John Forster (–), The Life of Charles Dickens, London: Charles Dickens, The World of His Novels, Harvard. Download free eBooks of classic literature, books and novels at Planet eBook. Subscribe to our and email newsletter. Great Expectations. By Charles Dickens . Great Expectations, novel by Charles Dickens, first published serially in All the Year Round in –61 and issued in book form in The classic novel was .
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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 of Charles Dickens's most fascinating novels, Great Expectations follows the orphan Pip as he leaves behind a childhood of misery and poverty. The mysterious tale of an orphan who is made into a gentleman, with one of the best opening scenes you'll ever read!.
The story opens with the narrator, Pip, who introduces himself and describes a much younger Pip staring at the gravestones of his parents. This tiny, shivering bundle of a boy is suddenly terrified by a man dressed in a prison uniform. The man tells Pip that if he wants to live, he'll go down to his house and bring him back some food and a file for the shackle on his leg.
Pip runs home to his sister, Mrs. Joe Gragery, and his adoptive father, Joe Gragery.
Joe is a loud, angry, nagging woman who constantly reminds Pip and her husband Joe of the difficulties she has gone through to raise Pip and take care of the house. Pip finds solace from these rages in Joe, who is more his equal than a paternal figure, and they are united under a common oppression.
Pip steals food and a pork pie from the pantry shelf and a file from Joe's forge and brings them back to the escaped convict the next morning. Soon thereafter, Pip watches the man get caught by soldiers and the whole event soon disappears from his young mind. Joe comes home one evening, quite excited, and proclaims that Pip is going to "play" for Miss Havisham , "a rich and grim lady who lived in a large and dismal house.
He meets a girl about his age, Estella , "who was very pretty and seemed very proud. He then meets Miss Havisham, a willowy, yellowed old woman dressed in an old wedding gown. Miss Havisham seems most happy when Estella insults Pip's coarse hands and his thick boots as they play.
Pip is insulted, but thinks there is something wrong with him. He vows to change, to become uncommon, and to become a gentleman. Pip continues to visit Estella and Miss Havisham for eight months and learns more about their strange life.
Miss Havisham brings him into a great banquet hall where a table is set with food and large wedding cake. But the food and the cake are years old, untouched except by a vast array of rats, beetles and spiders which crawl freely through the room.
Her relatives all come to see her on the same day of the year: her birthday and wedding day, the day when the cake was set out and the clocks were stopped many years before; i. Pip begins to dream what life would be like if he were a gentleman and wealthy. This dream ends when Miss Havisham asks Pip to bring Joe to visit her, in order that he may start his indenture as a blacksmith.
Miss Havisham gives Joe twenty five pounds for Pip's service to her and says good-bye. Pip explains his misery to his readers: he is ashamed of his home, ashamed of his trade. He wants to be uncommon, he wants to be a gentleman. He wants to be a part of the environment that he had a small taste of at the Manor House. Early in his indenture, Mrs. Joe is found lying unconscious, knocked senseless by some unknown assailant. She has suffered some serious brain damage, having lost much of voice, her hearing, and her memory.
Furthermore, her "temper was greatly improved, and she was patient. Joe, Biddy , a young orphan friend of Pip's, moves into the house. The years pass quickly. It is the fourth year of Pip's apprenticeship and he is sitting with Joe at the pub when they are approached by a stranger. Pip recognizes him, and his "smell of soap," as a man he had once run into at Miss Havisham's house years before. Back at the house, the man, Jaggers , explains that Pip now has "great expectations.
The benefactor, however, does not want to be known and is to remain a mystery. Pip spends an uncomfortable evening with Biddy and Joe, then retires to bed. There, despite having all his dreams come true, he finds himself feeling very lonely.
Pip visits Miss Havisham who hints subtly that she is his unknown sponsor. Pip goes to live in London and meets Wemmick , Jagger's square-mouth clerk. Wemmick brings Pip to Bernard's Inn, where Pip will live for the next five years with Matthew Pocket 's son Herbert, a cheerful young gentleman that becomes one of Pip's best friends.
