Great Expectations is the thirteenth novel by Charles Dickens and his penultimate completed . Magwitch shares his past history with Pip, and reveals that the escaped convict whom he fought in the churchyard was Compeyson, the fraudster. Will his great expectations be fulfilled? The classic Charles Dickens novel retold for children ready to tackle longer and more complex stories. Part of the. Great Expectations is the story of Pip, an orphan boy adopted by a .. is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
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Great Expectations book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. In what may be Dickens's best novel, humble, orphaned Pip is. One evening, a powerful London lawyer, Mr. Jaggers, visits Pip and Joe and informs them that Pip has "great expectations." Pip is overjoyed and assumes the . Charles Dickens's Great Expectations tells the story of Pip, an English orphan who rises to Great Expectations is a bildungsroman, or coming-of-age novel.
He is a strong man who bears the shortcomings of those closest to him. She brings him up after their parents' death. She does the work of the household but too often loses her temper and beats her family. Orlick, her husband's journeyman, attacks her during a botched burglary, and she is left disabled until her death. Mr Pumblechook, Joe Gargery's uncle, an officious bachelor and corn merchant. While not knowing how to deal with a growing boy, he tells Mrs Joe, as she is known, how noble she is to bring up Pip.
As the person who first connected Pip to Miss Havisham, he claims to have been the original architect of Pip's expectations. Pip dislikes Mr Pumblechook for his pompous, unfounded claims. When Pip stands up to him in a public place, after those expectations are dashed, Mr Pumblechook turns those listening to the conversation against Pip. Miss Havisham and her family[ edit ] Miss Havisham , a wealthy spinster who takes Pip on as a companion for herself and her adopted daughter, Estella.
Her house is unchanged as well. She hates all men, and plots to wreak a twisted revenge by teaching Estella to torment and spurn men, including Pip, who loves her. Miss Havisham is later overcome with remorse for ruining both Estella's and Pip's chances for happiness. Shortly after confessing her plotting to Pip and begging for his forgiveness, she is badly burned when her dress accidentally catches fire. In a later chapter Pip learns from Joe that she is dead.
Estella , Miss Havisham's adopted daughter, whom Pip pursues. She is a beautiful girl and grows more beautiful after her schooling in France. Estella represents the life of wealth and culture for which Pip strives. She warns Pip of this repeatedly, but he will not or cannot believe her. Estella does not know that she is the daughter of Molly, Jaggers's housekeeper, and the convict Abel Magwitch, given up for adoption to Miss Havisham after her mother was arrested for murder. In marrying Bentley Drummle, she rebels against Miss Havisham's plan to have her break a husband's heart, as Drummle is not interested in Estella but simply in the Havisham fortune.
Matthew Pocket, Miss Havisham's cousin. He is the patriarch of the Pocket family, but unlike her other relatives, he is not greedy for Havisham's wealth. Herbert Pocket, the son of Matthew Pocket, who was invited like Pip to visit Miss Havisham, but she did not take to him. Pip first meets Herbert as a "pale young gentleman" who challenges Pip to a fistfight at Miss Havisham's house when both are children. He later becomes Pip's friend, tutoring him in the "gentlemanly" arts and sharing his rooms with Pip in London.
Camilla, one of Matthew Pocket' sisters, and therefore a cousin of Miss Havisham, an obsequious, detestable woman who is intent on pleasing Miss Havisham to get her money. Cousin Raymond, a relative of Miss Havisham who is only interested in her money.
He is married to Camilla. Georgiana, a relative of Miss Havisham who is only interested in her money. She is one of the many relatives who hang around Miss Havisham "like flies" for her wealth.
She is often at Satis House. She is described as "a dry, brown corrugated old woman, with a small face that might have been made out of walnut shells, and a large mouth like a cat's without the whiskers. He is a lesser actor in crime with Compeyson, but gains a longer sentence in an apparent application of justice by social class.
Mr and Mrs Hubble, simple folk who think they are more important than they really are. They live in Pip's village. Mr Wopsle, clerk of the church in Pip's village. He later gives up the church work and moves to London to pursue his ambition to be an actor, adopting the stage name "Mr Waldengarver. Biddy, Wopsle's second cousin and near Pip's age; she teaches in the evening school at her grandmother's home in Pip's village.
Pip wants to learn more, so he asks her to teach him all she can. After helping Mrs Joe after the attack, Biddy opens her own school. A kind and intelligent but poor young woman, she is, like Pip and Estella, an orphan. She acts as Estella's foil. Orlick was attracted to her, but she did not want his attentions. Pip ignores her affections for him as he pursues Estella.
Recovering from his own illness after the failed attempt to get Magwitch out of England, Pip returns to claim Biddy as his bride, arriving in the village just after she marries Joe Gargery. Biddy and Joe later have two children, one named after Pip. In the ending to the novel discarded by Dickens but revived by students of the novel's development, Estella mistakes the boy as Pip's child.
