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The story opens with the narrator, Pip, who introduces himself and describes an image of himself as a boy, standing alone and crying in a churchyard near some marshes.

He has a conversation with Biddy and asks her to work on "improving" Joe.

Pip accuses her of being jealous of him when she suggests Joe does not need improving.

However, he hides his feelings from Joe and performs his duties.

During this time, he encounters a strange man at the Jolly Bargemen, a local pub.

The man yells at the boy only to get what he wants, a file and some food, and the boy only responds for fear of his life.

And yet, after they part, the young Pip keeps looking back at the man as he walks alone into the marshes.

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Estella is beautiful but haughty and tells Pip that he is coarse and common.The man, dressed in a prison uniform with a great iron shackle around his leg, grabs the boy and shakes him upside down, emptying his pockets.The man devours a piece of bread which falls from the boy, then barks questions at him.The adult narrator Pip will foreshadow future events throughout the story by using signs and symbols.Dickens uses this duality to great effect in the first chapter, where we are personally introduced to Pip as if we were in a pleasant conversation with him: "I give Pirrip as my father's family name..." Immediately after this, however, we are thrown into the point of view of a terrified young child being mauled by an escaped convict.

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