Essay on Chapter One of Great Expectations

Essay on Chapter One of Great Expectations

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What is the Significance of Chapter One of Great Expectations in
Relation to the Novel as a Whole?

'Great Expectations' is a novel written by Charles Dickens and is
considered to be one of his best stories. The plot follows a young boy
named Phillip Pirrip or 'Pip' and it focuses on his growth as he
matures from a young boy into a fully grown man. He had always had
great expectations of himself, wishing to become someone of high
social class - as this was set and written in the Victorian era when
social class was a huge factor of society - and when he ends up
visiting an eccentric woman called Miss Haversham he meets a beautiful
young girl called Estella who becomes more important later on. After
he discovers that he has a secret benefactor who begins to fund his
life. Pip assumes that this benefactor is Miss Haversham but the truth
is that it is a criminal, who Pip helped as a child, called Magwitch
and when Pip discovers this at the age of 23 he despises the idea that
his success is due to a criminal's money. Pip became dependant on the
money causing himself to fall into dabts and so Pip loses his fortune
and ends up, socially, where he started.

From chapter one you get the impression that Pip is vulnerable. From
the first three lines the reader becomes familiar with Pip as it is an
introduction in the first person narrative and it gives background
information on his parents and how he came about getting the nickname,
almost like a prologue. It also sets the time period "(for their days
were long before the days of photographs)" referring to his parents.
The nickname 'Pip' may have been selected for many reasons, one reason
might be that the word sounds very small and vulnerable as the
character of ...


... middle of paper ...


...at Magwitch is uneducated,
carefully placing mistakes in his grammar when he talks "And you know
what wittles is?"

In conclusion I believe that chapter one is very significant because
it sets the scene and establishes the mood, setting, themes and
character. It also leaves you wondering at the end of the chapter who
this Magwitch is and where he comes from, also why he has been
chained. This sense of mystery is also left at the end of the book
when he and Estella depart as adults and it say "I saw no shadow of
another parting from her", now this has two meanings it could mean
that the next time they met they never left each other and lived
together forever or it could mean that they never saw each other
again. It kind of, at the end, leaves an opening as if it could carry
on and maybe it was meant to carry on in the newspaper or magazine and
never did.

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