Mr Jaggers, prominent London lawyer who represents the interests of diverse clients, both criminal and civil. He represents Pip's benefactor and Miss Havisham as well. By the end of the story, his law practice links many of the characters. Wemmick lives with his father, "The Aged Parent", in a small replica of a castle, complete with a drawbridge and moat, in Walworth.
Great Expectations Summary
Molly, Mr Jaggers' maidservant whom Jaggers saved from the gallows for murder. She is revealed to be Magwitch's estranged wife and Estella's mother. Antagonists[ edit ] Compeyson , a convict who escapes the prison ship after Magwitch, who beats him up ashore. He is Magwitch's enemy. A professional swindler, he was engaged to marry Miss Havisham, but he was in league with Arthur Havisham to defraud Miss Havisham of part of her fortune.
Later he sets up Magwitch to take the fall for another swindle. He works with the police when he learns Abel Magwitch is in London, fearing Magwitch after their first escapes years earlier. When the police boat encounters the one carrying Magwitch, the two grapple, and Compeyson drowns in the Thames. Arthur Havisham, younger half brother of Miss Havisham, who plots with Compeyson to swindle her. Dolge Orlick, journeyman blacksmith at Joe Gargery's forge.
Strong, rude and sullen, he is as churlish as Joe is gentle and kind. He ends up in a fistfight with Joe over Mrs Gargery's taunting, and Joe easily defeats him. This sets in motion an escalating chain of events that leads him secretly to assault Mrs Gargery and to try to kill her brother Pip. The police ultimately arrest him for housebreaking into Uncle Pumblechook's, where he is later jailed.
Bentley Drummle, a coarse, unintelligent young man from a wealthy noble family. Pip meets him at Mr Pocket's house, as Drummle is also to be trained in gentlemanly skills. Drummle is hostile to Pip and everyone else.
He is a rival for Estella's attentions and eventually marries her and is said to abuse her. He dies from an accident following his mistreatment of a horse. Other characters[ edit ] Clara Barley, a very poor girl living with her gout -ridden father. She marries Herbert Pocket near the novel's end. She dislikes Pip at first because of his spendthrift ways. After she marries Herbert, they invite Pip to live with them.
Miss Skiffins occasionally visits Wemmick's house and wears green gloves. She changes those green gloves for white ones when she marries Wemmick. Startop, like Bentley Drummle, is Pip's fellow student, but unlike Drummle, he is kind.
He assists Pip and Herbert in their efforts to help Magwitch escape. Charles Dickens , c. His domestic life had, however, disintegrated in the late s and he had separated from his wife, Catherine Dickens , and was having a secret affair with the much younger Ellen Ternan.
The introduction of the Penguin English Library edition suggests that the reluctance with which Ellen Ternan became his mistress is reflected in the icy teasing of Estella in Great Expectations. There is also a reference to a "knowing man", a possible sketch of Bentley Drummle.
Wills, in which Dickens speaks of recycling an "odd idea" from the Christmas special " A House to Let " and "the pivot round which my next book shall revolve. Dickens was pleased with the idea, calling it "such a very fine, new and grotesque idea" in a letter to Forster. In the end, the hero loses the money because it is forfeited to the Crown.
In his biography of Dickens, Forster wrote that in the early idea "was the germ of Pip and Magwitch, which at first he intended to make the groundwork of a tale in the old twenty-number form. As the idea and Dickens's ambition grew, he began writing. Dickens "called a council of war", and believed that to save the situation, "the one thing to be done was for [him] to strike in. The magazine continued to publish Lever's novel until its completion on 23 March ,  but it became secondary to Great Expectations.
Best to get someone else to sum up the story rather than undergo the torture of reading it. View all 57 comments. A young, amiable boy Philip Pirrip with the unlikely nickname of Pip, lives with his older, by twenty years, brutal, no motherly love, that's for sure unbalanced married sister, Georgiana, his only relative which is very unfortunate, strangely the only friend he has is Joe, his brother-in -law.
She, the sister, beats him regularly for no apparent reason, so the boy understandably likes to roam the neighborhood for relief, thinking about pleasant things, the dreams of escape One night while visiting the graves of his parents, a desperate, fugitive convict finds him, and threatens the boy in the dark, disquieting, neglected churchyard cemetery, the quite terrified juvenile fears death , the man , a monster in his eyes Pip provides the criminal with food, stealing from his sister but always with the threat of discovery and vicious punishment, the whipping, he knows will follow.
Later this has surprising consequences in the future when Pip becomes older, if not wiser. An unexpected invite from the eccentric, man -hating Miss Havisham the riches person in the area, who is nuttier than a Fruitcake changes Pip prospects for the better. How weird is Miss Havisham? This recluse still wears her wedding dress, that is literally falling apart, repairs can only do so much decades after being jilted at the altar, she can never forget the unworthy, treacherous fiance who took advantage of the naive woman, for financial gain and move on Mysterious money given to the lad arrives, from who knows where but Pip is happy and doesn't ask too many questions , would you in his bad situation?
