How does Charles Dickens create an effective opening to "Great Expectations"?

Essay by deanojHigh School, 10th gradeA+, July 2006

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Charles Dickens must create an effective opening because these stories would be serialised, so the opening was most important because there would be long gaps between the publications of these chapters, so therefore he had to keep the readers attention enough to make them want to read the following publication. This would be successful if there was enough tension built in the first chapter/publication.

The beginning introduces the characters, which consist of a narrative voice, Philip Pirrip who is the more mature and adult of the Philip Pirrip (Pip). We find this out because at the beginning of the chapter Philip explains where the name Pip came from, "my infant tongue could make both names nothing longer or more explicit than Pip". This single sentence introduces the time in which this first chapter will be based in. Pip, and this first person narrative gives us Pip's personal response to the strange and often sinister places in which he finds himself.

It also introduces the theme and genre of the novel which in this case would be thriller.

The atmosphere in the beginning is not pleasant. The novel opens in the marsh country of England, land raw and wet, where young Pip stands alone in a churchyard before seven gravestones, under which are buried Pip's mother, father and five younger brothers. The sight of these stones starts Pip crying. The time in which the beginning is based is depressing. It is early evening/late afternoon; he describes the skies as being "raw" which show just how childish pip at this time was. However the Graveyard being Dark, abandoned and neglected also relate to the Characters. Pip as being a child would not be treated as such children are today, he lived during the 18th centenary. We know this because while pip...