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What is the effect of the first person narrative technique used by Dickens in 'Great Expectations'?

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What is the effect of the first person narrative technique used by Dickens in 'Great Expectations'? I will be discussing the first person narrative technique Dickens uses in his novel 'Great Expectations', a ground-breaking book of its time. In the novel Dickens writes in the first person narrative of a character called Pip who talks about his voyage through life .We see him grow, change and adjust to the world around him during which the reader is a fly on the wall. Is this successful? This literary tradition of first person narrative is used very cleverly; one of the advantages is that Dickens can play with how Pip tells the story to portray a character the reader likes or dislikes .I feel Dickens uses Pip to demonstrate the things he believes are wrong in the world at the time .For example the way he describes the abject poverty of London as an awful shock to Pip as well as the way Pip changes with the money he receives. These are obviously experiences Dickens had felt. An additional advantage to the style of Dickens writing is that we understand what Dickens is trying to express. ...read more.


I believe Dickens may have written this into the novel as it perhaps was something he had encountered in life as his career bloomed. He came from a poor family and by the time he was writing this novel he would have made a considerable amount of money. He would have become of higher class and consequently would have encountered characters resembling Publchook. This is why I feel we can learn a great deal about Dickens himself and the social attitude to wealth at that time through this novel. A component of Dickens success of the narrative technique in this novel is his use of symbolism. An illustration of this is the way Jaggers always washed his hands after work to wash himself of what he had been doing. This suggests that he may have felt guilty of what he had done and wanted to wash it away reminiscent of Lady Macbeth in Shakespeare's play Macbeth who constantly washes her hands as an attempt to eradicate her guilty conscience. One of the strong disadvantages to the way Dickens has chosen to write the novel is that for a large majority of the novel the main character, Pip is a disagreeable, selfish character. ...read more.


You learn, from conversations like this ,Pips real character. Having studied the novel thoroughly I feel that this novel shows an excellent use of the first person narrative technique. The advantages out way the disadvantages by a tremendous amount. All the characters Dickens has created are original furthermore realistic which is very important for a novel. I believe the novel was a great success because of Dickens use of narrative technique. Also because it has a strong underling point that everyone should consider; class distinction is a recurring point in the book and although it is a somewhat light-hearted book it is something that Dickens clearly feels very strongly about. If there is one thing I have learnt from this book it is not to look down on people because of their money or indeed up to them. This is the one point I feel Dickens wanted people to understand from the book which is why I feel it was a success. It was brilliantly written; from beginning to end .Dickens use of description was superlative to many writers of the day .The way Pip explains his voyage through life is exhilarating, entertaining and effulgent. ...read more.

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