So he goes to London to become a gentleman, the poor boy now can have a real life, is happy for the first time and even better has a chance, maybe, a hope, to be honest a miracle would have to occur to win the affection of Estella, the beautiful, intelligent, however somewhat arrogant girl Miss Havisham foster daughter.
Unusual ending keeps this always interesting, as we the reader follow lonely Pip , in his almost fruitless struggle for success, yet this famous classic has one of the most original characters ever imagined in literature. Miss Havisham A "person" that cannot be forgotten. View all 12 comments. I took me nearly three whole months to finish it. Not because it was bad, but because it dragged and dragged and there are far more intriguing books out there than Great Expectations.
The good stuff: An exciting cast of characters, most of them very weird, extravagant and almost to completely ridiculous. By far my favourites are Joe - because he's such a goodhearted person - and Miss Havisham - because I totally look up to her dedication to melodrama.
What also got me hooked were the huge revelations in this book. There were a few things that I did not see coming. The bad stuff: Too many words, too many pages.
I was completely demotivated to ever finish this, which is why I made myself write a term paper about it so that I would actually pick it up again and read all of it. I worked. Honestly, though, this book was originally published in a Victorian Periodical.
Imagine watching your favourite TV Show and waiting for a new episode every week. Well, it was like that with this novel. It was published in several instalments. The readers needed to be entertained enough so that they would download next weeks magazine copy. This also means that Charles Dickens needed to fill the pages every week so that the readers got what they paid for. And I'm afraid it also reads like that.
If this novel was pages shorter, I might have enjoyed it more. There was so much going on that I didn't care about, so many details that could have been omitted.
Overall a fine classic and a well-plotted story that bored me with its obsession for things unimportant. I can't wait to watch the adoption with Helena Bonham Carter, though! Find more of my books on Instagram I reckon then that my rating should be around Eight Stars since Reality would be Five Stars and as my Expectations were on the negative axis—with an absolute value of about three--, it has resulted in a positive eight.
The Great Eight, I should anoint this book, then. How and when were my expectations formed? A child horrified by cruel settings. Then it followed a couple of encounters with the somewhat compulsory activity of reading still incomprehensible text with abstruse terms, obscure and alien meaning and unpronounceable titles.
The Pickwick Papers … phew…!!! That was Dickens for me. Clearly on the negative values. Expectations were affected by my relatively recent read of Bleak House. The humour and the excellent construction of the plot were the reality checkers.
That could have also been an exception, though. But yet again, the humour in GE captivated me, both in some of the situations, the characterisation and the language -- with the effective use of repetitions. But these I observed more from the box of a historian and not from the sentiments of a citizen. The world has changed too much for engaging that kind of empathy.
And the somewhat caricatured characters, drawn in black and white, gained the solidity of statues. If not made of flesh they were imposing.
Full redemption was sealed when I then watched this filmed version , one of the many old versions that may have daunted me years ago…and found it delightful… and funny. My thinking of Dickens now is of a sophisticated facetious writing, and this I could now detect in the filmed version. May be the quality of the camera work, surprisingly sophisticated, as well as the excellent acting, enchanted me.
No longer perceived as dreary, the old prejudices have positively been dissolved. Even the filmed version has been exorcised. Braced with courage, I took the risk to watch a newer filmed version. This is dangerous because often modern renditions of classics which have been filmed many times, is to depart from the book and offer us an excursion into the sensational, with explicit passion and sex, and modern dialogue.
Well, this production was another joy. Excellent acting and filming. But the most interesting feature was their fleshing out the somewhat caricatured characters. Modern psychology has been infused in the reasoning and motivations of the personalities, so that we understand them more. Yes, even the eccentric Miss Havisham or the much more complex Estella come across not as endearing characters thanks to their peculiarity, but as multifaceted individuals.
Likelihood at the expense of the humour,-- but everything has a price. This other version used the original ending, since Dickens changed it after his friend Edward Bulwer-Lytton advised him to do so. This was another perk of watching this excellent version.
We expect expectations to be better than reality…. It is nice when reality is the other way around. View all 28 comments. It is almost hard to believe that Dickens stays the same when you read him on several occasions in your life.
Somehow, the words and their meanings seem completely different. Obviously, it is my life experience that has changed, not the story. I find that to be one of Dickens' major achievements: Great Expectations has both, and I found mysel It is almost hard to believe that Dickens stays the same when you read him on several occasions in your life.
Great Expectations has both, and I found myself deeply engaged in the development of the immature character of the narrator, amazed at the techniques Dickens used to show the treachery and snobbery of the person who is in charge of telling the story - not an easy task, but wonderfully mastered. How is Pip going to show his faithlessness towards Joe if he is telling the story from a perspective where he is unaware of it? Dickens does it not so much through flashback moments as in David Copperfield , but rather by describing the setting in a way that gives the reader more knowledge than the narrator.
