Great Expectations

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I wWith close reference to the text, how is mood and atmosphere created in the opening chapter of ‘Great Expectations’ by Charles Dickens.

Charles Dickens is the author of “Great Expectations” and he was born in eighteen twelve in Portsmouth. His family were great inspiration for the characters in his books as the character Mr. Micawber in David Copperfield was based on his father. All of Dickens book were very similar in the fact that they were all about lower class people. This shows that Dickens felt empathy towards them. Dickens could relate to this as his family were quite poor.

“Great Expectations” was first published serially in magazines in eighteen sixty. The novel is suitable for Victorian audiences because they could relate to the content of the novel, for example, the standard of living; the fact that women were seen as less important than men and Pips lifestyle. Dickens uses personal pronouns like, My, I and We, which makes the reader feel more involved in the story and they can imagine what it would have been like for the characters.  

The novel opens in the marsh country of England, wet and dispiriting, where young Pip, the protagonist, stands alone in a churchyard before seven gravestones, under which are buried his mother, father and five younger brothers. While Pip is standing in the graveyard a convict comes out from behind gravestones and questions him for food. The convict is a ragged looking man with an iron shackle on his leg which creates tension because it could be interpreted that he is a convict. This is a fast chain of events, which creates suspense.

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Opening chapters are very important because they set the scene. Pip is in a graveyard at the beginning of the opening chapter, which immediately thrusts an atmosphere of death upon the reader therefore creating an unpleasant and dispiriting atmosphere.

The title “Great Expectations” gives a commendable impression about the novel. “Great” is a positive adjective which gives a optimistic feeling about the novel. “Expectations” are hopes that something will happen, so “Great Expectations” are great hopes for the novel. The title is a juxtaposition of the first chapter as there is no “Great Expectations.”

Dickens uses a multitude of ...

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