How Does Charles Dickens Create An Effective Opening To "Great Expectations"?

1339 words - 5 pages

Charles Dickens must create an effective opening because these stories would be serialised, so the opening was most important because there would be long gaps between the publications of these chapters, so therefore he had to keep the readers attention enough to make them want to read the following publication. This would be successful if there was enough tension built in the first chapter/publication.The beginning introduces the characters, which consist of a narrative voice, Philip Pirrip who is the more mature and adult of the Philip Pirrip (Pip). We find this out because at the beginning of the chapter Philip explains where the name Pip came from, "my infant tongue could make both names nothing longer or more explicit than Pip". This single sentence introduces the time in which this first chapter will be based in. Pip, and this first person narrative gives us Pip's personal response to the strange and often sinister places in which he finds himself. It also introduces the theme and genre of the novel which in this case would be thriller.The atmosphere in the beginning is not pleasant. The novel opens in the marsh country of England, land raw and wet, where young Pip stands alone in a churchyard before seven gravestones, under which are buried Pip's mother, father and five younger brothers. The sight of these stones starts Pip crying. The time in which the beginning is based is depressing. It is early evening/late afternoon; he describes the skies as being "raw" which show just how childish pip at this time was. However the Graveyard being Dark, abandoned and neglected also relate to the Characters. Pip as being a child would not be treated as such children are today, he lived during the 18th centenary. We know this because while pip was mourning over his dead family, he says "for their days were long before the days of photographs" the camera was first invented in the 18th Century (the pin-hole camera). In the 18th Century child abuse was not frowned on by public society as much as it is in the present day. Children had to suffer child enforced labor and also regular daily beatings. This also relates to Charles Dickens, as a child Charles would also have been beaten daily and would also had to have worked as a child, he worked in a factory pasting labels on shoe polish bottles.In only one chapter we as the reader learn much about the character of Pip. Pip is introduced not as a child but as a "bundle of shivers". Furthermore, we learn he has a great imagination; he has no evidence of what his mother and farther looked like along with all of his brothers. So Pip is left only with the picture of his parents created by his childish and powerful imagination. Even when he is older he comes to recognise how childish he was; "childish conclusion". This also reinforces the idea of the narrator as being Pip grown up, because he wouldn't be able to say this if he still was a young child. We also recognise how small, innocent and helpless this character...

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