Very interesting. And yes, I enjoyed the drama of the plot as well. There is no one like Dickens to make you shiver in the face of convicts, or shake inside Newgate prison! Hard times ahead, picking another Dickens to read or re-read!
Update on the night I am wrapping up Bleak House: I can't wait to disagree with him in the same pleasant way we disagreed on David Copperfield. View all 32 comments. Jul 31, Lyn rated it really liked it. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens' first person narration centers on the formation and social development of the inimical English character Pip. Set in and around London in the early s, Dickens uses vivid imagery and his usual genius at characterization to build a story that has become one of English languages greatest and most recognized stories.
Perhaps the most intriguing is the escaped convict, Abel Magwitch, a complex man who Dickens brings to understandable life.
Another classic portrayal is that of the jurist Mr. Jaggers, a lawyer who no doubt has become the template for a long list of legal caricatures since. Two words: Miss Havisham. Typical Dickensian themes such as wealth and poverty, isolation and salvation, and the struggles between good over evil come to life in this very entertaining story. Pip, Magwich, Estella and of course Jaggers wonder how he dances?
Does he have moves? But without a doubt the one who stands out most to me is that psychological train wreck that is Miss Havisham. Well worth the time in reading, probably good enough for a re-read.
View all 10 comments. Great Expectations. What a superb title this is; wonderful, in the best and truest sense of the word. It is upbeat, exciting, and full of intrigue. It quickens our pulse and gives us a little thrilling frisson.
We want to meet them. We want to share their anticipations and their pleasure. We are hooked into the story by these first two words. Perhaps most significant of all is that it is a short, memorable title.
Great Expectations is one of Charles Great Expectations. It was also serialised in the US — oddly a few days before - and on the continent. The silver lining in this cloud is that there are a plethora of illustrations by other artists, both contemporaneous and later. By now Dickens was a master of his craft. He had abandoned the lengthy titles, which sometimes took up half a page and which are rarely used in full. He had also learned, wisely, that his public liked optimism.
They do not attract us in the same way, nor are they timeless in appeal, whereas the title Great Expectations could have been coined yesterday. In other ways too this novel stands head and shoulders above some of the others which precede it.
It is so weighty that it is in danger of toppling over, and many readers struggle with the complexity of it. There are several interwoven plots, and although it contains some of his finest writing, Dickens makes few concessions to those who prefer one strong thread to follow.
Conversely Great Expectations has a streamlined plot which moves along at a good pace. We are mesmerised by the forceful characters, and crave desperately to unravel the mysteries. In Great Expectations Dickens returns to one of his favourite themes: Yet the difference in execution between these two is startling.
It has a myriad of cameos, both comic and grotesque. It has a strong social conscience, humour, and tragedy. But it also has all the faults of a young writer fully on display.
It is overful of hyperbole, with a cardboard hero who is well nigh a saint. It is overwritten. With Great Expectations Dickens has reached his pinnacle. He has written a novel full of heartbreak and obsessions of various kinds, and the reader is putty in his hands. He has learned to control his expostulations; his declamatory outbursts, his overt theatricality, and therefore has written a much more gripping and persuasive novel.
This is a novel with everything you could want. There is adventure, excitement, horror and passion. There is madness and vast wealth beyond imagination, and a benefactor who is to remain mysterious until the denouement. There are vicious crimes, wife-beating and murders, duplicity and depravity, malicious cruelty, and characters crazed by love and obsession. There is humour, ridicule, absurdity - and overwhelming sadness and grief.
It is, in short, a perfect Dickens novel. It is a gothic masterpiece. You will thrill to the horrors of Satis House and its half-crazed inhabitant. You will despair at the ineptitude of the hero, blinded by his passion for a young woman whose heart has been turned to stone.
You will cry for the nobility of the steadfast Joe, wanting nothing for himself; only wanting to do what is right. The central character is Pip, Philip Pirrip, plagued by his feelings of inferiority at his thick boots and coarse hands. He desires wealth and status, and for some part of the novel it looks as if he might be groomed for this.
We do not have much compassion for Pip. He seems an insensitive, selfish and self-centred brat of a boy, for more than half the novel. Once destined to become a gentleman, Pip becomes increasingly arrogant and embarrassed by what he sees as his humble origins - and unforgivably casts off the man who had been his protector.
We wonder how he will ever become the Dickens hero we feel he must inevitably become. The deserving are usually rewarded in the end, and the cruel, wicked or manipulative characters usually suffer an ignominious fate. Dickens liked to please his readers; to make them feel life was as it should be. It reassured them that however messy their own lives were, things would work out alright for the heroic characters they had been reading about and championing in their newspapers, for over a year.
Is this then an exception? The answer is no. Dickens, once more, has used his skill and created a superb subtly layered novel. The novel is straightforward in its time frame, with events moving forward logically, except where there is some reported history which is usually crucial to move the story along, by one of the characters. But in among the intrigue and the action, we hear the voices of three Pips, and occasionally an omniscient narrator and occasionally even Dickens himself, when he cannot resist giving an opinion or two, or poking fun at one of his creations.
