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Setting and location

The Solicitor's Office Oare Marshes Manor House Fairfield church

Images courtesy of individual Flickr users.

Dickens' descriptions of the key settings in the novel are extremely vivid, and are in many ways very filmic. The reader is given a wealth of detail that helps establish an emotional response to the settings for key events.

For a filmmaker, Dickens' descriptions offer an incredibly visual stimulus for recreating these settings on film. Audiences who are familiar with the text will expect to see a version of these key settings that feels ‘true’ to Dickens’ description in the novel, so choice of location and details of set design are crucially important to a production.

Creative task

Look at each of the settings to the right, reading closely the relevant chapters of the novel. The suggested chapters are intended as a guide, not an exhaustive list! Imagine you are responsible for a new adaptation of the film. Write a brief for a location scout and set designer that describes exactly the kind of physical setting required for your chosen scene. You should explain what you want very clearly and in detail, making suggestions where appropriate.

  • The marshes and the churchyard (see, for example, Chapters I and III)
  • Miss Havisham’s mansion, Satis House (see, for example, Chapters VII and XI
  • Jaggers’ office in London (see, for example, Chapters XX and XXIV)