From Herbert, Pips finds out that Miss Havisham adopted Estella and raised her to wreak revenge on the male gender by making them fall in love with her, and then breaking their hearts. Pip is invited to dinner at Wemmick's whose slogan seems to be "Office is one thing, private life is another. Although he lives in a small cottage, the cottage has been modified to look a bit like a castle, complete with moat, drawbridge, and a firing cannon.
The next day, Jaggers himself invites Pip and friends to dinner. Pip, on Wemmick's suggestion, looks carefully at Jagger's servant woman -- a "tigress" according to Wemmick. She is about forty, and seems to regard Jaggers with a mix of fear and duty. Pip journeys back to the Satis House to see Miss Havisham and Estella, who is now older and so much more beautiful that he doesn't recognize her at first.
Facing her now, he slips back "into the coarse and common voice" of his youth and she, in return, treats him like the boy he used to be. Pip sees something strikingly familiar in Estella's face. He can't quite place the look, but an expression on her face reminds him of someone. Pip stays away from Joe and Biddy's house and the forge, but walks around town, enjoying the admiring looks he gets from his past neighbors.
Soon thereafter, a letter for Pip announces the death of Mrs.
Joe Gragery. Pip returns home again to attend the funeral. Later, Joe and Pip sit comfortably by the fire like times of old.
Biddy insinuates that Pip will not be returning soon as he promises and he leaves insulted. Back in London, Pip asks Wemmick for advice on how to give Herbert some of his yearly stipend anonymously. Narrator Pip describes his relationship to Estella while she lived in the city: "I suffered every kind and degree of torture that Estella could cause me," he says.
Pip finds out that Drummle , the most repulsive of his acquaintances, has begun courting Estella. Years go by and Pip is still living the same wasteful life of a wealthy young man in the city. A rough sea-worn man of sixty comes to Pip's home on a stormy night soon after Pip's twenty-fourth birthday. Pip invites him in, treats him with courteous disdain, but then begins to recognize him as the convict that he fed in the marshes when he was a child. The man, Magwitch , reveals that he is Pip's benefactor.
Since the day that Pip helped him, he swore to himself that every cent he earned would go to Pip. Pip is horrified. All of his expectations are demolished. There is no grand design by Miss Havisham to make Pip happy and rich, living in harmonious marriage to Estella. The convict tells Pip that he has come back to see him under threat of his life, since the law will execute him if they find him in England. Pip is disgusted with him, but wants to protect him and make sure he isn't found and put to death.
Herbert and Pip decide that Pip will try and convince Magwitch to leave England with him. More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Great Expectations , please sign up. What's wrong with having the "great expectations" Pip had? Obviously, everyone wants to be rich, famous and marry the beautiful woman you are obsessed with.
Personally, I do not think there are anything wrong with that. So what's the significance of the title -- "Great Expectations"? Jennifer Cipri Good question! I think what made it wrong was how he came to have those expectations: He felt worthless being poor and many of the adults in his life …more Good question!
He felt worthless being poor and many of the adults in his life treated him as if he were subhuman.
'Great Expectations' Review
They ingrained a sense of self-loathing in him. I almost cried when he tried to rip his own hair out after Estella made him cry. It's one of the saddest scenes I've ever read in my life! Dickens was really genius in showing how suppression and poverty have such a crushing effect on the spirit and how the true reality of happiness lies nowhere near material gains but in goodness, forgiveness and love.
I read this as a kid, an abridged version of around pages, how is it like reading the unabridged version? Is it a quick, well-paced read? Please advice. Nichelle I haven't read the abridged version so I can't say what all you're missing out on by just reading that but, I assume you're probably missing out on a …more I haven't read the abridged version so I can't say what all you're missing out on by just reading that but, I assume you're probably missing out on a lot.
