Great Expectation Chapter 1

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Amy Robertson
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
How does Charles Dickens use language to set the scene and introduce us to the characters and themes in the opening chapter? In chapter one Dickens draws you in and leaves you with a cliff hanger. The main points in chapter one is a young boy called Pip who is in a churchyard at his parent’s graves crying and shivering and conversation with a convict. Dickens introduces us immediately to Pip who is the narrator of the story looking back on his own story as an adult you can tell this as Dickens introduces Pip, ‘’my father name being Pirrip, and my Christian name Philip, my infant tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit then Pip’’ dickens uses complex language with ‘’my infant tongue’’ this shows how the older Pip is telling the story in past tense. Young Pip is staring at the gravestones of his parents he has never met them because they died soon after his birth and his five little brothers. Pip tells us at present that he lives with his sister ‘’Mrs Joe Gargery, who is married to a blacksmith’’. Paragraph three describes how the churchyard is next to marshes and sets the scene for something bad to happen. Dickens at the end of paragraph three introduces us to the convict and what he wants. In the third paragraph, Charles Dickens uses powerful adjectives to describe the landscape in which Pip lives, ‘’and that the dark flat wilderness beyond the churchyard, intersected with dykes and mounds and gates, with scattered cattle feeding on it, was the marshes;’’ . Dickens gives you a sense of fear by using a metaphor to describe the sea as a ‘’distant savage lair’’ this is linked to the sense that the marsh is a savage place, which relates to the appearance of the convict as a fearful man to Pip as he will be introduced. The words ‘’ours was a marsh country’’, makes the marshes seem mysterious. As Dickens goes on to tell us that Pip is in a churchyard and sets the scene for how the weather...
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