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How Dickens uses language Essay

There is a variety of repetition in the passage. Phrases like ‘Dead and Buried’ are repeated to remind us, as readers, that most of Pip’s family is dead. The word ‘buried’, suggests that it happened some time ago and that he never knew them, which makes us feel pity and sympathy for the character. Pip talks about his life in the marsh country, where he resided by the river and near the sea. This could possibly highlight how Pip (small like a river), may be connected to something greater than he could’ve ever imagined (like the sea).

Dickens also uses some interesting vocabulary, with fascinating imagery in this passage. For example he describes the sea as a ‘distant savage lair’. The word ‘distant’ tells the reader that there is an unknown, oncoming threat. The word ‘savage’ suggests it was over powerful and violent. Finally, the word ‘lair’ implies a dangerous place, where victims are taken to be devoured. This shows the reader that Pip is not safe, and seems to be in grave danger. Alliteration is another technique which Dickens has input in the passage. The phrase ‘low leaden line’, (which describes the river), is a good example of this.

Rivers are supposed to be an aquatic blue colour, but Dickens describes it as ‘leaden’, which is a depressing grey colour, suggesting a bleak setting. Finally, Dickens uses third person in the passage, although this is questionable. In one sentence, Pip goes from narrating as an adult in the 1st person and then switches to the 3rd person, where he looks back at himself as a small child. This is because he is in utter disbelief at how lost he was, which is effective as the reader feels confused, just as Pip would have as a small child.


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