Charles Dickens wrote Great expectations, his 13th novel, in 1864. He wrote it as a response to the social and cultural situations of Victorian England. His personal experience of working as a legal clerk and his consequence knowledge of the legal system feature frequently, in places which are significantly to the plot. Whilst Charles dickens own sad and unloving childhood informs the mood and the experiences of Pip's upbringing.
Dickens novel is set along the banks of the river themes moving from the desolate marshes to the bustling streets of London. The themes is more than a backdrop it acts like a character where the ebb and flow of the river is the heart of the novel "the dark flat wilderness beyond the churchyard intersected with dykes and mounds and the gates with scattered cattle feeding on it, was the marshes; and that the lout leaden line beyond, was the river; and that the distant savage liar from which the wind was rushing, was the sea." This gives an idea of how the setting looks and a better view of what the character would have been faced with. Also the choice of vocabulary was extremely well chosen to create sympathy for the main character. He is described as a "bundle of shivers."
Dickens hooks the readers' attention from the beginning. The opening chapter is dramatic and descriptive and full of dilemmas and curious dialogue. The first and most breath taking part of this chapter is when the convict, Magwich, appears from behind the graves "as a man started up from among the grave at the side of the church porch" who had a "vivid and broad impression of the identity of things." This terrifying man then grabes holds of Pip saying that he will kill him if he doesn't do as he is told "O! Don't cut my throat, sir", "a man who has been soaked in water… as he seized me by the chin." This to happen to a small boy who had moments before hand he had been grieving over his dead parents.
Life at the time that great expectations was written was that of the expansion of education for all throughout the nineteenth century meant that more people were able to read and write, Dickens novels were read by members of all social classes, although their greatest appeal was to intelligent working class and lower middle-class readers. As Dickens career prospered, the social fabric of Victorian England was also improving with increasing educational opportunities made economical prosperity for many more people than before. Dickens use of language in the novel is varied and often striking. The use of dialogue and description and the way he manipulates the first person narrative.
The characterization of Pip and the convict Magwich are that pip is a young, naï¿½ve weak boy who is over whelmed by this strong, controlling, desperate man who at the time puts the fear of god into a small boy for his own person needs and wants.
The narrative perspective in this novel is of a small child, which is shown by the child's point of view and his reaction to things also emotion he puts into it. For example when he described the way the church appears to turn upside down when Magwich shakes out his pockets.
The weather in chapter one adds a sense of mystery, as does the landscape, which is described as "low leaden line" this alliteration just adds to the melancholy and depression, that is the offset mood of these chapters.
It's the weather that links chapters 1 and 39. These two chapters are parallel as they both describe meetings between the convict Magwich and Pip. The chapters are separated by 15 years and in that time Pip has met and meet influenced by the eccentric Miss Havisham. Pip believes it is Miss Havisham who is responsible for his change of fortune and the reason he is able to train s a lawyer in London.
In chapter 39 the weather outside if frightful and a harsh storm is happening causing a fearful feeling to become all the more noticeable and the way that, in turn causes suspense and tension.
On the evening that chapter 39 is set the weather is stormy and tempest, as if the violent weather is giving Pip a premonition of the storm that is about to cause chaos among his peaceful life "the city is dirty mud, mud, mud deep in all the streets," and Pip high above the Thames, feels as though he is in a storm beaten lighthouse. He hears rumors from the coast of a shipwreck and death. All the images of water and the sea create a link with the watery marsh country where he first met the convict.
This chapter is possibly the utmost important in the book, memorable for its drama and emotion. It focuses on the sudden and violent collapse of Pips expectations as the source of his benefactor turns out to be the escaped convict, Magwich from the first chapter.
Through subtle use of language and clues to the true identity Dickens brings the two episodes together. These brief moments mark exceptionally important happenings in Pip's life and are memorable for the reader trough the description and mood in which they are written.