Vivid Images of Character and Place in the Opening Chapter To Dickens' Great Expectations
The opening chapter to Great Expectations introduces Pip who is the
main protagonist in the story. He is an orphan and lives with his
sister Mrs Joe Gargery and her husband who is a blacksmith. The story
is set in the graveyard in the time of the Industrial Revolution. In
the opening chapter we also see Pip being introduced to a convict who
is very poor but very rude to the child. The convict threatens Pip and
warns him that if he does not get any food for him, he will be in
In the opening chapter we see Charles Dickens (the author) use a range
of different language techniques that builds the readers minds about
the character and the setting of the story. He uses metaphors and
describing words as well as the 1st person view from Pip.
The first paragraph tells the readers that the main protagonist tells
the story. Pip talks about his images of the family and his views when
he sees them in their tombstones. Charles Dickens make the readers
feel sorry for Pip through his view on them.
' My first fancies regarding what they were like were unreasonably
derived from their tombstones.'
This quote shows that Pip can only remember his family through death
and his childhood life was very sad.
Dickens also uses an important metaphor in the same paragraph that
also reflects on the sad childhood that Pip had.
'To five little stone lozenges each about one and a half foot long'.
This quote causes the readers to feel more sympathised for Pip. This
quote also links to the graveyard where the story is set.
Before Pip meets the convict we see how Dickens creates the atmosphere
and the setting. He uses short sentences as well as alliteration and
metaphors. This makes the readers feel more interested about the
'And that the low leaden line beyond, was the river; and that the
distant savage lair from which the wind was rushing.'
This quote shows the readers can build an image of what the setting
was like as well as gaining more attention to the story.
Pip then meets the convict who is very poor but brutal and violent. We
notice how there is no identity for the convict at the start. Dickens
introduces the convict to make the readers feel shocked.
'Keep still, you little devil, or I'll cut your throat.'
This quote indicates to the readers that the convict is being verbal
to Pip as well as making them feel terrified.
Dickens also shows the convicts status by talking about what he is
wearing. We notice how the author uses particular colours about the
convict. He uses a variety of adjectives which shows the convict's
poor status and that he is not a gentleman.
'A fearful man, all in coarse grey, with a great iron on his leg'.
' A man who had been...