In this essay I am going to discuss the importance of chapters one and two to our understanding of Dickens’ famous novel, Great Expectations. First of all, I will consider how the first two chapters help us to understand the characters more fully. Then I will consider how the two chapters help the reader understand the writer’s skill. Finally, I will explain how they help the reader gain an understanding of nineteenth century life. Dickens was a 19th century writer who tried to influence social attitudes.
He wrote the book called “Great Expectation” to show people how prisoners were being treated and the children were being exploited – having to work when they should have been at school. Dickens uses a lot of techniques. One of them is that he makes the reader see the situation through a young orphan boy’s eyes. “The shapes of the letters on my father’s grave give me an odd idea that he was a square stout, dark man. ” This shows that Pip was a lonely child and did not have a happy childhood despite his parent’s death. The story is told through a young orphan’s boy’s eyes because this will have more affect on the reader.
This is because a child will express his fears and will have more fear than an adult. In chapter one when pip was frightened by the convict. “I will have your heart and liver tore out. ” If pip was an adult he wouldn’t have taken this seriously. “The small bundle of shivers growing afraid of it all and beginning to cry was pip. ” By using these words dickens shows us how terrified pip was when he was at the cemetery. Dickens makes the reader feels sorry for Pip when he is alone in the graveyard by seven dead members of his family.
Dickens emphasises the tragedy of sadness further by describing Pip’s brothers as “five little stone lozenges. Dicken’s method here is to set the scene of Pip’s loneliness and unhappy childhood. Pip steals food from his sister because he was scared of the convict and he was also threatened by the convict to get food and a file for him. “I said that I would get him the file, and I would get him what broken bits of food I could. ”
Dicken’s method here is to show the reader that pip is really scared of the convict because he is being threatened by the convict to get him a file and some bits of food. That night when Pip was threatened by the convict, Pip was lying in a dark room in his bed. I was never allowed a candle to light me to bed, as I went upstairs in the dark. ” The reader discovers here that Pip is not treated well and the quote shows that Pip gets frightened in the dark because he is a child. This would not have a lot of effect on the reader if pip was an adult. “I unlocked and unbolted that door, and got a file from among Joe’s tools. ” The reader discovers here that pip believed what the convict said to him. “I will have your heart and liver tore out. ” [This is a repeat. ]An adult will not take all this seriously as Pip. As we know that pip is a young orphan boy, lonely and frightened.
He is so scared that he takes the convicts words seriously and gets him a file and food but he doesn’t tell his sister. Pip knows that his sister wouldn’t believe him and wouldn’t take pip seriously because she is an adult and she knows that no one is going to tear her liver and heart out or anyone that would take Pip’s heart and liver out. Pip is also a kind boy and he feels sorry for the convict. On the other hand he doesn’t tell his sister because he wants to help the poor homeless convict. “Drat that boy interposed my sister, frowning at me over the work. ”
“What a questionnaire ? e is, ask no questions and you will be told no lies. ” The description of Pip’s sister shows that she doesn’t want Pip talking and wants him quiet. Pip knows that if he told his sister about the convict, she wouldn’t believe him. Dicken’s method here is to show the reader that this lonely child does not have any choices left except to steal from his sister. Pip is a really kind, lonely and frightened boy. Despite his parents’ death at his early age he did not had any happiness in his life. Pip was kind to adults and respected them but people didn’t treat him well.
They shouted at him and scared him like the convict and his sister. He couldn’t rely on his parents because they weren’t there and he couldn’t rely on his sister. Pips sister wouldn’t let Pip speak or ask any questions unless there were any visitors. “I did ask questions but she never was polite, unless there was company. ” Dickens method here is to show the reader that a child will ask a lot of nice and silly questions. They should be answered back in a kind and a gentle way. Because a child wants to explore and wants to learn about the life ahead of him.
We know that Pip lost his parents at an early age and he didn’t learn much from them. He didn’t go to school to learn because he couldn’t afford to go school. Every time he asks his sister she doesn’t answer him and she shouts at him to make him sit quietly. Through chapter one and two, the reader finds out a lot about Pip’s sister, Mrs Joe Gargery. She is known as the person who bought pip up by hand. “a great reputation with herself and the neighbours because she had bought me up by hand. ” Pip describes his sister as a cruel, unkind and unthankful lady.
Pip does not talk a lot about his sister in chapter one and two but the reader finds out a lot about her through her character, the way she speaks and the way she treats people. “She was not a good looking woman, my sister, and I had a general impression that she must have made Joe gargery marry her by hand. ” Dicken’s method here is to show the reader that how her own brother thinks of his sister. He says that “she is a ugly and a burlier woman, who forces people to do what she wants. Mrs Joe gargery runs the whole house like a man and Pip thinks that she must have made Mr Joe gargery marry her by hand. You’ll drive me to the church yard betwixt you, one of these days and oh pr-r-recious pair you’d be without me.
” Dickens method here is to show the reader that pip the Mrs Joe gargery ??? thinks that Pip and her husband can’t live with out her because she cooks and cleans the house for them. She treats and talks to both of hem as if they were her slaves. When pip is alone in the graveyard by seven dead members of his family, Charles Dickens makes the scene very lonely and frightening. Where there is really strong wind, the trees are screeching and Pip’s body is shivering. The distant savage lair from which the wind was rushing was the sea and that the small bundle of shivers growing afraid of it all and beginning to cry was Pip”. Dickens method here is to show the reader the fear, sadness and the loneliness Pip is feeling through the setting and the atmosphere of the scene. Dickens emphasises the fear further by bringing the convict into the scene. “Hold your noise cried a terrible voice, as a man started up from among from the graves at the side the church porch keep still you little devil or I’ll cut your throat”.
Dickens wants to show the reader, the fear and the loneliness that Pip is feeling inside. He is lonely because he is standing next to his dead family members and is wishing they were next to him because he is being threatened by the convict. Pip himself was from a poor lower class family. “I would get him what broken bits of food I could. ” In this quote we learn that some people were very rich and some were very poor, like Pip, who was from a poor lower class family and did not get any education. He had a bad childhood and worked since his childhood to stay alive.
Dickens himself was the victim of snobbery and contempt through his life. He understood what it was like to belong to one class financially and another by birth. He put all this understanding and all the suffering it caused him, into “Great expectation”. The convict escaped from the prison ship, he was wearing broken shoes and he looked as if he came from a cool factory because his face was dark and he was wearing dirty clothes. “A fearful man all in course grey with an old rag tied on his leg. A man with no hat and with broken shoes and with an old rag tied around his head. The clues dickens put into this quote are all about, how the prisoners were being treated and how the conditions were inside the prisons. The second clue is that the escaped convict was wearing broken shoes and dirty clothes.
The reader learns here that inside the prison, prisoners didn’t received cleaned clothes, they didn’t received enough food and the medical conditions were very bad. In the above essay I have looked at the importance of chapter one and two to our understanding of the novel? “Great expectation. Through every paragraph I have talked about pip’s life, sadness and fear and how dickens makes the reader imagine the situation pip is in. The first point in some paragraphs I made is about people, how they treat pip and how he treats others. The second point I made is about his life, the loneliness, fear and sadness. This point has a lot of affect on the reader because he is a young orphan child who is in a really bad situation. He lost his parents and is getting threatened by the convict and his sister. The only one he has left in his life and he can probably trust is her sister’s husband “Mr Joe Gargery. “