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In what way does Dickens create effective images of people and places?

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Introduction

Daniel Neofetou In what way does Dickens create effective images of people and places? Charles John Huffam Dickens was born on February 7, 1812 in Portsmouth. Dicken's childhood was not particularly happy one, and many of the events he endured and people he met inspired his books. The second child of a clerk in the navy pay-office, Dickens moved to London with his family when he was two years old. His father was often in debt, and finally in 1824 was sent to debtor's prison with the rest of the family in Marshalsea. Dickens, on the other hand was put o work at a shoe-blacking warehouse. Memories of this time haunted him for the rest of his life. Despite the fact his parents failed to educate him, Dickens worked hard to learn shorthand and in 1827 became a solicitor's clerk. Then, in 1829 until 1831 he worked as a court reporter. During this time he was also a regular reader at the British museum. He then reported on Parliament. There he gained a detailed knowledge of London and its inhabitants. His interest in drama developed. In 1833 his first story 'A dinner at Poplar Walk' was published. Dickens was a reporter for Morning Chronicle and became engaged to Catherine Hogarth, daughter of George Hogarth, editor of Evening Chronicle. Dickens' second story, Sketches by Boz was then published. By 1836 Pickwick Papers had begun publication in monthly parts, Dickens would often end each chapter on a cliff-hanger so the reader would want to know what happened next so therefore was enouraged to buy the next instalment. ...read more.

Middle

He is an orphan and lives with his grown-up sister. He is lonely, he "never saw (his) father or (his) mother, and never saw any likeness of either of them." and he recalls that, when he was young he used to imagine what they looked like from the appearance of the lettering on their tombstones. "The shape of the letters on (his) father's gave (him) an odd idea that he was a square,stout, dark man, with curly black hair." And he "drew a childish conclusion that (his) mother was freckled and sickly from the character and turn of the inscription" on her tombstone. We know that all his brothers are dead because beside his parents' graves are "five little stone lozenges arranged in a neat row." Because of this he imagined "that they had all been born on their backs with their hands in their trouser pockets". The loneliness and spookiness is heightened by the fact that this scene takes place "on a memorable raw afternoon towards evening." The marshes are described as a "dark flat wilderness beyond the churchyard, intersected with dykes and mounds and gates, with scattered cattle feeding on it." And the river is described, rather depressingly, as a "low leaden line". The sea is made to seem likewise scary and spooky by being described as a "distant savage lair from which the wind was rushing." And, to reinforce Pip's fear and loneliness, he is described as a "small bundle of shivers growing afraid of it all and beginning to cry. ...read more.

Conclusion

He also adds "I wish I was a frog. Or a eel." After he says this there is another reference to the fact that, no mater how threatening, he is cold and unwell because "he hugged his shudeering body in both his arms - clasping himself, as if to hold himself together - and limped towards the low church wall. As (Pip) saw him go, picking his way among the nettles, and among the brambles that bound the green mounds." It is then revealed that perhaps Magwich is just as frightened and vulnerable as Pip as he "Looked into (Pip's) young eyes as if he were eluding that hands of the dead people, stretching up cautiously out of their graves, to get a twist upon his ankle and pull him in.". As Magwich gets further away his legs seem "numbed and stiff", he is "still hugging himself in both arms, and picking his way with his sore feet among the great stones dropped into the marshes here and there." The chapter concludes by saying "The marshes were just a long black horizontal line then, as I stopped to look after him; and the river was just another horizontal line, not nearly so broad nor yet so black; and the sky was just a row of long angry red lines and dense black lines intermixed." All this imagery signifies Pip's dread. Pip then starts to think of Magwich as a pirate come to life, this scares him and he "ran home without stopping". ...read more.

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