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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

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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.

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