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DESCRIPTIVE WRITING: INTRODUCING A CHARACTER

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    Posted by bitesize_english_teacher (U15197928) on Tuesday, 30th October 2012

    DESCRIBING A CHARACTER

    This extract from ‘Great Expectations’ by Charles Dickens is an example of how description can be used to introduce a character in creative writing. It describes the incident when the main character, Pip, an orphan, meets an escaped convict in the graveyard.

    “Hold your noise!” cried a terrible voice, as a man started up from among the graves at the side of the church porch. “Keep still, you little devil or I’ll cut your throat!”

    A fearful man, all in coarse grey, with a great iron on his leg. A man with no hat, and with broken shoes, and with an old rag tied round his head. A man who had been soaked in water, and smothered in mud, and lamed by stones, and cut by flints, and stung by nettles, and torn by briars; who limped and shivered, and glared and growled; and whose teeth chattered in his head as he seized me by the chin.

    “O! Don’t cut my throat sir,” I pleaded in terror.

    NOTE THE FOLLOWING POINTS:

    • The writer makes use of lists here. Normally we would not want to keep joining words by repeating the simple word ‘and’. However, Dickens does this on purpose to stress how the convict has been through so many unpleasant experiences in his attempt to escape.

    • Many words are particularly descriptive. Words such as fearful, limped, glared, growled, etc all help to define the man’s character.

    • The writer doesn’t just describe what can been seen: other sense impressions, such as sound, are used

    • Alliteration is used to link words together as in ‘glared and growled’, creating a more threatening impression

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