Five voices? Surely then, it must be hard to read? And again, the answer is no. It moves seamlessly between the voices, yet they add a richness and depth. We know that Pip is to become a deserving character; an upright young man. And we know this because we see him there on the page, in every word that he narrates.
We see the characters through his eyes, and we gain a full picture of them.
And the story he has to tell thrills us. It is unbelievably grotesque and riddled with gloom, full of coincidences, with highly exaggerated vivid characters, yet we believe every word, and are compelled to keep turning the page.
We soak up the darkly terrifying descriptions, and the ominous sense of place. We wonder - surely these places could not exist. Nor the characters? But yes, they could, and yes, sometimes they did. He describes Cooling Castle ruins and the marshes evocatively, imbuing the narrative with dark foreboding and menace.
As a young child himself, between the ages of 5 and 11, he had lived in Chatham, and this is only a couple of miles away from Cooling. Cooling churchyard actually contains not just five but thirteen child graves all together, from two families in the village who were related.
Perhaps Dickens - unusually - toned this down, for fear of scepticism on the part of his readers. The lively and caustic descriptions make us smile, although the smile may well be a rueful grimace. It is located at Chalk village in Kent. Dickens and his wife Catherine had stayed there on their honeymoon in What about the historical facts; are they accurate?
The answer is mostly, yes, although some dramatic license has been taken with the timing. Convicts in Britain were not actually sent to America any more at the time of Great Expectations.
It had stopped in , and after then they were sent to Australia. It is estimated that , criminals were transported to Australia between and and this is 8 years before this novel was published.
Transportation was abolished in , but was as the novel says, for life. If a convict ever returned to Britain, they were hanged by law, until , even though the original offences were sometimes quite minor by modern standards.
Dickens was also particular as to detail. There are two exciting and dramatic river scenes in the book, one at the beginning in the marshes, and an echo of it as the novel rushes headlong along the river to its climax. Dickens wanted to ensure that his description of the course of the boat was authentic under these conditions.
In order to make absolutely sure, and perhaps explore further possibilities, he hired a steamer for the day of 22nd May The route was from Blackwall to Southend.
Accompanying him on board were eight or nine friends, and also three or four members of his family. They all assumed Dickens was enjoying a relaxed summer day out, as he entertained them as usual. But in truth, his mind was working overtime, keenly observing and noticing every single detail. Nothing escaped his attention, as he made a mental note of what happened on each side of the river during the course of their journey. Dickens turned it into a crumbling ruin, full of cobwebs and their menacing lurkers , rats and dust.
So we see chapter and verse about the places. We also know that he often liked to include people he knew in his novels, sometimes in homage, but with notorious or famous celebrities of his time, it was more often to poke fun at them. Are there any such in Great Expectations.
Certainly there are, yes. Just think of the most likely character, the most over-the-top grotesque imaginable. Are you thinking of Miss Havisham, crazed by her grief and loss view spoiler [ who had vowed to wreak havoc on all mankind hide spoiler ]? For, incredibly, she is based on a real person. Miss Donnithorne was a recluse and an eccentric. She also left her front door permanently ajar, in case her groom ever returned. His domestic life was in tatters, as it had rapidly gone downhill in the late s, and he had now separated from his wife, Catherine.
He was having a secret affair with an actress, the much younger Ellen Ternan, who could well be the basis for the character of Estella. During the writing of Great Expectations, Dickens went on tour, reading and acting out parts of his immensely popular novels.
In March and April alone, he gave six public readings. More like performances, they were very successful in every way, but it took a terrible toll on his health. There are so many ways of sharing reactions to this novel. I have just tried to give a few here. You will loathe the brutish bully, Bentley Drummle and the sly lazy Orlick. Both of these provide some much-needed light relief, in their fortified miniature haven, away from the throng and bustle of the avaricious, mercantile, heartless capital, with its filth, grime and squalor.
Such affectionate portraits, these. Herbert is so good-natured; the scenes where he demonstrates how to behave in polite society are a delight. And there are many, many more. It is merely that Dickens conformed to the Victorian ideal of female goodness for his heroines. They were to be virtuous, competent, intelligent and compliant, and these are not seen as quite such admirable qualities in the present century.
No, Great Expectations is peopled with characters I am always sad to leave, as I turn the final page. Each time I read it I feel despair, horror and joy in equal measure, and surprised in such a novel to find I burst out laughing at some ridiculous aside or eccentric cameo I had forgotten.
Each time I am completely taken up in the twists and turns; one plot twist close to the end will take your breath away when you first learn it.
It feels so right, yet Dickens manages to conceal it all the way through. This is a novel where the intrigue is laced throughout.
