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Write a critical analysis concentrating upon how a sense of expectation is created and how the style of the passage and the themes and issues touched upon here are representative of the novel as a whole.

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Introduction

Write a critical analysis concentrating upon how a sense of expectation is created and how the style of the passage and the themes and issues touched upon here are representative of the novel as a whole Anticipation is created very early at the beginning of the passage when Pip comments that 'not another word had I heard to enlighten me on the subject of my expectations.' We are instantly reminded of the mystery of Pip's benefactor and that the following passage may divulge the patron's identity. Therefore, already an air of expectancy is created. First and foremost is the use of the first person narrator - a common and accepted format of realism in the 19th century. Unusually, our narrator is an older wiser Pip looking back at events, and is judgmental over his actions that he recounts, due to hindsight. (As a result of this, our sympathies are directed evenly between Magwitch and Pip). Immediately we realise that the narrator is very important as everything he points out in his narration is for a definite reason or effect because he knows the outcome and is leading the reader up to it in such a way as to draw out the underlying theme. In this passage we see the narrator creating suspense with a dark brooding almost supernatural atmosphere, hence heightening our perceptions as we realise that a major revelation is about to happen. Another aspect of first person narration in 'Great Expectations' is that the reader becomes more intimate with the character and therefore sensitive to his thoughts and feeling. ...read more.

Middle

The use of weather with reference to the sea is made good use of in: 'gloomy accounts had come in from the coast, of shipwreck and death', and the wind being like 'the discharges of cannon, or breakings of the sea'. With hindsight these are clear references to Magwitch - his time on the sea in the 'hulks' and the cannon remind us of that used in chapter two on the marshes to alert people to convicts. Also, the stormy rain is an omen of Magwitch's water-death struggle in the Thames. But as a first time reader these references only make subconscious links, so that their significance slowly dawns on the reader. The description of the weather is so terrifyingly dramatic that it is chilling and almost supernatural; one could say that when Pip first saw Magwitch it was so traumatic that he tried to bury the experience. The pressure of the hidden memories of Magwitch deep in his subconscious have built up so much that he has managed to bring about Magwitch's return. Of course the fact that Pip's benefactor is revealed to be Magwitch is clear that Pip's great expectations are at an end as he can not keep the money and he isn't intended to marry Estella. This emotional upheaval in Pip's life is magnificently portrayed in the narrative description of the weather leading up to Magwitch's return. Dickens personal style is clearly evident in the passage describing the stranger on the stair: '...that he had long iron-grey hair. ...read more.

Conclusion

Thus ironically Pip and Estella's status are almost inverted, and it is through this reversal that Pip realises the values of a true gentleman and in time learns to love Magwitch and place himself in hazardous situations for him. Near the end of the passage the first gesture that Magwitch makes is accounted by Pip as Magwitch holding 'out both his hands to me.' This action seems obscure, even if we have realised who the stranger is. It also creates an air of mystery and suspicion even at this late stage. Also we read that Pip sees the stranger 'looking up with an incomprehensible air of being touched and pleased by the sight of me' which contrasts dramatically with the earlier strained and violent nature of the elements. The fact that Magwitch is responsible for Pip's rise in social status to a gentleman is terribly ironic. Pip is at the height of his immoral conduct due to his uninformed view of what makes a gentleman (appearance, money and mixing with like people i.e. shunning lower class people such as Joe). In comparison with Magwitch's humble 'Master' references to him, Pip has inadvertently played up to the image of a gentleman that Magwitch has shunned and tried to get revenge at - i.e. Compeyson. The passage is the beginning of Chapter 39 and it is only from this chapter onwards that Pip stops misreading events (for example he finds out who is his benefactor), therefore this chapter is primary in terms of plot development. ...read more.

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