Great Expectations – Analyse How Dickens Maintains Suspense in Chapter 39


...Start of the Great Expectations – Analyse How Dickens Maintains Suspense in Chapter 39 ...

‘Great Expectations’ is a novel written by Charles Dickens. First published in weekly instalments for a magazine that was losing readers, called ‘All Year Round’, it was soon fully released in 1851 after the magazine gained more notability. The novel also seems to be semi auto-biographical, as Dickens own personal experiences of the world are portrayed in the character ‘Pip’. The character Magwitch, an escaped convict was also influenced by Dickens’ own family, as his father was sent to prison for debt. From 1776 – 1857, ‘Hulks’ were prison ships used to transport prisoners to Australia.


...Middle of the Great Expectations – Analyse How Dickens Maintains Suspense in Chapter 39 ...

Dickens uses sea imagery, such as, “Breakings of a sea”, “Storm-beaten light-house” and “Voyager by the sea”. These are all references to the sea, that remind us of Magwitch, who escaped from a Hulk. The mention of “shipwreck and death”, creates a horror feeling, In which Victorian readers loved. They could all be clues to tell the reader that Magwitch is on his way to Pip’s home. It all creates suspense and mystery, and readers would be engaged in to the chapter.


...End of the Great Expectations – Analyse How Dickens Maintains Suspense in Chapter 39 ...

It can be concluded that Dickens has effectively built up suspense throughout the chapter with his own style and skill of writing. His word techniques have been carefully crafted into his complex sentences. The chapter slowly releases more and more detail out to help keep the reader engaged, which maintains the suspense. My favourite and tense part of the chapter is when Pip hears the unknown footstep, because Dickens has built up the atmosphere in the previous paragraph, and a unknown footstep keeps me in a tense mood. To conclude, ‘Great Expectations’ is a powerful, and yet, unique novel which has been carefully thought-out to attract readers.


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