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Archive for the ‘17. Dickens Bicentennary’ Category

Cliffhangers

Posted by maribel on 18/10/2012

Many of Charles Dickens’ works were published as instalments in periodicals. To keep readers hooked and impatient to know what was coming next, Dickens wove ‘cliffhangers’ into the story.

In this extract from Charles Dickens’ famous novel Great Expectations, Pip, a poor boy who is the hero
of the novel, becomes involved in a dangerous mystery. At the start, Pip, whilst running through a
deserted, misty graveyard in desolate marshland, runs into a scary-looking, escaped prisoner who
frightens the young boy into helping him. Chapter 2 of Great Expectations closes with Pip sneaking
out of the house with a bundle which contains food and drink for the prisoner. As he leaves the house
he has no idea about what will happen when he travels across the deserted marshes:

There was a door in the kitchen, communicating with the forge; I unlocked and unbolted the
door, and got a file from among Joe’s tools. Then I put the fastenings as I had found them,
opened the door at which I had entered when I ran home last night, shut it, and ran for the
misty marshes.

Charles Dickens’ readers would have been impatient to know what would happen to Pip when he set
out across the marshland.
• Would the police be waiting for him and arrest him for assisting a prisoner?
• Would the prisoner grab the food, drink and file and kill Pip because he knew too much?
• Would the prisoner kidnap Pip and use him to get a ransom?

What do you think?

Source: www.whatthedickens.org

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