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Introduction

How Does Dickens Convey, Setting, Character and Atmosphere in the Opening Chapter of Great Expectations The novel Great Expectations was written by Charles Dickens in 1860-1861, which was during the Victorian Era. It was first published in monthly instalments. In the novel, the main character Pip receives a change of fortune after an unknown benefactor leaves him some property in his will. Pip, a poor country boy, becomes a gentleman in London. He tries to save his benefactors life and fight for the love of his childhood sweetheart, Estella, who breaks his heart. The first chapter introduces Pip at the age of eleven and Magwitch, a starved, escaped convict who later turns out to be the benefactor. It is what Pip does in this chapter for Magwitch that leads to him leaving Pip the property. ...read more.

Middle

The character of Pip is very autobiographical - he is based on Dickens early life. Charles Dickens was brought up by his sister because his family was in debtor's prison. Pip was brought up by his sister because his family was dead. It is set in 1980 at the time of Dickens's own childhood. At this time, there was no way to move up the social ladder and there was high infant mortality. The weather is very vividly described as 'raw' with a 'leaden sky' with a 'fierce wind'. It being set on the Kentish moors it is described as the 'cold, wet flat'. The horrible weather adds to the atmosphere and tension of the story and makes Pip more scared '...that the small bundle of shivers growing afraid of it all and beginning to cry was Pip.' ...read more.

Conclusion

This makes the reader tense and worried for Pip. \dickens breaks this tension with the use of humour '"If you would kindly please to let me keep upright sir, perhaps I shouldn't be sick, and perhaps I could attend more."' Dickens uses very vivid language in the first chapter to describe character, setting and atmosphere. The afternoon is described as 'raw', the sea a 'savage lair'. Pip tells us that Magwitch gave him a 'tremendous dip and roll' He uses metaphors like '...the small bundle of shivers growing afraid of it all...' to make us feel sorry for Pip. After reading the first chapter the reader wonders who the threatening man is, does Pip takes him the stuff, does he tell anyone, does the man get caught, how is the first chapter relevant to the story? Dickens uses interesting characters and descriptions to hook us into the story and leave us with lots of questions that we want answered and only will be answered if we read on. ...read more.

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