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Chapter One Of Great Expectations Essay

759 words - 3 pages

What is the Significance of Chapter One of Great Expectations in
Relation to the Novel as a Whole?

'Great Expectations' is a novel written by Charles Dickens and is
considered to be one of his best stories. The plot follows a young boy
named Phillip Pirrip or 'Pip' and it focuses on his growth as he
matures from a young boy into a fully grown man. He had always had
great expectations of himself, wishing to become someone of high
social class - as this was set and written in the Victorian era when
social class was a huge factor of society - and when he ends up
visiting an eccentric woman called Miss Haversham he meets a beautiful
young girl called Estella who becomes more important later on. After
he discovers that he has a secret benefactor who begins to fund his
life. Pip assumes that this benefactor is Miss Haversham but the truth
is that it is a criminal, who Pip helped as a child, called Magwitch
and when Pip discovers this at the age of 23 he despises the idea that
his success is due to a criminal's money. Pip became dependant on the
money causing himself to fall into dabts and so Pip loses his fortune
and ends up, socially, where he started.

From chapter one you get the impression that Pip is vulnerable. From
the first three lines the reader becomes familiar with Pip as it is an
introduction in the first person narrative and it gives background
information on his parents and how he came about getting the nickname,
almost like a prologue. It also sets the time period "(for their days
were long before the days of photographs)" referring to his parents.
The nickname 'Pip' may have been selected for many reasons, one reason
might be that the word sounds very small and vulnerable as the
character of Pip is and it also makes you image him as being you even
towards the later parts of the book when he is older as he is still
called Pip. Also the fact that the novel follows his growth and the
word Pip is also used to describe a small seed which grows into
something bigger.

The setting from the start of the book is very important starting with
the bleak and stereotypical graveyard that gives the chapter tension
and a gloomy mood. The graveyard is a typical example of how the
setting contributes to the atmosphere of the story. Starting the book
in a graveyard immediately informs...

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