Great Expectations

What would you say the atmosphere of the first stage of great expectations

I need help deciding on an atmosphere for the first part,(till pip leaves for London)

If possible please give me some proof of why this is the atmosphere

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Dickens prepares the reader for the grimness of the novel as a whole by introducing melancholic places using literary devices. For example, the Kent marshes in Chapter 1, where Dickens uses symbols, personification, emotive imagery, and repetition in his description. Dickens opens Chapter 1 by using the setting of a churchyard to create an eerie mood. He describes the churchyard as 'bleak' and 'overgrown', stressing the grimness and the isolation of the churchyard during Pip's encounter with Magwitch.

Dickens also uses emotive imagery of Pip's family gravestones. He stresses that all Pip has as a memory of his parents and his five brothers is the inscriptions carved on the family gravestones which Pip imagines as their actual appearances. Pip imagines his father as 'stout' with 'curly black hair', his mother 'freckled', and his five brothers being the shape of their 'lozenges' with 'their hands in their trousers-pockets.' This emotionally moves the reader, thereby creating sympathy for Pip right from the beginning, introducing the misery of the novel as a whole through the gloominess of the churchyard, the deathly tone preparing us for the theme of loss throughout the novel.

Dickens uses repetition of 'nettles' and 'tombstones' to perhaps suggest that the churchyard is a place of pain and death. This emphasises the sinister mood of Pip's encounter with Magwitch by creating anxiety in the reader. Dickens also refers to the temperature being 'raw'. He mentions that the afternoon was heading towards evening, suggesting that it was cold and fairly dark in the churchyard at the time, the darkness symbolising mystery and the unknown, adding to the vivid apprehensive atmosphere. Dickens stresses a fearful tone throughout Chapter 1, using words such as 'dead', 'black' and 'gibbet', representing death, violence and crime. The repetition of 'dead' and 'buried' also creates a grim, dark and deathly mood. He describes Pip as a 'small bundle of shivers' and emphasises the whole setting as appearing 'threatening' to Pip by stressing the imagery of the aggressive sea, the comparison of the wind 'rushing' to a predator, and the personification of the red sky being 'angry', again suggesting violence and death contributing to the ominous atmosphere.

In Chapter 1, Dickens uses the pathetic fallacy to show characterization, reflecting the minds of both Pip and Magwitch by creating a sinister atmosphere. Pip's name suggests that like a seed, he is small, young and vulnerable, and will take a journey to grow into manhood. During Pip's encounter with Magwitch, an apprehensive atmosphere helps Dickens to portray Pip as being easily intimidated and weak by emphasizing Pip's vulnerability.