The original is very long but, to me, it's completely worth it. That's just my opinion. But it's hard for me to imagine that anyone could successfully summarize the pages of brilliance into a quarter the length.
The overall plot is very complex and drawn out over a long period of time. It took me a couple of months to read the book but that helped me understand how much time was passing in the book. The length of the book adds to the development of the characters. I read this book when I was about 15 and even though I live in a completely different world from Pip's character, it was one of the first times that I really related to a character and felt as though I knew him or as though I could have been him.
That might sound weird but what I really mean is that there is a lot of worth in this book and I would definitely recommend reading the original. See all 34 questions about Great Expectations…. Lists with This Book.
Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. My students and some of my friends can't ever figure out why I love this novel so much.
I explain how the characters are thoroughly original and yet timeless, how the symbolism is rich and tasty, and how the narrative itself is juicy and chock-full of complexity, but they just shake their heads at me in utter amazement and say, "What's wrong with you, dude? I give them ten or fifteen years. Perhaps they'll have to read it again in college, or maybe they'll just try reading My students and some of my friends can't ever figure out why I love this novel so much. Perhaps they'll have to read it again in college, or maybe they'll just try reading it again as an adult to see if they can try to figure out why it's such a "classic," but after some time has passed from their initial encounter with the novel, they will find that I am not so crazy after all and that the book is in fact one of the best examples--if not the best example--of the novel.
This happens to me all the time: I will re-read something I was forced to read in middle school and high school, remembering how much I hated it then, and will find that I actually love it now, as an adult.
Sure, those "classics" may have taught me something about literary analysis, symbolic patterns, and the like, but I couldn't appreciate it for its complexity until I was older. I guess the rule of wine appreciation applies here, too: Havisham is one of my favorite characters to ever appear in all of the literature I have read.
There is so much density and complexion to her character that I could literally make an entire career out of writing discourses on her characterization. She has even invaded the way I think about the world and the people I have met: I have, for instance, started referring to those instances where parents try to achieve success through their children "the Havisham effect" unfortunately, you see this all too often in the world of teaching.
Havisham's name is another exasperatingly fantastic aspect of her character: You don't get this sort of characterization much of anywhere else in the literary scene.
Another reason I love this novel so much is its plotting. Remember, Dickens was writing in a serialized format so he needed to keep his readers hooked so that they'd want to download the next issue of his periodical, All the Year Round , in order to see what happens next. Thus, the plot of Great Expectations is winding, unpredictable, and quite shocking at points.
Certainly, in terms of heavy action--well, what our youngsters these days would call action, fighting and big explosions and what-not--there is none, or very little at most, but that's not the thing to be looking for. Figure out the characters first, and then, once you've gotten to know and even care for them or hate them , you will be hooked on the plot because you will want to know what happens to these people who you've invested so much feeling into.
This is, of course, true of all novels, but it's what I tell my students when they read Great Expectations for the first time, and by gum, it's helped more than a few of them get through the novel successfully. So, if you read Great Expectations in middle school, high school, or college, but haven't picked it up since, I urge you to do so. With a more patient and experienced set of eyes, you just might surprise yourself. View all 49 comments.
It was the first of Dickens' works that I'd read of my own volition, the only other being Oliver Twist , which we'd studied parts of in school. You know, I missed out on a lot when I was thirteen. By this, I mean that I didn't always understand the deeper meaning lying beneath the surface of my favourite classics. I favoured fast-paced and gritty stories and didn't understand the love for Austen later cured.
But there was something about Great Expectations that hit me hard on all levels and there was a deeper understanding I took from it even back then. I should say first of all, this book makes me feel sad. Not a Lifetime movie emotionally overwrought pass-me-the-kleenex kind of sad. I have read it several times and have never once cried while reading it.
But the book never fails to leave me with this hollow feeling that things could have been so different. When I was a kid, I often wished I could jump inside the TV and warn the good guys not to do something; stop something horrible from happening. This is that kind of book for me. All the not-knowing and mistaken assumptions that float between the characters in this novel is torture. Some readers don't like Dickens.
