How does dickens use first person narrative to immediatly create tension in the opening chapter?

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dalepowell1962 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

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When we read Great Expectations, we get the feeling immediately that is is Pip and not Dickens telling us the story.  In the first two paragraphs, the youngster earns our sympathy and the tension is with us immediately when the fourth paragraph opens as it does, with the convict placing the knife to the throat of poor Pip.

We can feel pity for the character as he pleads for his life while trying to satisfy the man's requests and answer his questions.  Dickens makes it easy for the reader to hear the desperation in young Pip's voice.

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