Show how the opening chapter of ?Great Expectation Essays and Papers

This essay has a total of 1592 words and 7 pages.

Show how the opening chapter of ?Great Expectations? by Charles Dickens is effective in
arousing the interest of the reader

During his early childhood Charles Dickens travelled Great Britain due to his father's
job. H lived in mainly coastal towns as his father was a naval clerk and therefore became
familiar with the scenes reflected in Great Expectations. Dickens has used memorable
scenes and characters from his childhood; the marshes representing one of his youth time
homes and many of the characters being written in the reflections of family members. Great
Expectations seems to have been produced using the memories of Dickens' life. When he was
younger his whole family was imprisoned for debt except for Charles; he was old enough to
get a job in a blacking factory. Pip may be an image of Dickens because he too was left by
his family as they all passed away when he was very young. Pip's family was also large
just like Dickens': there were eight children in Dickens' family and seven in Pip's. If
anybody wanted a depiction of what Dickens' life was like then they may well read this
novel as it represents what life was like living in Dickens' time so much better than
facts and figures would. The novel resembles Dickens' life in so many more ways as well.
From background reading I know that Mrs Joe Gargery was written in the image of Dickens'
mother. Mrs Gargery has had to be a mother figure for Pip since he was a young boy. She
appears strict and quite harsh on Pip.

From the beginning, Pip appears to be childlike. He is still calling himself "Pip" which
is all that his "infant tongue could make of" his two names Phillip Pirrip. This makes Pip
appear naive or simple because he hasn't yet grown up to be called his proper name of
Phillip. The naivety of Pip seems to be a running theme through this extract. The way he
determined the characters of his deceased parents and siblings from their tombstones is
immature. The reasons for this may be because Pip had no-one around his age to grow up
with and so has been kept as a child by the over-powering presence of his sister and the
playful antics of his brother-in-law. Soon sympathy for Pip develops as he seems helpless.
He has gone to visit his parents, maybe in the hope to feel close to them, yet he is left
alone and feels isolated. Pips isolation and vulnerability is revealed when he describes
himself as "bundle of shivers". These three words produce powerful emotions, for me,
because I would associate them with something as defenceless as a puppy or a kitten.

As soon as Magwitch appears Pip is frightened of him. When Magwitch threatens him he
starts to plead "in terror". His dialogue is pleading and he "prays". This makes it seem
as though in times of desperation, Pip's faith is still strong. This is representative of
the time as most people were God-fearing and regularly attended church. Sympathy soon
develops for Pip because he has this intimidating man bearing down upon him, threatening
to eat him. The sympathy soon turns into empathy because Pip describes himself as
"undersized" and "not strong". These two adjectives make Pip appear even more at risk than

Although Pip may be scared he is still able to negotiate with Magwitch. This may show
great maturity on Pip's behalf because he is not so frightened that he is unable to think
straight. This developed attitude is displayed when Magwitch is threatening Pip. Pip
specifically says "If you would let me sit straight…perhaps I could attend more". This
shows great braveness because Pip has negotiated with Magwitch instead of showing fear.

Even though Magwitch is hostile towards Pip, Pip is still as respectful as he would be
towards other adults. He continues to call him "Sir" all the time that Magwitch is
bullying him. This shows that even though Pip shows maturity he may still be scared. This
shows that he is still childlike.

His childish attitude is again displayed when he is threatened with the young man. This
shows childishness because it seems impossible that this young man could be real because
of the threats made about him. His naivety is portrayed when he engages with the cattle.
This is a childish thing to do and may encourage the ideas that Pip doesn't really have
any friends instead he has animals as friends. He may believe that the cattle actually
think that Magwitch was the "pirate come to life". This is an immature prospect because
the cattle wouldn't actually know about pirates or their executions.

Pip also appears to have a very morbid imagination. He thinks that the "dead hands are
reaching out" of the graves. Also that the dead pirate is going back to where he was
killed. These morbid thoughts may be due to the fact that most of his family died before
he could remember them and he has had to live his whole life visiting their graves.

Continues for 4 more pages >>

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