Great Expectations

"Now, I return to this young fellow. And the communication I have got to make is, that he has great expectations."


CharlesDickens.jpgCharles Dickens was the first of ten children born to John and Elizabeth Dickens in 1812.Charles’ father ended up getting the family deep in debt, all of them except Charles were put in prison. Dickens’ was taken out of school and put to work at Warren’s Blacking Factory to pay his father’s debt. When his father was released, Charles was allowed to go back to school at the age of twelve. His education was cut short again when Charles was fifteen, he quit school and went to work as an office boy to a London attorney. Dickens began writing short stories and essays in 1833 for various magazines. He became quite famous for his narration of a popular comic in the Pickwick Papers in 1836. Dickens then quit his job as a reporter and began working as an editor for the Bentley Miscellany. During this time he met and married his wife, Catherine Hogarth, they had nine living children together before they separated in 1858. Dickens' career took off when he started working for the Bentley. His novelswere published in parts in his paper at monthly or weekly intervals. In 1858 Charles began to do reading tours, performing his novels, till 1869 when he had to stop due to poor health. He went to his country house, Gad's Hill, where he worked on Edwin Drood till his death suddenly on June 9, 1870. Charles Dickens was then buried in Westminster


Part 1
Great Expectation begins in the marshes of Kent in England. It follows the life of Phillip Pirrip, better known as Pip. He is an orphan boy who is being raised by his sister, who is married to the town Blacksmith, Joe Gargery. His sister is vicious and beats Pip and her husband quite often. While visiting his parents graves, external image great-expectations-book11.jpgPip runs into an escaped convict who threatens him till he brings him a file and some food. Pip feels very guilty over his part in the events even after the convict is found and returned to the prison ship. The next big event in Pip's life was when Mrs. Havisham, very wealthy old woman, invites Pip over to play with her daughter, Estella. Mrs. Havisham was an eccentric woman who was always wearing her wedding dress. She had not taken it off since she was left at the alter many year ago. Whenever Pip went to play with Estella he was ridiculed for being a mere commoner. Despite Estella's cruel treatment, Pip fell in love with her much to Mrs. Havishman's delight, who raised Estella to avenge her by breaking men's hearts. Pip and his family were hoping that because of Mrs. Havisham's interest in him she would help him become a gentlemen. Pip hoped to make her proud by getting extra lessons from his friend, Biddy. But, all his hopes are crushed when Mrs. Havisham tells him it is time for him to start his apprenticeship with Joe. Pip begins to work for Joe, hating every minute of it, but keeps quiet due to his respect and love for Joe. Pip comes home from work one day to learn his sister has been injured and requires a nurse, who comes in the form of Pip's old tutor, Biddy. Biddy continues to tutor Pip and it soon becomes obvious that she is in love with Pip. Pip is attracted to Biddy as well, despite her not being a lady, like Estella, who he is still trying to impress. Pip life is flipped upside down when a lawyer, Jaggers comes to visit him and tells him of mysterious benefactor who will help Pip become a gentlemen as long as he keeps his name as 'Pip'. He assumes that the benefactor is Mrs. Havishman who is making him into a gentlemen for Estella. Pip quickly realizes that money changes everything. Pip leaves for London by the end of the week with his new clothes, where he will be taught how to be a gentlemen by Matthew Pocket.

Part 2
When Pip arrives in London he meets with Jaggers and his secretary Wemmick. Wemmick brings Pip to the Pocket family home where he learns he will be living with Matthew Pocket. Herbert, Matthew's son, and Pip become good friends. Also living external image GREAT+EXPECTATIONS2.jpgthere are the Bentley and Startop Drummel, Pip dislikes Bentley because of his relationship with Estella. The only interaction Pip has with his old life was when Joe comes to visit him to give him a message from Mrs. Havisham. Pip is yet again embarassed by Joe. Pip is to go back to Kent and escort Estella to London, Pip takes this to mean that Mrs. Havisham wants him for Estella. Once back in London, Pip begins to recklessly throw around his money with Herbert and joins a gentlemens club 'The Finches'. Pip continues this way till he realizes how his lifestlye is putting his friend in debt and with the help of Wemmick gets a business deal for Herbert. Pip then gets the news that his sister has died and returns home for her funeral. He yet again regrets abandoning Biddy and Joe and promises to visit. Pip's life is yet again changed when he encounters a stranger who recognizes as the convict from his childhood. The convict, Magwitch, was sent to Australia and banished from England on pain of death, he has returned to tell Pip that he is his mysterious benefactor. Pip is devastated when he realized that since the money didn't come from Mrs. Havisham, he now has no hope with Estella. Pip realized he abandoned the one person who had always been there for him, Joe, for some money.

Part 3
Magwitch tells Pip he came to give him the rest of his inheritance for his help as a young boy. He tells Pip of the other convict, Compyeson, who was the reason he was in jail. Later on Pip figures out this is the same man who stole Mrs. Havisham's money and broke her heart. Pip decides to help the Magwitch escape and not to take anymore of his money. Pip soon learns that Estella is to be married to Bentley Drummle and goes to Satis to beg Mrs. Havisham to stop wedding. Pip fails to convince her and returns to London where he learns Compyeson is watching Magwitch closely. Will Estella marry Drummle? Will Magwitch leave England alive? Will Pip ever get his happy ending? Read Great Expectations by Charles Dickens to find out!

Criticism
I found Great Expectation to be a hard book to get into. The beginning was quite slow and the old English took a while to get used to. But, over all I really enjoyed reading it. It was quite the experience watching little Pip grow up and how everything he experienced in his life made him the man he was. Reading the book felt like I was his parent watching him grow up. While researching Charles Dickens I found the similarities between his life and Pip's to be quite interesting. I like seeing where an author's inspiration comes from. I like how the book had so many twist and turns, that if you didn't pay close attention you'd get lost. Pip's love for Estella really annoyed me in the beginning, he goes for a girl who thinks of him as much as she thinks of ant, while Biddy who loves him is right there. While I didn't like it as much as a Tale of Two Cities, it was still worth reading.

Like what you've read? Want more books like it feel free to read other books by Charles Dickens. My personal favorite was a Tale of Two Cities.

Literary Information
Style: Bildungsroman
Published: Serial Format
Dec. 1860 to August 1861
POV: First Person










Still can't get over the book? Watch the movie staring Ethan Hawke as Pip.
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Works Cited
Dickens, Charles. "Tale of Two Cities". Literature.org. 6/9 http://www.literature.org/authors/dickens-charles/two-cities/.
"Key Facts". Sparknotes. 6/9 http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/greatex/facts.html .
"Genre". Victorian Web. 6/9 http://www.victorianweb.org/genre/hader1.html.
"Charles Dickens". Lenin Imports. 6/9 http://www.leninimports.com/charles_dickens.html#partone .
Dickens, Charles. "Great Expectaions". Lit Quotes. 6/9 <http://www.litquotes.com/quote_title_resp.php?TName=Great%20Expectations>.