• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Is chapter one of Great Expectations an effective beginning to the novel?

Extracts from this document...


Laura Swallow 11R1 Is chapter one of Great Expectations an effective beginning to the novel? Charles Dickens wrote Great Expectations under a large amount of pressure, but this did not diminish the quality of his novel. In the nineteenth century novels of this kind were published in weekly instalments in magazines. The first instalment was published before Dickens had even questioned the rest of the storyline. To go with the pressure of writing these instalments in such short spaces of time, Dickens had to make each one uniquely exciting and unpredictable so the reader would buy the magazine week after to week to find out what happens in the novel. Dickens managed to capture the reader each week by using, suspense, humour and mystery throughout the novel. Dickens used these devices a great deal in the first chapter of Great Expectations to encourage people to buy the magazine, All the Year Round, each week. Dickens succeeds in composing an effective beginning to the novel because of the setting he chooses, the characters, the language as well as his use of narrative style in the chapter. We eventually find out that this powerful beginning is the source of all conclusions, which are reached towards the end of this dramatic novel. ...read more.


The very beginning makes us sympathise with Pip and we already begin to understand how pathetic his childhood would have been. The concept that he "could make of both names...Philip Pirrip...nothing longer or more explicit than Pip" begins to unravel the sorrow this young boy has encountered in his childhood. We also sympathise with Pip's insecurity in the "graveyard" as he is "a small bundle of shivers....growing afraid" of everything as he begins to "cry". We are not surprised by Pip's vulnerability as later on in the novel it is established that Pip is only around seven years and he feels very isolated not only in this situation but in his life. Dickens has succeeded in gaining the readers sympathy for Pip in this first chapter by showing the imagination and desolation of this young child. Dickens uses many concepts of language to help make this chapter an effective beginning to the novel. Pip's description of the convict when he first appears sounds a great deal longer than it actually is. Dickens repeats the word "and" when describing the convicts wounds and the convict to express the appearance of this criminal. Pip describes the convict as a man "who limped, and shivered, and glared, and growled". ...read more.


This more intelligent Pip invites us to ridicule the younger Pip and as we lampoon him we realise how gullible Pip used to be. Pip believes the convict when he says his "heart....shall be tore out roasted and ate" by a "young man" the convict has "hid" with him if he does not obey his wishes. The convict has no man with him but Pip believes every word the convict has to say and we laugh at his naivety. Although chapter one of Great Expectations is not consecutively the beginning of the novel, it is certainly a very important part of the story as a whole. Magwitch disappears from the story in Chapter five and does not re-appear until chapter thirty-nine, but we do not forget about him. As the story goes on and Miss Havisham tricks Pip into falling in love with Estella we begin to question the connection Magwitch has with the rest of the story. After his re-appearance in chapter thirty-nine it all becomes clear of the essential role Magwitch plays in the story and chapter one becomes an all too important fragment of the novel. Leaving us questioning Magwitchs relevance in the novel makes it an effective beginning as it gets the reader involved in the novel. We continue to question the convict's appearance on the moors until chapter thirty-nine when he returns to Britain and reveals he is the source of Pip's fortune, not Miss Havisham as Pip first thought. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Great Expectations section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Great Expectations essays

  1. 'The small bundle of shivers growing afraid of it all and beginning to cry ...

    my father or mother" this gives us a sense of sympathy and loneliness also "... I never saw any likeliness of them". Pip never saw his parents or what they look like later on in the text we realise that the only impression of his parents are derived from there grave stones and more so from the lettering .

  2. Great Expectations Role of Magwitch

    "Awfully connect it with the footstep of my dead sister." This quote then makes Pip extremely nervous and frightened, and then it brings back the terrible and painful memories of his sister. The use of a sentence is then used to heighten the tension within the chapter.

  1. Pip is growing up in the first half of the nineteenth century. How great ...

    reader is actually encouraged to dislike Pip, due to his selfish actions and shallow personality, although towards the end of the story, Pip deserts his shallow personality and eventually becomes a genuinely good person.

  2. How is chapter 1 an effective opening to the novel Great Expectations?

    The action takes place in a marsh country where it was deserted and under populated. Beyond The marshes was a church and behind that church was a graveyard where Pips parents lay.

  1. How does Dickens create an effective opening chapter in Great expectations?

    He calls this terrible man who he has just described as coming from a grave "sir". This is both a reflection on the ways of the time period and also on how Pip himself has been brought up to behave.

  2. Charles Dickens Great Expectations explore the themes used by Dickens in chapter one

    You do it, and you never dare to say a word or dare to make a sign concerning your having seen such a person as me, or any person sumever, and you shall be let to live. You fail, or you go from my words in any partickler, no matter

  1. How does Dickens create effective descriptions of people and places in Chapter 1 and ...

    as he gives the reader an idea that he is a very threatening and violent person. 'A terrible voice.' This is an effective technique as the use of the word 'terrible' is a form of emotive language, so it can create a brief idea of what Magwitch is like.

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

    It was written in instalment in a weekly magazine so at the end of each instalment he had to leave a cliff hanger so his audience would want to buy the next issue of the magazine so that they could read the next instalment.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work