Atmosphere and Tension in Great Expectations Essay

Atmosphere and Tension in Great Expectations Essay

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Atmosphere and Tension in Great Expectations

In this essay I am going to write about how Charles Dickens creates
atmosphere and tension in the opening chapter, of Great Expectations.
Because the audience cannot see what Dickens wants them to, he has to
create atmosphere and tension to guide the audience through the
incident, as well as hooking the audience by keeping them interested.
Dickens intentionally creates that atmosphere because he wants us to
feel sympathy for Pip and what he’s going through. And if we care
about what happens to Pip we keep interested. Atmosphere and tension
set the tone and mood of the book.

Dickens begins his book by starting with Pip at the graveyard to
create atmosphere and tension, by referring to death and tombstones.
The story is set in a time were disease and death were common, before
any major advances in medicine, and it was ordinary to loose a lot of
your close family to illness. We are told by Pip, that his mother,
father, and five little brothers were buried there but that is all we
are told. By doing this Dickens has deliberately created a felling of
solitude and helplessness and makes the reader feel and identify with
Pip. Dickens tells us the churchyard is overgrowing with nettles and
there are gravestones all around the area. Instantly the graveyard
creates a morbid feeling, and knowing that Pip’s dead relatives are
surrounding him produces a scary feeling, that you wouldn’t want to be
in yourself. The reader becomes worried that a young child is in such
a place alone, which adds to the dread that something might go wrong.

Dickens also uses weather to create atmosphere and tension by making
it seem bitter, and cruel. The weather is described as a “raw

... middle of paper ...

...e tombstone
obviously isn’t Pips he thinks he is going to die because of how the
convict is acting physically and verbally. It feels personal to him
and this is a fear-building phrase. Pip is portrayed as being
venerable and young. Dickens wants you to see him as an innocent, to
see him scared of what is going on as it is a new and shocking
experience. Dickens wants us to understand and sympathise with him.

Pip describes the convict as “a fearful man” and the convicts first
words as “a terrible voice”, which tells us that Pips first impression
of the convict is a fearful one. The convicts orders are written as if
they were directed at the reader. For a second we become pip and
undergo what Pip is going though. This creates tension as the reader
begins to understand what pip has felt.

Dickens uses colour as another factor to create atmosphere morbid.

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