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Effectiveness of the Opening Chapter to Great Expectations Essay

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Charles Dickens ?Great Expectations? was written during the 19th century, published in weekly installments in a magazine. The novel is based around Pip, the opportunities he is presented with and the difficulties he has to face. In the first chapter we are introduced to Pip, and Magwitch, an escaped convict. The theme of crime and punishment immediately draws us in. Dickens uses a number of techniques to ensure the readers continuing interest, such as pathetic fallacy, metaphor, themes, symbolism, and adjectives. When the convict appears, Dickens describes him using powerful word such as ?stung? ?glared? ?growled? ?terror? and ?savage? which immediately grabs the readers attention. Pip is described here as ?the small bundle of shivers…show more content…
When Magwitch, the convict is first introduced, the reader makes an immediate judgment that he is a terrifying, menacing, wild, unpleasant man. He ?limps, shivered, glared and growled? he was ?sudden and strong? and threatens and demands Pip do things for him. All the while Pip refers to him as ?Sir? showing his respectful and kind nature. Pip ?looked helplessly up into his eyes? and gives him a ?greater sense of helplessness and danger? reinforcing the idea that Pip is innocent and vulnerable. During the rest of the novel, the characters of Pip and Magwitch develop and change in many ways. Pip becomes a rich gentleman and becomes distant and isolated from his family, Joe Gargery in particular, and begins to feel almost ?ashamed? of his upbringing and background. He becomes almost a shadow of his vulnerable, naïve, former self. Magwitch however returns from jail in Australia a polite, gentle, warm, softer man. When Magwitch returns, in chapter 39, the readers previous opinion of him is immediately changed, as he reveals that every penny he has earned since their last meeting has gone towards Pip, to ensure that he lives a good life, and becomes a gentleman. Magwitch is now perceived as a noble, honorable man, as he has lived a poor, poverty stricken life of hard labor, and sacrificed luxury just to ensure Pip grows up a rich gentleman. Pip is now portrayed as being selfish and
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