Charles Dickens: Great Expectations

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Charles Dickens: Great Expectations Describe how Dickens creates atmosphere and introduces characters in Chapter One of Great Expectations. In this essay I am going to describe how Dickens successfully uses tension and drama to create atmosphere and to introduce his characters status, emotions and identity in the opening chapter of Great Expectations. The central character, Pip, is followed from youth as he makes the journey from poverty to riches and back again as he attempts to fulfil his own great expectations. To do this I will be examining in close detail the techniques he used to sustain the reader’s interest in the first chapter. Dickens introduces the opening of this novel with death “from their tombstones” and violence “Don’t cut my throat!” This is a typical convention of gothic literature. This chapter is set among desolate marshes in a ruined graveyard. The weather plays an important part in the opening chapter “the sky was a row of long angry red lines” and “dense black lines”; “the wind was “rushing”. These are examples of pathetic fallacy, this is when the weather is used to reflect what is happening in the story. To create atmosphere Dickens drags out how Pip’s family is all dead and how Pip is alone in the world, “dead and buried”. This makes the readers feel sorry for Pip because he is all alone in the world and we don’t know yet whether he has somebody to look after him or not. However later on in the chapter we are told that he lives with his sister and her husband the blacksmith “[Mr. And] Mrs. Joe Gargery”. Dickens uses a lot of metaphors to describe what he is saying in the story “Savage lair from ... ... middle of paper ... ...man who may be heading towards the end of his life “A man whose legs are mumbled and stiff”. In the eyes of young Pip, he describes Magwitch as though he were “eluding the hands of the dead people,” this conveys an image of dead people pulling him in to the grave, which is a classical image of gothic literature “hellish” On the whole, the convict has a sense of humor “I wish I was a frog”, he also makes idle threats and his emotions are shown. In conclusion Dickens successfully creates atmosphere and introduces character in chapter one of great expectations with the use of repetition “he tilted me again”, metaphors “the low leaden line beyond was the river” and the use of verbs instead of adjectives “lamed” and “stung”. Humor is also used to add drama to this chapter “I earnestly expressed my hope that he wouldn’t”

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