He's been called "lacking in style", as well as a bunch of other things. Well, I think he's like the Stephen King of the Victorian era. He loves his drama, his characters are well-drawn but sometimes edging towards caricatures, he has a wonderful talent for painting a vivid picture of a scene in your mind but a bunch of his books are a hundred pages too long. I love his stories. And I love his characters.
In Great Expectations , you have the orphaned Philip "Pip" Pirrip who has spent his short life being poor and being bullied by his sister who is also his guardian. You have Joe Gargery, a kind man who also allows himself to be bullied by Pip's sister his wife. Then you have the infamous Miss Havisham who was abandoned at the altar and now spends her days wandering around her mansion in her old wedding dress, hating men and raising the young Estella to be just like her.
We all yearn for something badly at times. Imagine having the chance to get exactly what you always wanted. Imagine becoming better and higher than you knew was possible. Imagine having all of that and then realizing that perhaps the most important thing you ever had got left behind. Pip was always my favourite Dickens protagonist because he wants so much and I sympathise with him.
I can understand why he does what he does and why he wants what he wants. But the saddest thing is that ambition can make you lose sight of other important things and Pip has a lot of hard lessons to learn along the way. It's a book that was extremely relevant to the times when social class was of utmost importance in Britain.
Essentially, the book deconstructs what it means to be a "gentlemen" and makes a not-so-subtle criticism of a class-based society. Who are the real gentlemen? The top hat wearing men of London with all their fine china and ceremony? Pip, who gets a chance to become one of them? Or Joe Gargery, the rough-talking blacksmith who even years later tells Pip: There is a powerful lesson in here and I love it.
Even after all these years. Blog Facebook Twitter Instagram View all 46 comments. May 03, Jeffrey Keeten rated it it was amazing Shelves: I saw that the dress had been put upon the rounded figure of a young woman, and that the figure upon which it now hung loose had shrunk to skin and bone.
I have heard of her circumstances, discussed her in English Literature classes, and even referenced her in a paper. She is a tragic figure tinged with true insanity; and yet, someone in complete control of her faculties when it comes to talking about HER money. She was jilted at the altar and like a figure from mythology she is suspended in time.
She wears her tattered wedding dress every day and sits among the decaying ruins of her wedding feast. We meet our hero Pip when in an act of charity born more of fear than goodwill he provides assistance to a self-liberated convict named Abel Magwitch.
It was a rather imprudent thing to do similar to one of us picking up a hitchhiker in an orange jumpsuit just after passing a sign that says Hitchhikers in this area may be escaped inmates. Little does he know, but this act of kindness will have a long term impact on his life.
Pip and the Convict. Pip is being raised by his sister, an unhappy woman who expresses her misery with harsh words and vigorous smacks. He intimates that he was the puppet master pulling the strings that allowed that good fortune to find a proper home. She is the brutal combination of spoiled, beautiful, and heartless. She wants Pip to fall in love with her to provide a training ground for exactly how to keep a man in love with her and at the same time treat him with the proper amount of disdain.
If she favors you, love her. If she wounds you, love her. If she tears your heart to pieces,— and as it gets older and stronger it will tear deeper,— love her, love her, love her! Pip is fully aware of the dangers of falling in love with Estella, but it is almost impossible to control the heart when it begins to beat faster. No chance suddenly becomes a slim chance. Pip is not to know where these great expectations are coming from, but he assumes it is Miss Havisham as part of her demented plans for exacting revenge by using Estella to break his heart.
I thought it had the most dismal trees in it, and the most dismal sparrows, and the most dismal cats, and the most dismal houses in number half a dozen or so , that I had ever seen. I was not surprised to discover that Dickens had intended this novel to be twice as long, but due to contractual obligations with the serialization of the novel Dickens found himself in a quandary.
