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In the opening chapters of Great Expectations, how does Dickens draw his readers in and make them want to read on?

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Kathryn Bourke In the opening chapters of Great Expectations, how does Dickens draw his readers in and make them want to read on? Great Expectations is a novel by Charles Dickens first published his novel in 'All the Year Round' from 1 December 1860 to August 1861. It is regarded as one of his greatest novels, and is one of his most lasting popular novels. Great Expectations is the story of the orphan Pip, writing his life from his early days of childhood until adulthood and trying to be a gentleman along the way. The story can also be considered semi-autobiographical of Dickens, like much of his work, drawing on his experiences of life and people. The action of the story takes place from Christmas Eve, 1812, when Pip is about seven years old, to the winter of 1840. Each installment in 'All the Year Round' contained two chapters and was written in a way that kept readers interested from week to week, while still satisfying their curiosity at the end of each one. The title Great Expectations does not giving anything away but draws he reader in. ...read more.


We want to read on to see what further odd thing Mrs Joe does. The novel begins at the church graveyard on Christmas Eve. Pip informs us that he is an orphan and lives in the marsh country. An escaped convict appears and threatens Pip. He commands Pip to bring him a file and vittles or he'll cut Pip's throat. We are introduced to Pip who is portrayed in a sympathetic way by Dickens. Almost without noticing we are concerned about him so that by the time he encounters Magwitch, the convict, we are hooked. Pip is an odd little boy as he has to believe what he is told as there is no other evidence, he gets odd little pictures in his head for example when in the grave yard he imagines what his passed Mother and Father would look like and act like just by the writing on the tomb stone. We laugh at the ridiculousness of all this sense of child perception which pip has. Now pip is on his own in a grave yard, as this is scary enough, a terrifying man appears who has no sympathy for Pip and he strikes horror down the back of Pip's spine. ...read more.


Joe, the town blacksmith and Pip's only friend, informs Pip that Mrs. Joe has the tickler, a stick used to beat Pip when he's been bad. Mrs. Joe returns and swats Pip several times. Pip runs to Joe for protection. They sit down to dinner and Pip, although hungry, does not eat so he can sneak food to the convict. Pip snags some food and sneaks into Joe's forge to steal a file. There are lots of jokes in this chapter, it is kind of a contrast to the last chapter. As we can see Pip's sister is a horror, she has bought Pip up by hand so she says, but this has a double meaning, when saying this you think with love, protection and kindness but it actually means beating him and not just Pip her husband, Joe, too he takes the beatings as he doesn't want to upset his wife. As joe is explained as a mild, good-natured, sweet-tempered, easy-going, foolish, dear fellow - a sort of Hercules in strength, and also in weakness, this is relevant when we see how he doesn't deal with is wife. Mrs Joe is a very plain woman and she is not one for smiling. She is not an attractive figure in any sense as there is no flesh on her. ...read more.

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