I defy you to guess the ending, should it not be already familiar to you. Do you want a happy ending for young Pip? He does have one, of sorts. But Dickens was still not satisfied that it was acceptable, after his friend, the novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton had said it was too sad, so he wrote an alternative couple of paragraphs at the end, slightly changing its course, and leaving it deliberately vague.
The original ending was not revealed until after his death, when his mentor and biographer John Forster wrote of it. Many critics do prefer the original darker ending, as being more in keeping with the dark nature of the story.
Perhaps you may prefer the Victorian rewrite however, and to imagine a more upbeat and better future for our young hero. Most editions print the original ending afterwards, so the choice is yours. But please, if you have never read this novel, make sure you leave a place for it in your reading life. View all 36 comments. Excuse me for this infamous pun - which I'm sure has been wearily used since the book was first published -, but I had great expectations about it.
For someone as anxious as myself - I should really look into that - it Excuse me for this infamous pun - which I'm sure has been wearily used since the book was first published -, but I had great expectations about it. For someone as anxious as myself - I should really look into that - it seems expectations and anxiety are like non-identical twins: I expected Dickens's text to be dark and bleak, with touches of sadness and even over-sentimental at times.
Because of that, I was anxious and feared that if I wasn't in the right state of mind or in a proper setting which is a fair feeling, I guess: As it turned out with Great Expectations though, I really appreciated the book whenever and wherever I spent time with it and actually found the story to be humorous - as I caught myself giggling on more than three or four occasions - and even have a gothic touch - which I never supposed about it.
Parts of the novel - volume 2, as to be completely clear - were harder to get through, which only came to add up to my initial concern about the remaining of the book. Divided in three volumes, the book has different paces and approaches for each one: Volume 1, as it happens with every book we're starting to read, feels slower and more descriptive. We get to observe everyone - and the places, and people's manners - like we've just arrived to a party that's been famous for years and we've been anxious to attend to, still a little shy to go around meeting and talking to the other guests.
Volume 2, as important as it was to determine Pip's character - and also for covering an important part of his life and setting the stage for the final and striking act -, I must confess, dragged a little bit and added to my anxiety that while I was enjoying the book, it might not have what it takes to carry it to the next level, to a great 5 stars book - and to think it was supposed to be twice as long!
Volume 3, on the other hand, has a rapid pace and is surprisingly quite a page turner! Everything unfolds and we find out that the characters and events were a lot more connected than we could ever have suspected them to be and, because it was so masterfully written, it never felt like those common and overused cheap plot twists. I expected Pip's great expectations to fail as I resented him and I intimately cheered that he wouldn't become a rich man because I worried he wouldn't do Joe and Biddy - always there for him, always his faithful companions - justice if his design and ambition to become a gentleman was successful.
On the other hand, I never expected that Joe would turn his back when Pip needed him again, and I was glad to find out that Joe never did - it was never even an option for him. I never expected that Pip's journey would be all about self-understanding and education: In offering Pip money, Magwitch thought he was doing his dear boy a big deed and changing his life for the better; eventually, what accomplished that was something much simpler: Magwitch's presence.
Ashamed of the past - his life conditions, his friends, the house he lived in - Pip was all about living in the future, erasing his childhood and trying to write himself a future like he was writing a book - conversely, the book he ended up writing was all about his past.
Ashamed of his relations with an ex-convict, initially he tried everything he could to avoid being associated with Provis, worrying about the damage it would do to his own reputation. As the story went on, Pip was able to reconnect with his past and free himself from all the shame, assuming Provis as his benefactor and fighting to save his life.
Without realizing it, Pip was becoming a better person. Like our narrator - a boy who would grow up to be a gentleman as opposed to a man who was unsuccessful for most of his life and looked down in society for being an ex-convict -, Estella is also a product of frustration, a creation of Miss Havisham: It's interesting, to say the least, to follow their stories to find out if they'll be able to cut their puppets strings and become their own selves without having to comply to what was initially expected and planned for them and - as those expectations were blurred with what they wanted for themselves - unveil their free will to live on a future they could be active parts of.
There are two different endings to this story: Dickens's original intended finale and that which became the official one - although nowadays both are included in most of the editions published. On Dickens's original manuscript, Pip was to have a brief and random encounter with Estella, after being many years apart, where he would see that she had experienced sufferings in her own life and was lonely as himself: The "new" ending, although being controversial for its many interpretations, implied that Pip and Estella would end up being together in some way or another - if not as lovers, at least as good friends: View all 47 comments.
In October , Chapman and Hall published the novel in three volumes. On Christmas Eve, around , Pip, an orphan who is about seven years old, encounters an escaped convict in the village churchyard, while visiting the graves of his parents and siblings.
Pip now lives with his abusive elder sister and her kind husband Joe G Pip now lives with his abusive elder sister and her kind husband Joe Gargery, a blacksmith. The convict scares Pip into stealing food and a file. Early on Christmas morning Pip returns with the file, a pie and brandy.
During Christmas Dinner that evening, at the moment Pip's theft is about to be discovered, soldiers arrive and ask Joe to repair some shackles.
