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
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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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