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

The opening of Great Expectations could be seen as your average opening to a novel. It introduces the primary character Phillip Pirrip and gives a short summary of his background, including the fact that his parents are dead

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

English GCSE Coursework Great Expectations The opening of Great Expectations could be seen as your average opening to a novel. It introduces the primary character Phillip Pirrip and gives a short summary of his background, including the fact that his parents are dead alongside his five brothers. This is a very grim opening and it is evident that Dickens is trying to get the reader to feel sympathy towards Phillip Pirrip (Pip) because of his unfortunate background. In the first few lines it also mentions the fact that Pip is under the care of Mrs. Joe Gargery, his sister, who is married to a blacksmith. This opening description of Pip like the rest of the story, is in fact a narration by the adult Pip, who is describing how the story of Great Expectations which revolves around himself, came to be. The sympathy that Dickens makes the reader feel does not just impose itself on the opening passage; Dickens uses Pip, a boy that is isolated not only in that particular situation but in his general life to gain the sympathy of the reader. By giving the sympathetic approach towards Pip, the author sets the scene perfectly for what is to come. ...read more.

Middle

The author is very clever when trying to create tension in the opening pages because the first page is describing Pip's background and how he hasn't much family. Dickens makes the situation as full of sympathy for Pip as he possibly can because this is then used as a form of build-up, a build-up to the introduction of the convict. All of a sudden, from the reader feeling sympathy for a teary-eyed Pip, they are now encountering a very aggressive man who threatens Pip. The second page is different because the situation has extended to the convict questioning Pip aggressively which really intensifies the moment. This whole concept of 'out of the blue', really adds to the tension because when Pip is being questioned by the convict, you can really feel that he is intimated by him. An example of this is when Pip replies to the convict speaking of how he could eat Pip's 'fat' cheeks, 'I earnestly expressed my hope that he wouldn't, and held tighter to the tombstone on which he had put me; partly, to keep myself upon it; partly, to keep myself from crying'. This shows that Pip feels genuine fear because he knows anything can happen and the author wants the reader to acknowledge this. ...read more.

Conclusion

But Pip is also afraid of what the convict threatened if he does not help - 'the young man that is hiding among the stones', eager to tear him to pieces if he doesn't produce the file and wittles. So, the final line is effective because it sums up the fact that Pip is in much fear in the opening chapter and the author emphasizes that Pip is frightened again at the end - so much so, that he runs home without stopping. In conclusion, I believe that Charles Dickens, as the author of Great Expectations creates tension in its opening simply because of several key elements such as - setting, descriptions of the surrounding landscape/background and the manner in which the primary character Pip, is presented and portrayed to the reader. All these elements contribute to what is undoubtedly one of the most compelling, tense openings to a novel ever presented. Even one hundred & forty six years after it was first published, Great Expectations the novel is still one of the most popular novels ever written and its brilliant opening is a sheer example of Dickens's quality in story-writing. Bringing this analysis to a close, this essay deals with the intensity, sympathy and all the other aspects in which Dickens tries to impose upon his opening chapter of a novel to what is, ultimately a classic. ...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. great expectations, opening paragraph question

    The characters introduced in the first chapter are important to the story. Pip is the first character to be introduced and from this we can tell he is going to be the main character. As he is alone in the cemetery we assume he is a lonely child with not many friends or family.

  2. Social and Historical Background to 'Great Expectations'.

    him to write articles about the labour laws and conditions of poor children Later on in life, Dickens wrote many novels expressing his feelings, about the publics ignorance about the corruption within society, especially unnecessary suffering and greed. He was extremely successful and wrote many novels.

  1. Great Expectations - short summary

    Pip is very happy because he began in a bad blacksmith background and now he has "five hundred pound" he will be able to help his family too have a better life. In the novel Pip description is not described because as Pip is narrating the novel it would not

  2. An evaluation of the effectiveness of chapter one of great expectations as the opening ...

    for certain that Phillip Pirrip and also Georgina wife of the above were dead and buried' and that his parents aren't with him, they were six feet under. He was alone and unprotected. Dickens says all of this in a very long sentence, which would build up tension and the impression that Pip was in a very frightening place.

  1. Wemmick - Character Analysis.

    The note reads out, "DON'T GO HOME". He thus not only saves Pip, the protagonist, but also saves the story from ending abruptly as the following pages have Pip uncovering much suspense. If Wemmick would not have saved Pip's life then the third stage of Pip's life would have been incomplete and the reader would have known

  2. How does Charles Dickens create an effective opening to Great Expectations?

    When Magwitch first meets Pip, he speaks to him in a very aggressive way, using phrases such as "Hold your noise!" and "Keep still you little devil, or I'll cut your throat!" These show that he is disrespectful and he generally comes across as a nasty person.

  1. Great Expectations - short summary and review

    How it relates to self-discovery The story is mainly focused on Pip's discovery of his "great expectations" from his interview with Estella. He also discovered the importance of status in this society and therefore he is willing to live at a higher class and be respected.

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

    be a gentle boy who is nothing more than a lower class person and a blacksmiths son. Pip is also described to be kind person who kept his words. My impressions about Pip at the end of chapter one are that Pips life views have been changed by one man and this man is the convict.

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