Great Expectations


Charles Dickens

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Great Expectations: Style 1 key example

Explanation and Analysis:

Dickens's writing style is known for its bold descriptions and highly evocative figurative language, use of satire, and biting caricature. His sentences are often quite long and wordy, packing in dense imagery and sensations to evoke the bustle of city life for the reader. 

His novels are often funny, even to contemporary readers, and incorporate wordplay in the names of characters, people, objects, and places. Great Expectations remains one of his most popular books because of the unique balance of humor, pace, and drama that Dickens strikes stylistically. The book has an enormous amount of dialogue in it, as the narrator recounts and responds to the information those around him provide. Dickens's novels are intensely focused on character, too. The realistic and often hilarious way Dickens describes people's faults and foibles is widely considered to be among the most accomplished in the English literary canon. His distinct figurative language makes his characters memorable, emotionally complex, and often startlingly unique and imaginative.

As Dickens only published his novels in serial form, a lot of his writing is very provocative and intense. The first two "books" of Great Expectations end in significant and shocking cliffhangers, intended to titillate the audience and drum up interest in the next installment. The book's rhythm is relentless, with event after shocking event described in exciting, rapid-fire prose constantly keeping the reader guessing.