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The Opening of Great Expectations

            Charles Dickens applies a variety of techniques in the opening of his novel "Great Expectations" which allow us to gain a deeper understanding of the novel. The opening scene introduces Pip as both the main protagonist and narrator of the story with two different perspectives. "Great Expectations" was published in thirty-six weekly installments in "All Year Round." The opening is therefore very important because in a serial the reader must be instantly engaged and stimulated to continue reading. Dickens uses a variety of narrative features that does this very successfully which is evident from a close reading from the opening scene of "Great Expectations." The novel immediately introduces Philip Pirrip, who calls himself Pip as he explains, as the narrator of the novel in two different ways. Dickens enforces that Pip is the most important character in the novel as it is his story and his perceptions are what define other characters. From this first section of the novel we understand him to be both the main protagonist and narrator as he opens telling us about his family and his own name: "My father's name being Pirrip, and my Christian name being Philip, my infant tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit than Pip.".
             These are the first lines of the novel which navigates the reader straight into Pip's perspective. Dickens immediately introduces the idea of identity crises as Pip seeks to find out who her really is and what his place is in the world. The word choice of "infant tongue" allows the reader to imagine a young naive, helpless child who does not know much about the world which Pip still appears to feel like stood in front of his parents tombstones. This also creates a reflective tone for the beginning of the novel which continues throughout as Pip tells his story. The narrative voice has a better perspective and speaks with maturity whereas we understand how the character feels at the time as things happen.

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