'In what may be Dickens's best novel humble orphaned Pip is apprenticed to the dirty work of the forge but dares to dream of becoming a gentleman — and one day under sudden and enigmatic circumstances he finds himself in possession of great expectations In this gripping tale of crime and guilt revenge and reward the compelling characters include Magwitch the fearful and fearsome convict Estella whose beauty is excelled only by her haughtiness and the embittered Miss Havisham an eccentric jilted bride


10 thoughts on “Great Expectations

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    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?What's wrong indeedI give them ten or fifteen years 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 good taste only comes after much patience and experiencePerhaps the thing I love best about this novel is the cast of characters their names as well as their personalities Ms 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 like the majority of Dickens' characters you pretty much know what you're in for when you first read her name she is full of lies tricks and deceits or shams You don't get this sort of characterization much of anywhere else in the literary sceneAnother 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 buy 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 than a few of them get through the novel successfullySo 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 patient and experienced set of eyes you just might surprise yourself