Essay on Classical Openings Comparison

Submitted By luce_cooper
Words: 1276
Pages: 6

In this essay, I will be comparing and analysing the openings to the famous novels ‘Great Expectations’ and ‘Pride and Prejudice’. I have chosen these novels because they are both such different books in most aspects. Jane Austen focused more on middle class family life whereas Dickens wrote about working class people and more depressing situations. I will be commenting on how the writer introduces their characters, and how they begin to enrol you into the book. The opening of a book tends to be the most important section the author will have to write, it needs to captivate the reader enough for them to want to read on. There are lots of techniques authors use to do this, and I will be discussing some of them in the following essay.
The first novel opening I will be discussing is ‘Great Expectations’. The opening has been written in the first person, with one of Dickens main characters Pip showing us his point of view and his thoughts. Pip has never met any of his family apart from his older sister and her husband, with whom he lives so he has to imagine what he thinks they would have looked liked by their graves. We can tell he must be quite young because while describing his six brothers’ tombstone he says they were all very small graves, this would have been because they died young, however Pip believes the reason for the small tombs is because they had ‘been born on there backs with their hands in their trousers-pockets, and had never taken them out in this state of existence’ this meaning that they were very tucked up and hands to their sides to make themselves smaller. Another give away that Pip is young is that we get the idea of everything being bigger and scarier because it is Pip’s point of view and it is him looking out on everything as big because he is so small. Dickens evokes the mood by setting the scene and using pathetic fallacy. The scene has been set in a graveyard filled with Pip’s dead family, this automatically puts us and the character in a sad dismal mood and as he goes on describing the scenery he uses words like ‘dark flat wilderness’, ‘savage lair’ and ‘overgrown with nettles’ that begins to make everything just that bit more scary. For instance Dickens refers to the sea as a savage lair, and the dictionary definition for a lair is ‘a wild animals resting place’ so it is referring to the sea as a wild animal, this give us the image of a wild raging sea crashing on the rocks and creating white water, so a place you wouldn’t want to go, a dangerous place! Charles Dickens gets the story line rolling once he introduces his second character, the convict. As soon as Dickens introduces him we get a sense he doesn’t want to be found because when he sees Pip he shouts ‘Hold your nose’ and ‘keep still’ to make sure he makes no noise so as not to be found. The convict seems to be a very scary figure with grey clothing and iron on his leg, these items of clothing also gives us the idea that he is maybe an escaped prisoner on the run. The language the characters use gives us a good sense of their personality for example the escaped prisoner uses more slang whereas Pip uses proper English this shows us that Pip is well educated in comparison to the prisoner. We also can tell that Pip is terrified of this man by the way he keeps on using the words sir and stuttering, so as not to anger the convict.
The next novel opening I will be discussing is ‘Pride and Prejudice’. The opening to this book has been written in the third person, as if it is someone watching the situation, but they know everything about the character, in other words the narrator. The opening begins with a quote, ‘It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife’. However little known the feelings or views of such a man, this view is well fixed in the minds of surrounding families, that he is considered as the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters. To get