Great Expectations Essay

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Great Expectations Coursework

In this essay I am going to be exploring chapter 1 and chapter 39 of the novel ‘Great Expectations’ by Charles Dickens. In this essay I am going to be focusing on the language, structure, setting, character and historical context that Charles Dickens uses in his novel.

The novel ‘Great Expectations’ was written in 1861 by Charles Dickens. The story is about a boy named Pip growing up and moving to London to become a gentleman. There are many twists in the story such as Pip finds out that a convict who meets in the opening chapter is actually paying for all his expenses to become a gentleman.

Dickens wrote this novel from his perspective, as he also had a very troubled childhood. He wrote this novel as a way of letting all his emotions out about his past and let people hear Pip’s story which is very similar to the childhood he led.


In this paragraph, I am going to be focusing on the setting that Dickens uses in his novel ‘Great Expectations’ and why he uses it. In the opening chapter, the novel is set in a marsh country which is described as ‘Ours was the marsh country, down by the river, within, as the river wound, twenty miles of the sea.’

In the phrase ‘twenty miles of sea’, Dickens has used exaggeration to show that pip feels trapped on a marsh land and all there is, is the sea. He has exaggerated on the ‘twenty miles’ to make it seem like sea goes on forever. This symbolizes that Pips life is dull like marshes and his life will be a never ending dullness like the sea.

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This Chapter links in with Chapter 39 because Pip feels very isolated. In Chapter 39, Herbert had taken a trip to Marseille and Pip was left alone again much like he is in this chapter. It shows he is feeling isolated from the following phrase; ‘I was alone, and had a dull sense of being alone.’

In the first chapter, Pip describes the afternoon as a ‘raw afternoon towards evening’. In this scene, Pip has gone to visit his mother’s grave at the churchyard which he describes a ‘bleak place overgrown with nettles’. The thoughts of darkness and gloom ...

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