WHAT METHODS DID DICKENS USE IN GREAT EXPECTATIONS TO ENSURE HIS READERS CONTINUING INTEREST?
Great Expectations is a novel written by Charles Dickens in 1860 is set in early Victorian England. It was written as a first person narrative with Pip as an older man telling his lifes story. The title Great Expectations shows an indication of the change in Pips fortunes throughout the story; form a poor family living in the country with a trade of being a blacksmith to living a luxurious life as a gentleman in London. This novel was written when England was expanding worldwide and becoming a wealthy world power. The economy was changing from mainly agricultural to industrial. It was a time when there was a very wide gap between the rich and the poor as the rich enjoyed great privileges and the poor led a life near to slavery. The novel provides an insight into both country life and city life where the only advantages that the poor have in the countryside is a clean environment.
The main theme that Dickens used in the Great Expectation is the theme of expectation. Dickens illustrated this theme through the character of Pip, by exploring the idea of ambition and self improvement. The idea of expectations is the psychological mechanism that encouraged Pips development, as he is full of ambition and has Great Expectations about his future. Pips expectations in the novel take three forms: social, moral and educational. By examining the character of Pip and his three forms of expectation as well as minor characters, Joe, Magwitch and Estella, it can be seen that the theme of expectations is clearly illustrated through the characters in the novel.
The story started when Pip was about seven years old. Dickens skillfully caught the readers attention and sympathy in the first few chapters. He introduced several major themes, created a mood of mystery in a lonely setting, and got the plot moving immediately.
The first chapter immediately involves the reader because of Pips terrifying encounter with the convict and the humor with which the chapter in infused. Dickens skillfully introduced several major themes in it. Pip was alone, physically alone in the cemetery and solitary being an orphan; his loneliness prefigured the isolation he will experience later in the novel. His illusions about his familys tombstones are comic and convincing as the sort of misreading that a child might make; they also introduced the theme of failure to communicate.
The adult Pip is remembering a milestone in his life, a moment when he had his first vivid and broad impression of the identity of things. His being turned upside down as he gains this insight suggests that his that his view of things was distorted, perhaps even upside down. The terror and the helplessness of childhood are captured in Pips identifying himself as the small bundle of shivers growing afraid, as well as his depersonalization. The convict who terrorizes Pip is the ogre of childhood fairy tales and introduces the theme of crime and Pips connection to criminality.
In Great Expectations Pips fate is acceptable and enjoyable. Earlier in his life, he had changed from an innocent, caring boy into an arrogant young man as a result of his nonrealistic hopes and expectations. However, when his expectations came to an end, so did his undesirable traits, as he is then a truly good-natured person and a true gentleman. Therefore we can conclude that Pips happiness and content with his life is fitting.