How does the writer make the setting help to tell the story in chapter one?

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troutmiller eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The setting in chapter one is very dreary. It's cold, misty, isolated, and filled with nettles. He's in a graveyard, and such a place is not ideal for a small child like Pip. This setting helps the reader realize how alone this little boy really is.  It's scary with not only the dead that surround him, but the rest of the setting beyond the churchyard.

"The dark flat wilderness beyond the churchyard, intersected with dykes and mounds and gates, with scattered cattle feeding on it, was the marshes; and that the low leaden line beyond, was the river; and that the distant savage lair from which the wind was rushing, was the sea; and that the small bundle of shivers growing afraid of it all and beginning to cry, was Pip."

He was scared just being there, yet he chose to go there.  He is obviously an isolated character, one who is mostly on his own, and that helps set up the story for Pip finding out what exactly his great expectations will be.  This setting puts him apart from society and even his family.  He'd rather be there than with his abusive sister.

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Great Expectations

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