We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Charles Dickens “Great Expectations” Essay Sample

The whole doc is available only for registered users OPEN DOC
  • Pages:
  • Word count: 1080
  • Category: novel

Get Full Essay

Get access to this section to get all help you need with your essay and educational issues.

Get Access

Charles Dickens “Great Expectations” Essay Sample

Charles Dickens is the author of “Great Expectations” and he was born in eighteen twelve in Portsmouth. His family were great inspiration for the characters in his books as the character Mr. Micawber in David Copperfield was based on his father. All of Dickens book were very similar in the fact that they were all about lower class people. This shows that Dickens felt empathy towards them. Dickens could relate to this as his family were quite poor.

“Great Expectations” was first published serially in magazines in eighteen sixty. The novel is suitable for Victorian audiences because they could relate to the content of the novel, for example, the standard of living; the fact that women were seen as less important than men and Pips lifestyle. Dickens uses personal pronouns like, My, I and We, which makes the reader feel more involved in the story and they can imagine what it would have been like for the characters.

The novel opens in the marsh country of England, wet and dispiriting, where young Pip, the protagonist, stands alone in a churchyard before seven gravestones, under which are buried his mother, father and five younger brothers. While Pip is standing in the graveyard a convict comes out from behind gravestones and questions him for food. The convict is a ragged looking man with an iron shackle on his leg which creates tension because it could be interpreted that he is a convict. This is a fast chain of events, which creates suspense.

Opening chapters are very important because they set the scene. Pip is in a graveyard at the beginning of the opening chapter, which immediately thrusts an atmosphere of death upon the reader therefore creating an unpleasant and dispiriting atmosphere.

The title “Great Expectations” gives a commendable impression about the novel. “Great” is a positive adjective which gives a optimistic feeling about the novel. “Expectations” are hopes that something will happen, so “Great Expectations” are great hopes for the novel. The title is a juxtaposition of the first chapter as there is no “Great Expectations.”

Dickens uses a multitude of techniques to create mood and atmosphere and numerous examples of these are in the first chapter. Mood is the state of a person’s feelings or temper and atmosphere is the surrounding feeling. These are important in a novel as it makes the writing more gratifying.

Pip has never seen his mother or father, “As I never saw any likeness of them either.” Pip had to draw conclusions from the descriptions on their gravestones,” derived from their tombstones.” You feel empathy towards Pip as he still has love for his mother and father.

A technique that Dickens expends is describing the setting at the beginning of the chapter. That graveyard at the start of the chapter is a typical example of how the setting contributes to the novel because in order to capture the reader’s imagination the description must be able to paint a picture in your head. Dickens describes the graveyard as a, “bleak place overgrown with nettles.” The use of the word “bleak” creates atmosphere as it makes the place sound cold and unwelcoming.

To follow on from this, Dickens uses alliteration to describe the setting, “low, leaden line.” This is used to describe the river on the marshland. “leaden” means lead coloured or dull and heavy, which suggests the river was dull and lead-coloured. This creates a sombre atmosphere.

Dickens leaves the first piece of dialogue until after the description, which builds up suspense. “Hold your noise,” is the first piece of dialogue and the reader does not know who said it. This creates tension and an unpleasant atmosphere.

Dickens skilfully creates a displeasing atmosphere by creating an exceedingly fast pace when describing the convict. The description puts a picture in your head, “soaked in water and smothered in mud, lamed by stones.” This creates a dismal atmosphere because you feel sympathy for him even though he is portrayed as a wicked man. The convict is meant to terrify the reader so Dickens describes him as a “fearful man”.

A different technique Dickens uses is describing how the character speaks, “I pleaded in terror,” This describes the way Pip converses when he meets the convict. You feel empathy toward Pip, as we know he is terrified. This changes the mood of the reader to being worried about Pip

When Pip is speaking to the convict he is still polite, “Sir”. He uses polite language even though he is terrified. This shows that Pip respects older people than himself. You feel empathy for Pip at this moment in the novel. This creates a

Another technique Dickens uses is pathetic fallacy, which is the treatment of inanimate objects as if they had human feelings. An example of this is, “And the sky was just a row of long angry red lines and black lines intermixed” The weather is reflected in Pips mood, meaning that Pip is angry. Red and black are very negative colours, normally referring to anger or death. Pip still hasn’t got over the death of his parents or siblings so that is why the sky is black. The imagery makes you feel empathy toward Pip.

Another technique Dickens uses is leaving the first piece of dialogue until the description is over, the first piece of dialogue is, “Hold your noise!” We don’t know who says this until Dickens describes the character. Dickens also describes how the character spoke, in this case it says, “cried a terrible voice.” This creates an unpleasant atmosphere.

Dickens creates a vexatious atmosphere by creating a fast pace when Pip meets the convict. The description of the convict is very fast paced and puts a picture in your head which creates atmosphere, “soaked in water, smothered in mud and lamed by stones.”

“for he was so sudden and strong,” this shows that the convict is a powerful character in this part of the story.

Dickens describes scenes in great detail so you can picture it, “he looked in my young eyes as if he were eluding the hands of dead people, stretching up cautiously out of the graves, to get a twist upon his ankle and pull him in.” This description creates mood because you can picture it in your head. You can also imagine how Pip is feeling with this description in his head.

We can write a custom essay

According to Your Specific Requirements

Order an essay

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

Pale Horse Pale Rider

Reading the three different novels "Old Mortality", "Noon Wine" and "Pale Horse, Pale Rider" you will learn that despite the different plots in the novels there is a common thread. The protagonists in all three novels has been challenged or locked in some way by the society but finally breaks free and live a better life the way they want to. The strong individual beats...

A Joke That Is Not So Funny

"Man has been endowed with reason, with the power to create, so that he can add to what he's been given. But up to now he hasn't been a creator, only a destroyer. Forests keep disappearing, rivers dry up, wild life's become extinct, the climate's ruined and the land grows poorer and uglier every day" (Russell). From this quote from Anton Chekhov, one can tell he viewed life in...

Novels Alexandre Dumas

Alexandre Dumas also known as Alexandre Dumas, Pere is a french author best known for his talents, prolific plays, and historical adventure novels. He was born on july 24, 1802 in villers-cotterers, France. Duams, got his last name from his grandmother, who was a former haitian slave. He was french’s most popular authors in the 19th century. His novels the three musketeers and the court...

To Kill a Mockingbird essays

To Kill a Mockingbird is a heroic tale filled with demonstrations of leadership and courage by several characters throughout the story, yet there are characters within the novel who display the exact opposite . To Kill a Mockingbird shows courage and the lack of it in many forms. Courage is shown when people step out of their comfort zones and face adversity in any way....

To Kill a Mockingbird Summary

Ms. Ria Singh English B To Kill a Mockingbird. Discuss the theme of appearance vs reality in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird. In Harper Lees novel To Kill a Mockingbird, the theme of appearance vs reality is a very prevalent one. In the novel, there are two types of prejudice presented, that is racial prejudice and social prejudice. Racial prejudice is presented throughout the...

Get Access To The Full Essay
Materials Daily
100,000+ Subjects
2000+ Topics
Free Plagiarism
All Materials
are Cataloged Well

Sorry, but copying text is forbidden on this website. If you need this or any other sample, we can send it to you via email.

By clicking "SEND", you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We'll occasionally send you account related and promo emails.

Your Answer Is Very Helpful For Us
Thank You A Lot!


Emma Taylor


Hi there!
Would you like to get such a paper?
How about getting a customized one?