He had a much larger story percolating in his head, but simply out of room to print it.
Nothing drives a reader crazier than knowing that this larger concept was realized, but never committed to paper. The rest of Great Expectations exists only in the lost dreams of Dickens. Pip is a willing victim; and therefore, not a victim because he fully realized that Miss Havisham was barking mad, and that Estella had been brainwashed into being a sword of vengeance. He was willing to risk having his heart wrenched from his body and dashed into the sea for a chance that Estella would recognize that happiness could be obtained if she would only forsake her training.
It will not be what he expects and provides a nice twist to the novel. There are blackguards, adventures, near death experiences, swindlers, agitations both real and imagined, and descriptions that make the reader savor the immersion in the black soot and blacker hearts of Victorian society.
Better late than never, but I now have more than a nodding acquaintance with Miss Havisham, Pip, and the supporting cast. They will continue to live in my imagination for the rest of my life.
If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http: View all 61 comments. Jan 17, Sean Barrs the Bookdragon rated it it was amazing Shelves: Pip is such a fool; he constantly misjudges those around him, and he constantly misjudges his own worth. This has lead him down a road of misery because the person who he "Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day.
This has lead him down a road of misery because the person who held the highest expectations for Pip was Pip himself. But, in spite of this, Pip does learn the error of his ways and becomes a much better person, though not before hurting those that have the most loyalty to him.
The corrupting power of money is strong through this novel The money Pip received clouds his vison completely. He, in his innocence, longed to be a gentleman, but when he has the chance he forgets everything thing he is. In his self-imposed aggrandisement he can only deduce that his money came from a source of respectability; his limited capacity has determined that only he, a gentleman, could receive money from a worthy source.
But, what he perceives as respectable is the problem. Pip has falsely perceived that to be a gentleman one must have money, and must have the social graces that comes with it.
However, this is far from the truth as Pip later learns. He thinks Joe is backward and ungentlemanly, but Joe, in reality, is more of a gentle man than Pip could ever be. In this, he has forgotten his routes and his honest, if somewhat rough, upbringing.
He has been tainted by money and the rise in class that came with it. I think if he never received the allowance he would have eventually been happy at the forge. He may have sulked for a year or two, but, ultimately, he would have got over himself as he does eventually do.
The money gave him hope; it gave him a route in which he could seek his Estella. Without the money he would have realised she was, in fact, unobtainable regardless of his class; he would have moved on and got on with his life. Through the correcting of his perceptions he learns the value of loyalty and simple human kindness.
This changes him and he is, essentially, a much better person for it. He learns the errors of his ways, and how shameful and condescending his behaviour has been to those that hold him most dear, namely Joe. You can feel the pain in his narration as he tells the last parts of his story; it becomes clear that Pip could never forgive himself for his folly. He is repentant, but the damage is done. Heaven knows we never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of the earth, overlaying our hard hearts.
It creates an ending that, for me, was perfect. It is not the ending that Pip thought he would get, but it is the ending this novel deserved. He has grown but, like Havisham, cannot turn back the clocks. The ending Joe receives signifies this; he, as one of the only true gentleman of the novel, receives his overdue happiness. Whereas Pip is destined to spend the rest of his life in a state of perpetual loneliness, he, most certainly, learnt his lesson the hard way.
I have been bent and broken, but - I hope - into a better shape. Abel Magwitch and Miss Havisham are two incredibly miserable individuals because life has really got them down. Havisham is the caricature of the spinster; she is stuck in the past quarter to nine to be precise and is unable to move on; she has turned bitter and yellow; she has imposed herself to perpetual agony.
Despite her harshness and venom there is a flicker of light within her soul that Pip unleashes. And then there is the lovable Abel Magwitch. The poor man had been used and cheated; he had been bargained away and sacrificed.
He has been shown no kindness in his life and when he meets a young Pip in the marshes he is touched by the small measure of friendship the boy offers him. His response: These characters are incredibly memorable and harbour two tragic and redemptive stories. But, in order to display their anguish to the world and society, they both use another to exact their revenge.
