The language that Dickens uses in the first chapter is also very effective in setting the scene. When Dickens is describing the gravestones of all of Pip’s siblings. The content of his writing contains a lot of description and makes the introduction of Great Expectations very dense, which will foreshadow the events between Pip and the escaped convict. Another feature Dickens uses in the first chapter of Great Expectations is the way he refers to Magwitch as the “man”. Dickens also helps the reader relate to the Victorian attitudes of the criminal class by making have no identity. A sense of mystery is also created when Dickens refers to Magwitch as a “man” as this makes him seem as if he as no identity. His poor language and dialect tells the reader that he is a man with little education and with little money.Order now
He uses this with the description of Magwitch to dehumanise him and make him seem like an animal. “Glared and growled” imply that he is wild and animal-like. “Licking his lips” also helps portray an untamed and savage creature. An example of this is “A fearful man, all in coarse grey, with a great iron on his leg”. Dickens is relating Magwitch to an animal which shows how desperate he is. “Young dog” and “Licking his lips” both demonstrate that the convict is barely surviving and would think about eating Pip. It portrays the scene very well as it adds to the tension and Magwitch’s power over Pip as he uses threats to get what he wants.
Dickens opens Great Expectations by jumping the readers straight into the conflict of the novel and establishes Pip as both the narrator and the protagonist. The approach of duality allows the audience to connect to Pip in a very personal way. Dickens lets Pip’s perceptions carry the audience into the story as he defines the characters and events through Pip. He is successful in making the audience believe that Magwitch is a terrifying character. He overpowers Pip with the savage language that Dickens has applied, “You young dog, said the man” and “Darn me if I couldn’t eat ’em”. Magwitch acts as if he wants to eat Pip and threatens him it.
At the opening of chapter thirty-nine Pip is alone in his house in London and it is a miserable and stormy night. Dickens now uses the weather to portray the misery and dread of the forthcoming events. Although Pip is in a state of depression, there is still a sense of tension in the atmosphere. He is in a lot of debt and his “uninvited guest” helps him to realise and reflect on what he has done. Pip’s relationship with Magwitch also progressing throughout this chapter as Dickens gradually lets Pip come to terms with his secret benefactor. This realization emphasises one of the themes in “Great Expectations” in regards to social class.
At the beginning of chapter thirty-nine Dickens makes Pip’s surroundings seem like they are foreshadowing the arrival of the convict. The writer uses pathetic fallacy to show Pip’s emotions, which are the most disheartening of his life. “Dispirited and anxious, and long disappointed” shows the reader that he is unhappy and he has not got what he had wanted. This could also suggest that he is realising his morally wrong conduct in his life so far. The storm is a sign of a low depression, which causes thunderstorms; this can then be seen to reflect on Pip’s state of mind.
There are also aspects of this chapter, which look back on previous chapters including chapter one where Pip and Magwitch met for the first time. The “discharge of the cannon” hints that Magwitch is due to arrive because it was this, which the gun ships did to signify that a convict has escaped which added a sense of foreboding. Dickens also uses the heavy veil to show a symbol of depression, which is also mentioned in chapter one. The “Vast heavy veil” also suggests that something concealed is about to be revealed which relates to Magwitch’s arrival. Both settings of chapter thirty-nine and one were of gothic elements as they were dark and mysterious. The weather adds to the unsettling atmosphere of tension.
Suspense is also created through Dickens’s use of longer sentences in chapter thirty-nine. This increases the tension of the atmosphere, which helps make the convicts visit more dramatic. They exaggerate the true meaning of the sentences in order to do this. The writer also makes the house more threatening through a sense of gothic literature. The dark and stormy night suggest that the house is even more imposing which can be related to Pip’s current feelings. “Gloomy”, “Violent blasts” and “shipwreck and death” help illustrate a sinister and gothic scene in London. His decay of moral character is reflected through these themes. Dickens also uses thought, repetition and description to add to the sense of an intimidating atmosphere, which is building up the tension.
Once Pip has let the convict into his house, the truth finally sinks into him. His wishes to end up with Estella are destroyed because he realises who was feeding him all the money. “I’m your second father. You’re my son-“, this tells the reader how Magwitch sees himself and that there was a good motif behind his scheme. This is a clear turning point in Great Expectations as it has extinguished Pip’s belief concerning his social class. The money has come from a criminal, which makes Pip interpret that he is almost a “fake” gentlemen.