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How does Dickens use language to portray characters and settings in Great Expectations, focusing on two scenes?

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How does Dickens use language to portray characters and settings in "Great Expectations", focusing on two scenes? Charles Dickens was an English novelist in the Victorian era. He wrote many well known novels such as "A Christmas Carol", "Oliver Twist" And "A Tale of Two Cities". His books were very popular at the time and were usually serialised so to keep the reader interested. The popularity of his novels means that not one of them has ever gone out of print. He was born in Portsmouth, England, in 1812 And Died 1870 in Kent. During Charles Dickens Childhood he lived in London and when he was 12 his father got put in the debtor's prison after running out of money. To support the rest of his family Charles had to work 10 hours a day, sticking labels on bottles. He earned 6 Shillings a week which paid for his housing and helped to support his family. The bad conditions at the factory influenced his writing quite a lot. His next job was at a law office in a junior position. Whilst working here he saw many injustices and saw how the law treated the poor. In 1834 he became a political journalist which led to the publishing of his first novel. He married a woman in 1836 and together they had 10 children. They later separated but, because at the time it was looked down on for a couple to divorce, Charles paid for the keep of her house for the next 20 years until she died. ...read more.


Pip then goes back to live with Joe and his new wife. In Chapter one Pip is found by the unknown convict Magwhich in the graveyard in the marshes. Charles Dickens is very descriptive with the language he uses in describing the graveyard. He shows it is a very isolated place very well with such quotes as "This bleak place, overgrown with nettles was the churchyard" And when magwhich says "I wish I was a frog. Or an eel!" it shows how wet and disused the area is. Dickens also describes the feelings of the characters in this scene very well. Magwhich has been running from the prison guards and police for a few days so he is starving hungry which is shown very well. "What fat cheeks you ha'got, Darn me if I couldn't eat them...and if I han't half a mind to't" This is very descriptive language as it shows that magwhich is so hungry he is considering eating a small boy! Another example of how hungry magwhich is, is when he tries to scare Pip into stealing him food. He tells pip "You fail...and your heart and your liver shall be torn out, roasted and ate". This shows that magwhich is willing to kill to gain food. This obviously scares Pip as Dickens describes him as "That small bundle of shivers...beginning to cry, was Pip". This is good at showing just how scared of the convict Pip was. ...read more.


This is shown again in Dickens description of Ms Havishams clothes "I saw the bride within the bridal dress had withered like the dress and the flowers". This is good at describing not only Ms Havishams attire but the look of her body as well. I believe that the best example of a description that portrays character is when Pip is asked to describe his thoughts on Estella to Ms Havisham. He Says "I think she is very proud. I think she is very pretty. I think she is very insulting." This is good at describing the nature of Pip as he does not wish to insult Estella to her adopted mother but still wishes to be truthful, which is very much like Pip. The best description of a setting, in my opinion, is when Pip describes the marshes in the first chapter. " The dark flat wilderness beyond the churchyard, intersected by dykes and mounds and gates, with scattered cattle feeding on it was the marshes and that low leaden line beyond it was the river and the distant savage lair from which the wind was rushing was the sea" This is a very good description of the surrounding lands near the churchyard and helps you picture it whilst reading. I Believe that Dickens very informative descriptions have an effect on the reader as, without them, the reader would be left to themselves to imagine the details of story. He uses them very well on all occasions. ...read more.

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