I love Great Expectations. It is more than just a story of love; it is a strong story about the power of loyalty and forgiveness; it is a story about falsehoods and misperceptions; it is a story of woe and deeply felt sadness: It is an extraordinary novel.
I've now read it three times, and I know I'm not finished with yet. View all 18 comments. Sep 10, Stephen rated it it was amazing Shelves: Great Expectations …were formed The votes have been tallied , all doubts have been answered and it is official and in the books After love, love, loving A Tale of Two Cities , I went into this one with, you guessed it [insert novel title] and was nervous and wary of a serious let down in my sophomore experience with Dickens.
Silly me, there was zero reason for fear and this was even more enjoyable than I had hoped. Not quite as standing ovation-inducing as A Tale of Two Cities , but that was more a function of the subject matter of A Tale of Two Cities being more attractive to me.
Dickens prose is the essence of engaging and his humor is both sharp and subtle and sends warm blasts of happy right into my cockles.
My sister, Mrs. In addition to his ability to twist a phrase and infuse it with clever, dry wit, Dickens is able to brings similar skill across the entire emotional range. When he tugs on the heart-strings, he does so as a maestro plucks the violin and you will feel played and thankful for the experience.
For now my repugnance to him had all melted away, and in the hunted, wounded, shackled creature who held my hand in his, I only saw a man who had meant to be my benefactor, and who had felt affectionately, gratefully, and generously, towards me with great constancy through a series of years.
I only saw in him a much better man than I had been to Joe. We were always more or less miserable, and most of our acquaintance were in the same condition.
There was a gay fiction among us that we were constantly enjoying ourselves, and a skeleton truth that we never did. To the best of my belief, our case was in the last aspect a rather common one.
Dickens never bashes over the head with the emotional power of his prose. In fact, it is the quiet, subtle method of his delivery of the darker emotions that make them so powerful. Combine his polished, breezy verse with his seemingly endless supply of memorable characters that is his trademark and you have the makings of a true classic There are so many unique, well drawn characters in this story alone that it is constantly amazing to me that he was able to so regularly populate his novels with such a numerous supply.
To name just a few, Great Expectations gives us: Joe Gargery, - the cold and unemotional Estella, - the officious, money-grubbing Mr. Pumblechook, and - the iconic Victorian businessman Mr. The only criticism I have for the book is that I tend to agree with some critics that the original "sadder" ending to the story was better and more in keeping with the rest of the narrative.
However, as someone who doesn't mind a happy ending, especially with characters I have come to truly care for, that is a relatively minor gripe. A few bonus quotes that I thought were too good not to share: View all 72 comments. Feb 06, Nayra. View all 30 comments. View all 17 comments. Jan 04, Matt rated it liked it Shelves: Admittedly, I can be a bit dismissive of the classics.
By which I mean that many of my reviews resemble a drive-by shooting. Even though I should expect some blowback, I still get a little defensive. I console myself with the belief that I have relatively decent taste. Indeed, I have two principled reasons for not liking many certified classics. Strike that. I have one paranoid reason, and one semi-principled reason. The paranoid first. Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to read so many so-called classics? A conspiracy of English majors and literature majors and critics all over the globe.
These individuals form an elitist guild; like all guilds and licensing bodies, their goal is to erect barriers to entry. This snooty establishment has elevated the most dense, inscrutable works to exalted status, ensuring that the lower classes stay where they belong: What if they are wrong?
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Am I the only one who thinks it possible that true greatness lies within Twilight? Okay, moving on. My principled objection to various classic novels is that I love reading, and have loved to read from an early age I also loved to complain from an early age. To that end, classics are the worst thing to ever happen to literature, with the exception of Dan Brown. Every drug dealer and fast-food marketer knows that you have to hook kids early in life. Forcing students to consume classics too soon is akin to the neighborhood dope peddler handing out asparagus and raw spinach.