Joe and Pip accompany them as they recapture the convict who is fighting with another escaped convict. The first convict confesses to stealing food from the smithy. A year or two later, Miss Havisham, a wealthy spinster who still wears her old wedding dress and lives as a recluse in the dilapidated Satis House, asks Mr Pumblechook, a relation of the Gargery's, to find a boy to visit her. Pip visits Miss Havisham and falls in love with her adopted daughter Estella.
Estella remains aloof and hostile to Pip, which Miss Havisham encourages. Pip visits Miss Havisham regularly, until he is old enough to learn a trade. Joe accompanies Pip for the last visit, when she gives the money for Pip to be bound as apprentice blacksmith. When Pip and Joe are away from the house, Mrs Joe is brutally attacked, leaving her unable to speak or do her work. Orlick is suspected of the attack. Mrs Joe becomes kind-hearted after the attack. Pip's former schoolmate Biddy joins the household to help with her care.
Four years into Pip's apprenticeship, Mr Jaggers, a lawyer, tells him that he has been provided with money, from an anonymous benefactor, so that he can become a gentleman. Pip is to leave for London, but presuming that Miss Havisham is his benefactor, he first visits her. Herbert and Pip have previously met at Satis Hall, where Herbert was rejected as a playmate for Estella. Pip meets fellow pupils, Bentley Drummle, a brute of a man from a wealthy noble family, and Startop, who is agreeable.
Jaggers disburses the money Pip needs. A Tale of Two Cities will forever occupy a special place in my heart because even though adulthood sensibilities often cause childhood adoration to vanish in entirety, no one forgets a precocious reading of that first classic which reduces one to a sobbing, sniffling mess.
But my memories of a first reading of this are hazy at best - the absence of guillotines lopping off heads and swoon-worthy heroes who make larger than life sacrifices could explain my much younger self's lack of appreciation.
And it is only on a second reading after a gap of a decade and more can I categorize this as a novel written for adults, as a work much more worthy of 5 stars than "A Tale of Two Cities" should ever be. Predictably this rehashes many of Dickens' pet favorite themes - the orphaned, abused kid finding his way through the rat-infested, grimy bylanes of crime and penury towards self actualization, fairy godmother-stand-ins and so on - but never does it distill its thematic essence into easy dichotomies of good and evil.
With all the appearance of a bildungsroman, "Great Expectations" , sets out to demolish many cliched plot devices of Dickens' own creation. Pip never achieves the greatness he aspires to or even the fantasy love which planted the desire for upward social mobility in his mind, and yet his experiences enable him to become a more well-rounded individual who sees the world no longer through the rose-tinted shades of juvenile romanticism but with a maturer outlook. All the truth of my position came flashing on me; and its disappointments, dangers, disgraces, consequences of all kinds, rushed in in such a multitude that I was borne down by them and had to struggle for every breath I drew.
And, of course, this features a character not found elsewhere in the wide repertoire of Victorian novels - a woman who practices misandry with varying degrees of success. Perhaps to Dickens, Miss Havisham would have been merely a plot contrivance inserted to thwart our hero's romantic success and create an atmosphere of Gothic spookiness slightly palpable in many of Dickens' fairytale-ish coming-of-age tales.
But when seen through the lenses of 21st century wisdom, she encapsulates a more realistic kind of horror - a woman, whose entire life and worth are predicated on the success of her getting hitched in a patriarchal society, jilted at the altar.
Not a mad woman condemned to incarceration in the attic by a tyrannical figure of patriarchal authority but a woman who chooses to sequester herself from the world of men of her own free will. Miss Havisham is bested in the end, by her own feelings of contrition for the harm she inflicted on a young, impressionable mind, but second wave feminism will point fingers at the real culprit and exonerate her.
Her chest had dropped, so that she stooped; and her voice had dropped, so that she spoke low, and with a dead lull upon her; altogether, she had the appearance of having dropped body and soul, within and without, under the weight of a crushing blow. Pip maybe one of the most unheroic of Dickens' heroes, but he is also a proper representative of a man torn between two contradictory ideals of value judgment, forever plagued by an identity crisis so acute that he appears in my eyes as one of his most fully realized, flawed characters.
So undeserving of respect or even sympathy. Further, I don't remember Dickens being as funny and wryly witty elsewhere aside from The Pickwick Papers. Either that or I seriously need to refresh memories.
The only reason I felt this does not merit the five stars is because of that rather random ending, a last ditch attempt at adding roses and rainbows to a palette majorly mottled with splotches of grey. The five star rating would have been an inevitability had this penultimate Dickens novel been the wholesome tragedy it showed every possibility of becoming in the last stretch.
The ground belongs to me. It is the only possession I have not relinquished. Everything else has gone from me, little by little, but I have kept this. It was the subject of the only determined resistance I made in all the wretched years. All plot points considered, it is a tragedy. Very nearly so but not quite. View all 51 comments. Feb 12, Praveen rated it it was amazing. Great expectation was my first book of Dickens. Years ago when I read it, I could not possibly understand its importance from the perspective of social injustice and class conflict of that time.
