There are many literary techniques of writing that Charles Dickens constantly demonstrates in his novel Great Expectations.
These include emotional dialogue, suspense and the use of imagery and symbolism. As seen in the expert above, Dickens loves detail and spinning elegant language. His wordiness creates for long overdrawn sentences, yet his use of elegant language and detail draws in the reader and further creates an atmosphere of suspense. The mood of the entire novel is one of mystery, tension, and thrilling suspense.
The most memorable opening scene in which the orphaned Pip, kneeling and weeping over his parents’ graves, is frightened by a figure emerging from the mists. It is the runaway convict Magwitch. From this moment onward, the sinister note of criminality taints every major character.
Part of the poetry of Dickens’s work lies in its its supercharged emotional atmosphere. Yet Dickens knew how to utilize comic relief. Through his many touches of humour, Dickens was able to amuse the reader and further draw them in and keep them engaged. His wordiness is often used to create humor as are his characters’ names. Among the most amusing of the characters are the flirtatious Wemmick, the grotesque Old Bill Barley, and the hypocritical Mr. Pumblechook.
Furthermore, Dickens uses intense, emotional dialogue to draw readers into the story. For example, a wealthy spinster, Miss Havisham, goes crazy after being defrauded and left at the altar by her lover. Years later, she finds emotional satisfaction by instructing her stepdaughter Estella to manipulate Pip and toy with his emotions. Miss Havisham insincerely tells Pip, “Love her, love her, love her! If she favours you, love her.
If she wounds you, love her. If she tears your heart to pieces — love her, love her, love her!” Not only does Dickens use emotional dialogue, he also uses a lot of repetition. The repetition of “love her” adds emphasis Furthermore, Charles Dickens uses a unique format of narration. The narrator of Great Expectations is an adult who relates the narrative in his own voice, but he tells the story from his memory rather than as it happens. The story gains its depth from the back-and-forth motion between describing the experience of the young child and mediating it through the lens of the adult. “Pip,” in fact, arranges his narrative for the greatest effect. For example, though he could have revealed early on that it is Magwitch to whom he owes his great expectations, he withholds that bit of information until the crucial moment, so that we can feel the shock he experienced.
Pip is not a static but a developing character who is molded and remolded by the people and experiences he meets. Because the effects of those meetings are seen from inside the protagonist, the entire psychological being is developed. By taking the reader within the hero’s mind, Dickens presents a full portrait of the man growing from the boy. The reader is not allowed to be just an external observer, but experiences Pip’s maturation from the vantage point of his, the reader’s, own feelings.