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What is the Significance of Chapter One of 'Great Expectations' in Relation to the Novel as a Whole?

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What is the Significance of Chapter One of 'Great Expectations' in Relation to the Novel as a Whole? 'Great Expectations' is a novel written by Charles Dickens and is considered to be one of his best stories. The plot follows a young boy named Phillip Pirrip or 'Pip' and it focuses on his growth as he matures from a young boy into a fully grown man. He had always had great expectations of himself, wishing to become someone of high social class - as this was set and written in the Victorian era when social class was a huge factor of society - and when he ends up visiting an eccentric woman called Miss Haversham he meets a beautiful young girl called Estella who becomes more important later on. After he discovers that he has a secret benefactor who begins to fund his life. Pip assumes that this benefactor is Miss Haversham but the truth is that it is a criminal, who Pip helped as a child, ...read more.


Also the fact that the novel follows his growth and the word Pip is also used to describe a small seed which grows into something bigger. The setting from the start of the book is very important starting with the bleak and stereotypical graveyard that gives the chapter tension and a gloomy mood. The graveyard is a typical example of how the setting contributes to the atmosphere of the story. Starting the book in a graveyard immediately informs the reader about a lot of information about Pips history and under different circumstances it would have taken a lot longer to explain; things like Pip's parents and family, which were quickly and subtlety explained to the readers using the gravestones when Magwitch asked "Where's your mother?" and Pip's response being "There sir" as he points to his Mother, Father and five sibling's gravestones. Throughout the book the setting reflects Pip's mood e.g. ...read more.


to show the dialect "pint out the place", "Who d'ye live with..." also Dickens has cleverly shown that Magwitch is uneducated, carefully placing mistakes in his grammar when he talks "And you know what wittles is?" In conclusion I believe that chapter one is very significant because it sets the scene and establishes the mood, setting, themes and character. It also leaves you wondering at the end of the chapter who this Magwitch is and where he comes from, also why he has been chained. This sense of mystery is also left at the end of the book when he and Estella depart as adults and it say "I saw no shadow of another parting from her", now this has two meanings it could mean that the next time they met they never left each other and lived together forever or it could mean that they never saw each other again. It kind of, at the end, leaves an opening as if it could carry on and maybe it was meant to carry on in the newspaper or magazine and never did. Keelan Peters English 10DU 1 ...read more.

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