darkness setting inn on the location, portraying the effect of darkness and worry in Pip's head, setting in and disturbing him, hence disturbing and frightening the audience as well.

  2. How does Dickens use characters in Volume One to present the themes of 'Great ...

    Both Pip and Magwitch were lower class and Magwitch is showing people who do not believe that a lower class person can successfully become a higher-class person that it can really happen. It is as if Magwitch is proving himself to all the people that doubted him and punished him

  1. Great expectations-scene one and scene 39

    Pips reaction also helps build tension, as Magwitch was clearly not expecting Pip to react in this way, and Magwitch showing up was a big surprise and the fact that if he is caught he'll face the death penalty also helps build tension.

  2. How Does Dickens use settings to reflect characters in Great Expectations

    Charles Dickens died in 1870 at the age of fifty-nine this was due to exhaustion and overwork. The novel Great Expectations is perhaps one of Charles Dickens greatest novels. The novel is about how the life of an orphan boy called Philip Pirrip (also known as Pip)

  1. How two chapters of Great Expectations reflect the influence of society in the time ...

    Tight-fisted and callous administration made the institutions even worse, and the target of some of the bitterest controversial literature of Charles Dickens. Conditions gradually improved, but the dreaded "workhouse test", to determine which paupers were destined for the workhouse, remained until after the end of the Victorian era.

  2. Compare 'The Darkness Out There' by Penelope Lively and 'Great Expectations'.

    Probably the most heavily used theme in both pieces of text is the theme of the past. In 'The Darkness Out There' Mrs Rutter is portrayed as holding on to aspects of the past; "The cupboard, stacked with yellowing newspapers, smelt of damp and mouse", Lively depicts Mrs Rutter as

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