The Devices Charles Dickens Uses to Engage the Interest of the Reader

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Discuss the range of devices Charles dickens uses to engage the interest of the reader in the opening chapters of Great Expectations

It’s essential for a novel’s opening to engage the reader’s interest, if the opening isn’t fun or exciting they won’t bother reading on. At first ‘Great Expectations’ was published in magazines and in sets of two to three chapters, he mostly ended each in ‘series’ because of this with a cliff hanger, so that the readers would be eager to find out ‘what happened next’?

At the beginning of the novel dickens created a feeling of anxiety, yet the story opens in an introductory type of way as Pip tells us his name and his background making it humorous to the reader, he also describes the features of
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Dickens uses an interesting metaphor, “The distant savage lair from which the wind was rushing, was the sea” which makes us; think about a ferocious beast attacking young Pip. Here Dickens is showing us how creative and imaginative a young child’s imagination is, in this case it’s Pip and how he thinks the wind is a beast trying to get him, which will also makes the reader concerned too. As chapter 2 opened we saw an interesting contrast, as Pip runs in to his home we expect it to be a safety place, we were wrong, instead it is much more dangerous than the wilderness and the marshes because the ‘tickler’ (a wax-ended piece of cane, worn smooth by collision) was being applied to him by his sister. His sister, “applied Tickler to its further investigation” and then, “she concluded by throwing me”. The modern readers would find this very disturbing but in Dickens’ time hitting children was expected to put them ‘right’, they used the proverb in the Bible,
“Spare the rod and spoil the child” and this was something Victorian parents believed in and used to discipline there children.

Charles Dickens also uses a double strand narrative for effect, this means that he sometimes uses the younger Pip’s view of the world while at other times he uses the older Pip’s view in a more distanced and ironical stance. The older Pip once looks back and realises something which he didn’t realise before and puts some irony into it,

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