"Great Expectations" Charles Dickens Atmosphere/Ambience And How It Is Developed (Notes Easliy Converted To Essay)

1222 words - 5 pages

Speech* The speech of the narrator (Pip) and the characters affects the atmosphere of the story greatly. For example, a cold tone is used in Estella's speech to develop a harsh atmosphere. The tone of voice reflects the mood of the scene and often the atmosphere changes as the tone of the narrator and that of the character changes.* When the Pip is under certain circumstances, the narrator says things in a different way: the way in which he conveys to the convict (Magwitch) that he could pay more attention if he was upright is humorous: "If you would kindly please to keep me upright, sir, perhaps I shouldn't be sick and perhaps I could attend more." Normal people put in this situation would not conduct themselves in such an orderly and proper manner. It lightens the ambience slightly and thereby makes the prospect of Magwitch being a terrifying criminal seem further from the truth.* The appearance of Magwitch being a scary criminal versus the reality of him being an innocent person (even if he is slightly rough around the edges from prison-life) highlights what sort of an impact atmosphere can have. In this case, the atmosphere is developed by the type of speech used by Magwitch and the narrator: "'Hold your noise!' cried a terrible voice, as a man started up from among the graves at the side of the church porch. 'Hold your noise or I'll cut your throat!' A fearful man, all in coarse gray, with a great iron on his leg." The words used by the narrator portray him as an angry, coarse and fearful man, and are further reinforced by his frightening outburst towards Pip and create an atmosphere of fear.* At Satis House, Dickens creates a cold harsh atmosphere through Estella and Miss Havisham's speech towards Pip: "'Let me see you play cards with this boy.' 'With this boy! Why, he is a common labouring-boy!'" They talk harshly and bluntly as if Pip is not present to hear their conversation and/or he is inferior to them. Estella does this throughout the play until she goes 'abroad'. When she comes back, she is far more compassionate and friendly towards Pip and does not speak of him in the same manner. Pip reacts to this atmosphere with disdain upon himself and his life. He starts to hate himself, who he is and what he is likely to become. He begins to have aspirations of being a gentleman dreaming that then Estella will love him. This self-hatred comes as a result of the coldness of Estella and Miss Havisham towards his place in society.Symbols/Motifs* Atmosphere is also developed in "Great Expectations" through the use of symbols and motifs such as bars or lines, irons, the gibbet and chains.* Bars appear at the end of chapter one: "The Marshes were just a long, black, horizontal line then, as I stopped to look after him [Magwitch]; and the river was just another horizontal line, not nearly so broad nor yet so black; and the sky was just a row of long, angry, red lines and dense black lines inter-mixed." These lines give a melancholy feeling in this...

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