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In the opening chapter of Great Expectations, Explore the way in which dickens uses language to create themes, characters and setting for the story.

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Introduction

Great Expectations coursework assignment (A) Look at the opening chapter of 'Great Expectations' and explore some of the ways in which Dickens uses language to create themes, characters and the setting for the story For this coursework assignment, I will be looking at the opening chapter (chapter 1) of the 'Great Expectations' novel to explore some of the ways in which Dickens uses language in order to create themes, characters and the setting for the story. 'Great Expectations', which is regarded by many as one of the finest achievements, was written in London between 1860-1861 by Charles Dickens, a very successful and well-known author, who was famous in both England and America. Charles Dickens was born on February 7th, 1812 in Portsmouth, but spent the first part of his early childhood in Kent (England). The eldest son, and one off eight children, Charles was part of a poor, working class family. Dickens' Father, John, worked as a clerk in the Navy Pay office but unfortunately got himself and his already under-privileged family into terrible debt; the family moved to London when Dickens' was nine. By the age of twelve, his father was finally imprisoned for debt, where his mother and five other siblings soon followed; Charles was left, feeling lonely and abandoned, he was taken out of School and sent to work at a factory, earning just six shillings a week. In the 1800s (the times in which Dickens was born), wealth was certainly an important issue; it was almost an accessory for some. The industrial revolution had been underway for some time, and so as it began to develop there was a great increase of cities, which brought about new wealth to the privileged minority. ...read more.

Middle

Pip becomes ill, Joe comes and pays off all his debt and nurses him back to good health which makes Pip feel guilty. He knows his moral behaviour was wrong to Joe and he starts to question himself about it, again, showing that he has a strong sense of conscience. Other important themes in the novel include, ambition, self-improvement, social class, crime, guilt, and innocence. At first I do not think it is easy to notice the moral theme in 'Great Expectations' because there are more then just one overall theme but when you delve deeper into the plot, it's quite simple. In my opinion I believe that affection, loyalty, and conscience are much more important than self-improvement, wealth, and social class. I think this because Dickens establishes those themes and shows Pip learning his lesson, largely by exploring ideas of ambition and self-improvement; ideas that very quickly become both the thematic centre of the novel and the mechanism that triggers most of Pip's social development. Although the themes of self improvement and ambition are only hinted at in the first two chapters, we can already start to see some of the flaws in Pip's life that will later on encourage his ambition. In chapter one, we see that Pip's lifestyle is a not a glamorous one; he lives in the forge surrounded by bleak and dangerous marshes and in chapter two we see Pip being treated very unkindly by his sister (who is also his guardian), Mrs Joe and with the death of his parents, is it any wonder that Pip feels lonely and isolated? ...read more.

Conclusion

The reader starts to expect something awful to happen so it is hardly surprising when Pip is faced with an escaped convict who emerges from the shadows and threatens to cut Pip's throat unless he succumbed to his demands. Consequently, I don't think that any other introduction is needed because this effective setting that Dickens creates is both compelling and dramatic. Dickens uses various language techniques to create an atmosphere and to give a sense of drama. In chapter one, we are given a very detailed description of the bleak, dark churchyard where Pip is visiting the graves of where so many of his relatives are buried. The graveyard itself is described as a "bleak place overgrown with nettles" whilst the marshland beyond is "intersected with dykes and mounds and gates with scattered cattle feeding on it" The river is described as a "low leaden line" while the sea is described as a "distant savage lair from which the wind was rushing". Overall the visual image we get from this description is a negative one, the depressing tone also reflects on what the reader is feeling too. I think that Dickens's greatest strength, as a writer is his use of narrative to describe places and convey atmosphere. He uses effective metaphors to describe each of the surroundings - the marshland, the graveyard, the river and the sea whilst using other forms of language techniques such as quality adjectives and alliteration, which gives the audience a perfect illustration of the setting. Later on in the novel, we are also introduced to various other settings. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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