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Chapter 39 Great Expectations Essay

1109 words - 4 pages

Chapter 39 is a Pivotal One, Why? How does Dickens communicate the
importance of the drama of the chapter to the reader?

In chapter 39, Pip's benefactor is revealed. It is around this person
that the mystery of Pip's expectations is built. It is a pivotal
chapter in the way the plot develops. In this chapter Pip finally
accepts that the way he acted in London was wrong and that chasing
Estella was very pointless. The importance and drama of this chapter
can be seen from the beginning. Dickens shows this to the reader in
many ways, such as the build-up of atmosphere between certain people,
the drama and the mystery behind Magwitch's behaviour and the way he
acts, and Pip's often fluttering state of emotion. The first couple of
lines from the chapter read: "I was three and twenty years of age. Not
another word had I heard to enlighten me on the subject of my
expectations, and my twenty-third birthday was a week gone." It also
makes the reader think about where Pip's wealth is coming from. This
makes the reader very curious, and also possibly provides a clue that
something relating to the mystery about the wealth may soon be
answered. Pip describes the absence of Herbert as leaving him
"dispirited and anxious, and long disappointed", and "the day just
closed as I sat down to read had been the worst of all." Nothing has
happened, but there is the feeling that everything is not as it seems,
which is then made clearer by Dickens' description of the atmosphere
of London: "It was wretched weather; stormy and wet, stormy and wet:
and mud, mud, mud, deep in all the streets. Day after day, a vast
heavy veil had been driving over London from the East, and it drove
still, as if in the East there were an eternity of cloud and wind."

This is a very bleak and sad description and it is almost as if nature
herself knows of the happening that is soon to take over Pip's entire
happiness and again, is possibly a clue that a shocking announcement
is soon to be made to Pip, again bringing the reader's curiosity into
play. The following two paragraphs are full of surprise and images,
metaphors and similes - "the wind rushing up the river shook the house
that night, like discharges of cannon, or breakings of a sea"; "I
might have fancied myself in a storm-beaten lighthouse" - as well as
very long and specific meaningful sentences. Dickens' dramatic images
and his attention to detail keep's the drama flowing and the
atmosphere dead, but the mood of the chapter is now also more deep and
violent. However, it is then, quite suddenly, that amongst all of the
noise and darkness that Pip says: "I heard a footstep on the stair".
This statement lets the reader know that Pip is not alone therefore
making the reader more intrigued, intrigued to know who it is that is
there with Pip. Dickens's now has the readers' attention therefore
still creating drama. The drama is created because as the reader we
immediately want to find out who is...

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