Youth’s comeuppance documented. But where’s benefactor?
Written in 1861, Great Expectations is a favorite among many Dickens readers. In addition to its endearing hero, Pip – a blacksmith’s bot, desperate to escape his humble background – the story is populated by a vivid cast of characters from the convict, Magwitch to Miss Haversham who, jilted long ago, still wears here wedding gown and for revenge, schools the beautiful young Estella in the art of Malice toward men.
When Pip receives a legacy and promptly leaves for London to become a gentleman, only then does he begin learning about the gulf between appearances and reality.
This is probably one of the first classic books I ever read. What really attracted me to this book was when I heard about Mrs Haversham, an intriguing character who was jilted at the alter and surrounds herself in a place locked in the time of her long-past wedding. I haven’t read any another Dickens (I know its appalling!) but I definitely am wanting to read more.
This book was set in 1800s London, following protagonist Pip, as he climbs the social ladder. This book was awesome and intriguing and really quite gripping. Yes, some parts were a little slow but finishing this book gave me such a sense of achievement and it was truly worthwhile in the end. It helped me to understand Britain in the 1800s.
From Magwitch and his vittles, to Estella and her gowns, each character added a little more foundation to the novel. The characters were stereotypical but maybe Dickens added them for a reason to help us, The Readers, understand what was happening and the motives of their actions. The style of this book is classic text, meaning there are quite a few big words – good to expand vocab.
Phillip Pirrip (Pip) made a great protagonist. I enjoyed following his social climb from just a wee lad to an aspiring gentleman, with the help of an anonymous benefactor (Yes it is revealed, wait til the end!). On the surface this book is a Bildungs Roman (a coming-of-age) but at its heart this book is a love story of a hopeless romantic and a perceived-as heartless character.
I would recommend this to ages 15+, due to some mature themes, and if you have never read a classic before I would recommend this one. It can be a slight struggle in some moments but keep persevering, It will be worth it!
In 2011 the film came out, which I watched after reading. It stuck quite well to the book plot and was a good movie.
I rated this 4 out of 5 stars as while the book was so good, it was at times a little dry. But I would definitely recommend this book to first-time Classic readers and to those with more experience in this wonderful genre.
Release Date: August 1861
What’s In A Name?
I may be wrong but I believe that the title of the novel ‘Great Expectations’ is a nod to the great expectations that Pip received in his life after going up in the world through a benefactor. He gained expectations to become a worldly gentleman and have a change of status. Do you have any other or deeper insights?
How could it not be our endearing protagonist Pip!
I quite liked both of these quotes so there can be two favorites.
“Take nothing on its looks; take everything on evidence. There’s no better rule.”Mr Jaggers
That was a memorable day to me, for it made great changes in me. But, it is the same with any life. Imagine one selected day struck out of it, and think how different its course would have been. 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.”Pip
QFTR (Questions For The Readers)
Feel free to post your comment on the questions below and state how your found this book.
- What kind of life would Pip have led had he not received the legacy?
- Who was your favorite character? Who do you think was most misunderstood?
- What do you think happened in Magwitch’s past?
- There are almost two narrators in this novel: Young Pip and older Pip (similar to that of To Kill A Mockingbird). How do their perspectives relate and differentiate to each other?