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Great Expectations - ‘How does Dickens engage the reader in the opening section of the novel?’ Free essay! Download now

Home > GCSE > English literature > Great Expectations - ‘How does Dickens engage the reader in the opening section of the novel?’

Great Expectations - ‘How does Dickens engage the reader in the opening section of the novel?’

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Downloads to date: N/A | Words: 2600 | Submitted: 12-Mar-2008
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Description

Opening Analysis

‘How does Dickens engage the reader in the opening section of the novel?’

Preview

The novel “Great Expectations” was written by Charles Dickens in 1860. Dickens was a prolific author who lived between 1812 to1870 and the novel “Great Expectations” was written some ten years before his death. Charles Dickens was acutely aware of social issues such as crime and poverty and the social injustices experienced by many people and he often incorporated such issues into his novels.

Great Expectations was written in an autobiographical format about an orphan named ‘Pip’ who is the narrator. Pip recounts the extraordinary experiences which he encountered during his childhood. The novel opens with a long first person narrative recounted by Phillip Pirrip (Pip) concerning his recollection of a memorable, traumatic and life altering event that occurred during his childhood. He recalls the occasion with hindsight and reminisces about how his thought processes as a child were bizarre and illogical. He is fascinated about his personality and behaviour in childhood which distinctly contrasts his perceptions and understandings of the same occurrences as a mature adult. This notion intrigues the reader from the outset since the reader has to accept the existence of a dual persona, two parallel characters; adult Pip and child Pip.

The sombre opening narrative is set in the churchyard where Pip is visiting the graves of his parents and siblings whom he never met.

‘My first fancies regarding what they were like, were unreasonably derived from their tombstones.’

He uses his imagination to characterise his parents based on absurd information available such as the shape of lettering on the tomb stone:

“The shape of the letters on my father’s gave me an odd idea that he was a square, stout, dark man, with curly black hair.”

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