In chapters one and eight Charles Dickens creates interesting scenes for the reader by incorporating two very interesting characters, both of whom are older than Pip. Magwitch, who is a very scary convict, he has escaped from jail and so his clothes are tattered. Next is Mrs Havisham, who is an old lady. She was ‘stood up’ on her wedding day and so dresses in her wedding gown that has faded. Also Dickens’ used two different settings one outside and one in doors. There is a similarity between them as they are both sombre places, one churchyard the other a dark dilapidated room. He uses interesting vocabulary, which creates character and atmosphere.

In both of the chapters the settings create intense drama as negative imagery is used. Chapter one is set on the marshes ‘intersected with dykes and mounds’. In the churchyard which was ‘overgrown with nettles’ and with ‘graves’. This creates drama because we associate churchyards with death. Things that are old can be scary so saying that it is overgrown also creates drama. Whereas in chapter eight Dickens creates drama by describing a different setting. He describes a house of ‘old brick…dismal’ with ‘a great many iron bars to it’ this creates drama as it sounds almost like a prison. Then inside the house the ‘passages were all dark’ using the word passages instead of corridors, again this makes the house sound like a prison. He writes that the room was lit with ‘candles’ and that ‘no glimpse of daylight’ was to be seen this to creating drama, as it is unusual. I think it is described like a tomb as it talks of Miss Havisham as being surrounded by her valuable possessions, which is what they used to put in the tombs. It was also unusual that ‘everything in the room had stopped’ including the woman’s life.

The description of the two characters is very important in creating drama in the two chapters, as they create presence. Magwitch is hiding ‘among the graves’ this suggests he is waiting to catch someone, which straight away tells the reader this man maybe harmful. Magwitch is described as wearing ‘coarse grey’ a ‘great iron’ on his leg and ‘broken shoes’, this suggest to the reader he is a convict. When Charles Dickens writes of what Magwitch has been though ‘soaked by water…torn by briars’ it shows he will do anything to get away. This is important to the suspense and tension as it makes Magwitch a very unpredictable character. He doesn’t seem to have any manners as he ate the bread ‘ravenously’ then licks his lips, although I think this is because he hasn’t eaten for sometime. Magwitch is very anxious as he starts to flee straight away when Pip tells him that his mother is just ‘there’. Although he is portrayed as a scary character he shows some compassion towards Pip when he tells him about his mother and father ‘oh’. Then when he is leaving he ‘hugged’ himself as if to try and hold himself together which shows he is weak.

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Straight away when Mrs Havisham is introduced it tells you that she was the ‘strangest’ lady Pip had ever seen or shall ever see. This automatically gets the reader thinking she is going to be a very dramatic character. The way she is sitting with her elbow ‘resting’ on the table and her head ‘leaning’ on her hand suggests that she has been waiting there along time. Her clothes also suggest this, as they are ‘faded and yellow’. It says she has ‘withered’ and lost all ‘brightness’ except her ‘sunken’ eyes, I picture her as being very scary someone who would look down on anyone. This is important to the chapter as she does look down on Pip and the whole reason Pip is there is so she can teach Estella to do the same. The way she is said to look like a ‘waxwork’ and a ‘skeleton’ with dark eyes that ‘moved’ makes me think of this being the body in the tomb, she is not dead though. She has been there along time as she places the ‘jewel’ exactly on the spot from which she had picked it up. Her clothes are like ‘grave-clothes’ and her veil ‘a shroud’ these also form the image of a tomb. It states that Pip thinks the admittance of ‘natural light’ would have ‘struck her to dust’. Which is what happens to bodies found in old tombs.

The two characters speak somewhat differently. Mrs Havisham uses short sentences; Magwitch uses long ones and even paragraphs. Magwitch is loud he ‘cried’ out, whereas Mrs Havisham ‘uttered’ most of her words. Magwitch is threatening ‘I’ll cut your throat!’ but Mrs Havisham is inquisitive asking lots of questions ‘Who is it?’ Mrs Havisham specks at slow speed yet Magwitch speaks hastily ‘Quick!’ this creates drama, as if someone speaks slowly it can be creepy but similarly if someone speaks fast it also creates drama. When Mrs Havisham talks about her heart Pip remarks that it made him ‘think of the young man’ this is because Magwitch kept talking about Pip’s ‘heart’. Mrs Havisham is well spoken yet eccentric. Her heart ‘broken!’ however Magwitch uses dialect using ‘a’ instead of an, and ’em’ instead of them. Mrs Havisham talks down to Pip telling him what to do ‘look at me’. Drama is created because it is not normal and there is an element of an unpredictable nature of things.

Pip is terrified of Magwitch. He pleads with him in ‘terror’. He does everything he is told. When he is with Mrs Havisham he is fearful of her. He stands ‘avoiding her eyes’. This creates drama since the character is unsettled, consequently the reader becomes uneasy. Estella creates drama, as she is impertinent towards Pip ‘don’t be ridiculous, boy’. This is peculiar as she is about the same age as Pip. She is also disrespectful to Mr Pumblechook ‘Ah!…but …she don’t’ this creates drama because she should speak with respect for her elders and she sees there is nothing wrong with being disrespectful.

I feel Dickens has been very successful in creating an interesting and dramatic story for the reader. I think it was important that so much of the novel was dramatic because it is very long, and so you must keep the reader interested or they will not finish reading it. I also believe that it is because when ‘Great Expectations’ was first published in 1860 it was sold in weekly episodes.


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