The dramatic qualities of Dickens


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In this essay, I am going to analyzing chapter 1 and chapter 39 of ‘Great Expectations’ a novel written by Charles Dickens in 1860-1861. ‘Great Expectations’ is set and written in the Victorian era in England, when social class was a huge factor of society. The novel is written as a first-person narrative by the main character of the novel Pip, as an older man telling his life story. The novel is focused on how Pip matures from a young boy into a fully-grown man. Throughout the essay, I will be looking at the dramatic qualities of Dickens writing.


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However Dickens still uses descriptive language to set the scene in the chapter by using turbulent images, metaphors and similes,’ The wind rushing up the river shook the house that night, like discharges of cannon, or breakings of a sea”; ” Dickens’ dramatic images and his acute attention to detail maintain the drama and seriousness of the atmosphere in the chapter. London was a city that was, dominated by men in the 1860s. The social class in London was for the rich people or people who had money. However, in chapter 39 Pip learns that social class has nothing to do with being a good person. Dickens has shown through this novel how divided British society was in the 1860s.


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Therefore, the ending of the chapter has to be interesting for readers to go and buy the next chapter, when published. The opening chapter of ‘Great Expectations’ starts with a great hook, there is a vicious escaped criminal, threatening a poor, innocent boy in to helping him survive and escape. The techniques Dickens uses to create a dramatic ending is using a pathetic fallacy ‘the sky was just a row of long angry red lines and dense black lines intermixed’ this is showing us how pip is feeling because red and black colours resemble danger. Therefore, it keeps the audience wondering what will happen next to Pip, leaving it on a cliffhanger. The ending of chapter 39 is very dramatic, Pip’s expectations are all ruined and destroyed, and his dreams have been crushed .Dickens uses the metapho .


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