"Great Expectations" - Charles Dickens - Atmosphere/ambience and how it is developed (notes easliy converted to essay)

Essay by highrecoilHigh School, 12th gradeA, February 2006

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* The speech of the narrator (Pip) and the characters affects the atmosphere of the story greatly. For example, a cold tone is used in Estella's speech to develop a harsh atmosphere. The tone of voice reflects the mood of the scene and often the atmosphere changes as the tone of the narrator and that of the character changes.

* When the Pip is under certain circumstances, the narrator says things in a different way: the way in which he conveys to the convict (Magwitch) that he could pay more attention if he was upright is humorous: "If you would kindly please to keep me upright, sir, perhaps I shouldn't be sick and perhaps I could attend more." Normal people put in this situation would not conduct themselves in such an orderly and proper manner. It lightens the ambience slightly and thereby makes the prospect of Magwitch being a terrifying criminal seem further from the truth.

* The appearance of Magwitch being a scary criminal versus the reality of him being an innocent person (even if he is slightly rough around the edges from prison-life) highlights what sort of an impact atmosphere can have. In this case, the atmosphere is developed by the type of speech used by Magwitch and the narrator: "'Hold your noise!' cried a terrible voice, as a man started up from among the graves at the side of the church porch. 'Hold your noise or I'll cut your throat!' A fearful man, all in coarse gray, with a great iron on his leg." The words used by the narrator portray him as an angry, coarse and fearful man, and are further reinforced by his frightening outburst towards Pip and create an atmosphere of fear.

* At Satis House, Dickens creates a cold harsh atmosphere...