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Great Expectations - Effectiveness of Serial Release

Uploaded by BradleyHarris on Nov 07, 2003

Many of Charles’ Dickens’ novels first appeared as weekly episodes in magazines in serial form. This is much harder to do than simply writing a novel due to the fact that just one bad episode could put people off from buying the next edition. To keep this from happening with Great Expectations, every episode had to leave the reader with a reason to purchase the next episode. To do this the writer Charles Dickens had to make readers curious or interested and desperate to find out what will happen to the characters they’ve, hopefully, if the serial is well written, become so well acquainted with, and are able to relate to.

It’s the same with the television serials or “soap operas” of today, so called due to the fact that companies who produced soap originally sponsored them. They all need to have interesting storylines and multiple plots and most episodes need to end with what is known as a cliffhanger. The television companies generally use them, if particularly exiting and dramatic, to boost ratings, generally speaking this method is very successful.

Dickens creates interesting situations all the time with characters in awkward places, conflicting opinions between characters with clashing personalities. They all have defining traits, which help the readers to connect with the characters, innumerable references to fire when the convict is around for example. Characters have to have their own, believable, personalities and act as you would expect them to. Otherwise the storyline would have become implausible and people wouldn’t have bought it. These qualities are particularly crucial in Great Expectations but never more so than in the first episode. The format, which the episode takes, is likely to affect the readers’ opinions on the series as a whole.

Overcomplicating the novel with multiple storylines, plots and characters can be confusing, but readers want to be bored about as much as they want to be confused, so it is very difficult to find a happy medium. We stereotype the entire series on how good the first episode is. Which, although relatively unfair and in many cases not at all accurate, it is still what we tend to do. This is why the quality of the first episode of Great Expectations is so important as, although there’s a definite need for all the episodes to be well written and interesting, if the first episode isn’t then no matter how...

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Uploaded by:   BradleyHarris

Date:   11/07/2003

Category:   Great Expectations

Length:   5 pages (1,137 words)

Views:   2165

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