I remembered that initial self-introduction of a young boy, where he talked about his family names and discussed why he preferred himself to be called as Pip and not Philip. I still had a fresh picture of how one day suddenly Pip encountered that fearful man, who was soaked in water, and smothered in mud, Great expectation was my first book of Dickens.
I still had a fresh picture of how one day suddenly Pip encountered that fearful man, who was soaked in water, and smothered in mud, and lamed by stones, and stung by nettles.
Who limped, shivered, glared and growled and cried in a terrible voice.. They shall come and look me here. This time I could feel this dramatic work of Dickens with some maturity and totality. I could feel the constant inner struggle of Pip with his own conscience.
Pip was ambitious and he constantly tried to become a gentleman. His purpose was to impress a young noble girl, Estella. In fact I grew with this story this time; I understood and reckoned many new themes. Themes of crime, class conflict, ambition and guilt were more clearly comprehended by me. Imagery of Dickens has created some eternal and timeless characters in this book. I truly adored the approved this story yet again.
It just sprawled and quivered into me! Jan 07, James rated it it was amazing Shelves: So many good choices in the world of Charles Dickens, but ultimately, even though I love me some ghosts of Scrooge, Great Expectations wins out. Most of us probably were "forced" to read this book in junior high or high school. I am one of those people; however, I was an English major in college and read it again for one of my courses.
It's one of those books that gets better as you get older and stronger each time you read it. If you only read it 5 stars to Charles Dickens 's Great Expectations. If you only read it once, or you barely recall the story, I implore you to give it another chance.
This is the story of America. This is the story within all of us. It challenges culture and race. It challenges rich and poor. It challenges men and women. It challenges children and adults. It challenges marriage and being single. It challenges everything. There are multiple plots and stories within this book. The characters are classic icons. The themes are intrinsic and speak to everything that America is built on. At first, I admit it could feel overdone. The plot is varied and complex at times, but within each story, the lessons you learn without even realizing it are the little surprises you encounter when you least expect it.
Who can't imagine the wedding dress? Who hasn't contemplated what it would be like to steal something even a pencil or a photocopy at work? Who hasn't contemplated what love means? You can't escape the realism and the drama all wrapped up in this book. It's what helps you formulate so many ideas of life. Go back and read it again if you haven't read it in years and didn't have an open mind.
Eh, then watch the movie if you still have questions. Dickens provides us with brilliant and perfectly paced narrative, along with enlightened social and political commentary.
Basically there is something for everyone here. Beyond that, I will say little more — other than that if you only ever read one book by Charles Dickens — then this must be it. View all 4 comments. How Great Expectations changed my own expectations Great Expectations changed my life.
Up until Grade 11, I was simply an okay student. And no wonder. I barely remember doing any homework. But something happened in Grade 11, and I think it had to do with Great Expectations. The book was assigned for English class, and we were supposed to start reading it over the Christmas break.
I procrastinated. Suddenly, I got excited about the past. Suddenly, I got excited about school. My grades improved. Oliver Twist. After that, I began reading Dickens on my own. I read Bleak House one summer. Ditto David Copperfield. University, perhaps? My loss. But my lifelong love of reading probably began around this time.
Rereading this book over the past week has brought back that rush of excitement and discovery. Even in this format, I was enchanted again. Joe, Magwitch, Miss Havisham, Estella, et al. So I proudly add this to my Rereading series, the rest of which can be found here: What do I remember from my first reading? The idea of this woman who stopped her life from continuing at the exact time she was jilted was truly inspired. For Dickens to make her a symbol of someone literally stuck in the past was sheer genius.
All the details are there: I think my original edition had pictures of the mice and insects crawling in and around the wedding cake. Is there a more humble and modest portrait of working class life than Joe Gargery, the blacksmith? I think not. Impossible film. The big climactic attempted escape by boat was okay, but a little old-fashioned. It was also hard for me to picture. I think the mysterious mood of dread and foreboding Dickens created was more important than the actual action.
What do I appreciate now? What happens midway through the novel, as Pip avoids Joe and the forge once his expectations have risen, is telling. We know it.
We feel it. And we know Pip will eventually have to deal with that avoidance. And the dialogue is rich and dramatic. Jaggers perfect name! Herbert Pocket. Abel Magwitch. He gives them specific traits, tics, sayings, obsessions. Feb 13, Werner rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: All fans of 19th-century fiction.That the hero Pip aspires to improve, not through snobbery, but through the Victorian conviction of education, social refinement, and materialism, was seen as a noble and worthy goal.
Adam Bede has been added to your Reading List! Pip knows that and endorses it, as he hears from Jaggers through Matthew Pocket: Though unlikeable at times, Pip is mostly dull. A Cultural Life, —