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How effective is the first chapter of Dickens' 'Great Expectations'

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17th November 2006 How effective is the first chapter of Dickens' 'Great Expectations' Great Expectations was Dickens's 13th Novel and was first published in the magazine which he worked for which was called All Year Round. As the novel was first published in a magazine he had to keep his weekly customers hooked on the story of his book so he was always aware of his audience. The book reflected the time it was written in like a mirror image because, in 1861 it was the industrial revolution and that was the time that the story was based in. Charles Dickens was born in to the industrial evolution where there was a disparity and this was also shown in the narrative but not in chapter one. When Charles Dickens was young he was sent to a blacking factory to work for little wages. His father fell in to a lot of debt and was sent to debtor Prison because he had used too much money entertaining and retaining his social position. After a few months their family could leave the debtor prison but their financial problem only improved some time later when they inherited money form his father's side of the family. Charles dickens showed his views on the disparity of that time through his book and people became aware of that when he became a vigorous social campaigner for the rights of people When Dickens was ten him and his family were relocated to 16 Bay ham Street Camden Town London. ...read more.


After that he became very depressed and was really downhearted. When he became a gentlemen he also became snobbish because of the lifestyle he was living, and you could see that when Joe came to meet him in London and you could tell that he was ashamed of Joe. When Magwitch tells Pip that he is the person who made him a gentlemen and he will be inheriting the money it is a shock to him at first because he though that Miss Havisham was the person who made him a gentlemen. Now that he knew how much Magwitch was risking to come and just meet him he helped to get him out of the country. By doing that good deed he shows his good inner character. He also shows his good inner character by always loving Estella even though in the start she was always breaking his heart. In the whole narrative there are four themes, gentlemen and respectability, crime and punishment, parents and children and power and powerlessness. Gentlemen and respectability is introduced in the first chapter by Pip giving Magwitch food, calling him sir, doing as he says and by bringing the best food which they were saving for Christmas. This theme is developed through out the book using the events, Bently Drummel rejecting Estella when he finds out that she is the daughter of a wanted convict and when pip doesn't reject Estella even when she is mean to him. Power and powerlessness is introduced when Magwitch is holding Pip on the tomb stone and when Mrs Joe Gargery has total power over her husband. ...read more.


Dickens has another technique up his sleeve to engage out interests and that technique is using cliff hangers. He gets us interested in the next chapter by leaving us at a point where we have so many questions our mind is drowned with them. The cliff hanger at the end of the chapter is that Pip is running home after being told by Magwitch to get some food and a file for him and that a young man will come and kill him if he doesn't. The other questions raised in the mind except for the ones about Pip are the ones about the young man, they are, 'does the man exist', 'Is he worse than Magwitch' and 'will he kill Pip if he doesn't do as he is told'. The ending of the chapter and the description of the scenery make the cliff hanger even more intense because it adds even more tension because of the descriptive language such as, 'the sky was just a row of long angry red lines and dense black lines intermixed. When Pip is frightened again it makes us think if he is coming back again and that intensifies the cliff hanger even more by adding to the tension. The beacon and the sign of punishment tell us a lot about the story but you only notice them if you know the whole story. The beacon signifies Estella and the other one signifies the punishment that Magwitch receives. As Magwitch is referred to as a 'pirate' by Pip, he is sentence to the same fate as captured pirates would have received, death by hanging. ?? ?? ?? ?? James ...read more.

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