Dickens engages his audience by creating vivid images of people and places. Comment on this with close references to two parts in ‘Great Expectations. ‘ The two sections I will be referring to are chapter 1 and chapter 8. In these chapters Dickens describes two different settings; the church yard and Satis house. He also introduces us to Philip Pirrip known as Pip. Pip’s ambition is to become a blacksmith. Magwich is an escaped convict. Estella is Mrs Havisham’s ward. Mrs Havisham is a rich but heartbroken woman who despises men due to her own marriage breakdown.
In the opening chapter, Dickens describes the marshland and the graveyard. The impression I get of the setting is unwelcoming and desolate. He describes the marshland as a damp swamp with unfriendly plants such as stingy nettles. He also describes graveyard as a dark gloomy surrounding with little warmth and hospitality ‘a man soaked in water, covered in mud….. as he seized me by the chin. ‘ Charles Dickens describes the atmosphere as a raw afternoon with the help of the weather.
He achieves this with the help of creative weather descriptions throughout the fist chapter ‘… which the wind was rushing….. and that small bundle of shivers growing afraid of it all…. ‘ Although the scene is serious, Dickens still manages to bring humour into it. For example: when pip was tilted upside and robbed off a stale piece bread. ‘The man, after looking me for a moment, turned me upside down and emptied my pockets. ‘ I think dickens added humour to dilute the tension and to give us a laugh. He also introduces us to pip and Magwitch, the convict.
Pip feels intimidated by the convict, due to the way the convict enrols power over pip as he tilts him down on top of the grave. ‘… so that his eyes looked most powerfully down into mine, and mine looked most helplessly up into his. ‘ We feel pathos for pip as Magwitch verbally threatens pip with no regrets. Magwitch is describe as a fearful man, a man with no hat, soaked in water and smothered in mud. The impression we get from the description of Magwitch is that he wasn’t gentlemen due to no hat. We feel empathy for the convict as we get a strong description of what he has been through.
‘A man soaked in water, and smothered in mud, and lamed by stones, and cut by flints, and stung by nettles……… seized me by the chin. ‘ In chapter 8 Pip, again, feels uneasy when he visits Satis house. It is described as a dark, uninviting resident with old bricks, iron barred windows and a courtyard that is also barred. The atmosphere portrayed to us is that Satis house is an unappealing place to visit. Dickens creates this atmosphere detailed information and through the characters thoughts and feelings. Pip meets Estella and Miss Havisham at Satis house.
He is surprised by Miss Havisham’s appearance. She is dressed in an outfit that can only be worn only on one particular day and that was her wedding dress. We learn as we read on, she is dressed in her wedding gown as she believes her husband, who fled on the wedding day, would come back and wed. We assume that pip is having second doubts of the arrangements and is cautious of behaviour. The impression we get of Miss Havisham is she is an aged but rich woman who despises men due to her marriage failure. Nevertheless she puts her misfortunes a side and treats pip kindly.
Estella, by contrast, is a young, vibrant girl but has a bad attitude. She treats pip as an inferior with no respect at all. One major example was when she referred to him as ‘boy’. … ‘but do not loiter, boy. ‘ Pip reacted in polite way no matter what she said. We see Estella as a rude and spiteful child. Dickens is successful in creating different settings by giving the readers detailed description of the setting and through the characters thoughts and feelings. Dickens has drawn on his own experiences and this is why he is successful.