The problem is worst in high schools, where English teachers seem intent on strangling any nascent literary enjoyment in the crib. At least, that was my experience. When my teacher tried to shove Dickens down my throat, I started to lose interest in the written word, and gain interest in the girls on the cheerleading chess team. Great Expectations was one of the first classics to which I returned.
Returned with a shudder, I might add. Heck, I liked it even. So there. Save your hate mail. I do not come here to condemn Dickens, merely to damn him with faint praise.
In many ways, Great Expectations is prototypical Dickens: The central character, the first person narrator, is an orphan surprise! It was a rimy morning, and very damp. I had seen the damp lying on the outside of my little window, as if some goblin had been crying there all night, and using the window for a pocket-handkerchief.
On every rail and gate, wet lay clammy, and the marsh-mist was so thick that the wooden finger on the post directing people to our village — a direction which they never accepted, for they never came there — was invisible to me until I was quite close under it. Then, as I looked up at it, while it dripped, it seemed to my oppressed conscience like a phantom devoting me to the Hulks.
Pip helps Magwitch out of his shackles, and steals him a pie and some brandy. Later, Magwitch is recaptured, though Pip remains fearful that his role in the attempted escape will be discovered. Later, young Pip is taken to the home of the wealthy old Miss Havisham, to play with her adopted daughter, Estella.
She was left at the altar as a younger woman, and now whiles away her days in her crumbling wedding dress, all the clocks in her house stopped at 8: Nevertheless, Pip falls in love with Estella. This begins the long period of insufferable Pip, who will constantly struggle to rise above his station, while simultaneously racking up debts and alienating the people who truly love him.
At some point, Pip is approached my Mr. Jaggers, a cunning lawyer with many clients who end up at the end of a noose he also has a compulsive propensity towards hand-washing. To receive his money, Pip is told he must travel to London, become a gentleman, and retain his name. Pip does so, believing all the while that his benefactor is Miss Havisham. Of course, this being a Dickens novel, there is a lot more swirling about.
Everywhere you look, there are colorful satellite characters who seem all the more lively for orbiting Pip. Though unlikeable at times, Pip is mostly dull. Mainly, I attribute this to the first-person narrative. It is easy to look out onto the world, and harder to look inward.
Thus, Pip is better at dramatizing the people he meets than in understanding himself. There is also Herbert Pocket, who becomes friends with Pip, even though their relationship begins with near-fisticuffs. Pocket comes from a huge, dysfunctional family, that Dickens describes with apparent glee. Character lists may become necessary. Of course, Dickens hates randomness, and it is worth bearing in mind that most of the people you meet, even the secondary personages, will tie back into the main story.
Great Expectations involves a bit of a twist. If it is possible to spoil something published in The bigger and messier the better. I think this has something to do with payoff. Usually, when you read a novel, it moves towards some sort of climax, a set piece of action or emotional upheaval and resolution. With Dickens, though, you are moving towards a lesson. He was a great moralizer and critic, and he used his novels as a canvas on which to make his points.
Great Expectations is no exception. It is a homily directed at a Victorian England stratified by class and family background, where station was defined even more by lineage than by wealth. Against this backdrop, young Pip goes out into the world, abandons his family and faithful old Joe, makes horribly inaccurate judgments about people, and finally learns that there is no place like home.
View all 22 comments. Boring, dull, lifeless, and flat. This is so drawn out and boring I kept having to remind myself what the plot was. 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.Pip is to leave for London, but presuming that Miss Havisham is his benefactor, he first visits her.
Pip meets Estella when she is sent to Richmond to be introduced into society. Next Book Summary. 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. The only happy ending is Biddy and Joe's marriage and the birth of their two children, since the final reconciliations, except that between Pip and Magwitch, do not alter the general order.
Pip declares his love to Estella, who, coldly, tells him that she plans on marrying Drummle.
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