Great Expectations written by Charles Dickens Essay example

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Great Expectations Coursework

How does Dickens engage the reader in ‘Great Expectations’?

‘Great Expectations’ was written by Charles Dickens in the Victorian
times where gothic elements were greatly enjoyed by the readers at
that time. In the Victorian age, crimes would be taken extremely
seriously and any thief caught would be taken to the Hulks (prison
ships). The title ‘Great Expectations’ gives us the idea that the
novel is about the high hopes about Pip’s life or future. ‘Great
Expectations’ was serialised, where two chapters were published every
week. To ensure that the readers stayed interested, Dickens used a
variety of techniques and ended most chapters with cliff-hangers.

One technique that Dickens uses to engage
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Also with Dickens telling us
that she is tall and bony and always wore an apron we get a stronger
image of Mrs Joe Gargery.

A further technique that Dickens uses to engage the reader in this
story is the structure of how he ends each paragraph. For example at
the end of chapter two, “got a file from among Joe’s tools. Then I put
the fastenings as I had found them, opened the door at which I had
entered when I ran home last night, shut it, and ran for the misty
marshes. This is a cliff-hanger because we don’t want Pip to get
caught stealing as he takes the things to the convict. Another example
of a cliff-hanger is at the end of chapter four the chapter is ended
as follows. “I ran head foremost into a party of soldiers with their
muskets: one of whom held a pair of handcuffs to me, saying, ‘Here you
are, look sharp, come on!” This leaves the reader thinking what will
happen next to Pip. We are eager to find out if Pip will be caught
after stealing the pie, beer, bread and file to give to the convict.
It is important that Dickens used cliff-hangers to engage the reader
because ‘Great Expectations’ was serialised and if he wanted the
readers to buy it to read the next two chapters, they must be
interested in the book.

Another technique that Dickens used to make ‘Great Expectations’
successful is the use of universal themes, i.e. crime and violence.

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