Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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Ch. Dickens, Great expectations

The text under consideration presents an excerpt from the novel “Great expectations” by Charles Dickens who is one of the world’s greatest novelists of the 19th century famous for his criticism of the bourgeois society of his time with its evils and contrasts of wealth and poverty, his unique mastery of character drawing and optimistic point of view concerning life and the world around him. The reader highly appreciates Dickens’s spirit of optimism, his love for common people and his strong belief in the final victory of good over evil as well as his humour which is to be found on every page and in characters and incidents of the greatest diversity. However, Dickens possesses a great dramatic instinct which can be proved by the following extract.

On a stormy rainy night a young man named Pip is reading a book when a strange visitor interrupts him appearing unexpectedly. Pip lets him in wondering what has brought the man to his flat. While talking to him Pip suddenly begins to recognize the guest whose strange behavior confuses the young man. The stranger turns out to be Pip’s mysterious benefactor whom he helped escape from pursuit when a child and this fact shocks Pip so much for he considers his present status to be his own achievement. The convict reveals secret after secret and does not conceal his pride of Pip’s being a real gentleman.

The extract under consideration presents a piece of 1st person narration which proves to be more objective from the point of view of the novel protagonist with elements of colorful description and vivid portrayal intercepted with a dialog and flashbacks deepening the reader’s penetration into the character thoughts.

The prevalent mood of the excerpt is gloomy, nervous and disturbing, full of anxiety and tension maintained by the weather behind the window of the Pip’s room with an air of approaching disaster. With every coming word the author creates the atmosphere of a lonely stormy evening that brings not only disaster but also renders the character’s thoughts, his state of mind and soul, his vague foreboding of radical but inevitable changes that are both captivating ad dramatic. With the tonality of the narration gradually shifting along the scale of intensiveness the text under analysis can be split into four logical parts and the following names can be suggested for each of them. The 1st part titled “An anticipatory fear” introduces the reader into the story and forms the background against which all the events take place. The 2nd one bears the name “The stranger in the room” acquainting the reader with the uninvited guest who is the embodiment of mystery and enigma. The 3d part of the excerpt called “The present meets the past” provides the reader with some new information concerning the protagonist’s early life and reasons his present behavior. The final part which presents the climax of the extract can be named “The revelation” answering the questions aroused in the previous parts. Let us consider each part of the text separately.

The 1st part of the extract serves as introduction into a stormy and dark evening provoking the whole chain of mysterious and striking events happening to the protagonist of the novel Pip reading a book late at night in his small London flat at the top floor of the building. Every detail introduced by the author is called upon enhancing the gloominess of the atmosphere and preparing the reader for the events forthcoming. To intensify the wretchedness of the weather of the weather the writer resorts to the whole palette of stylistic devices – numerous repetitions (“stormy and wet, stormy and wet”, “mud, mud, mud”) to form the background against the events take place and gradually draw the reader into the story who comes across another SD – polysyndeton (and… and… and) that is another type of repetition which intensifies the increasing strain and growing nervousness. Apart from that Dickens metaphorically...
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