Charles Dickens' Great Expectations Essay

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Charles Dickens' Great Expectations

Chapter one of the novel Great Expectations opens in a bleak and overgrown churchyard on the eerie marsh country. Here we are introduced to Pip, as a young and naïve boy, and we discover he is also an orphan, who lives with sister and her husband the blacksmith, in a small village a mile or more from the church.

Whilst Pip is in the churchyard, he meets an escaped convict,
Magwitch, whom Pip gives food to, and this encounter remains poignant in both their lives, as Pip goes on to receive the opportunity to become a gentleman, from a mysterious benefactor, and he abandons his friends and family for his “Great Expectations” and his London lifestyle. The desolate choice of setting and
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In this first chapter, we are introduced mainly to just Pip and
Magwitch, but are told briefly about Mr and Mrs Joe, and their relationship with Pip-Mrs Joe being Pip’s elder sister and carer, and
Mr Joe Gargery her wife, and also the local blacksmith.

Pip is the narrator throughout the novel. He tells the story making it easy to relate to, and easy to understand. This helps the reader to gain a deeper understanding of Pip’s character, as we see two Pips- a young Pip, and an older Pip, therefore we see what happens clearly, through two points of view. The younger Pip has a childlike view of the world and his surroundings, he is terrified and naïve, and is scared of Magwitch and believes everything that he says, whereas the older Pip puts things into perspective, is much more educated, and tells the truth. We see how scared of Magwitch young Pip is when
Magwitch is threatening him, because he uses words such as “I pleaded in terror”, “I was seated…trembling” and “I was dreadfully frightened”. This is an indication of how we view the world as young children and we can remember how everyone larger than us seemed threatening and “alien like" to us. The older Pip uses a contrasting description to assure us that Magwitch is not as scary as he first appears, by saying “he hugged his shuddering body” and "limped”. This is creating a much more dejected image of the poor convict, and is suggesting that Pip now
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