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 Whatever 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 herYou are in every line I have ever readAt its heart, this is a book about someone who is given an opportunity to have all their dreams come true, to be better than they ever thought they could be, to be loved by someone who they never thought would look at them 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 you and me was ever friends There is a powerful lesson in here and I love it Even after all these years.
Blog Facebook Twitter Instagram Great Expectations were formedwere met and were thoroughly exceeded The votes have been tallied, all doubts have been answered and it is official and in the books I am a full fledged, foaming fanboy of Sir Dickens and sporting a massive man crush for literature s master story tellerQuick Aside My good friend Richard who despises Chuckles the Dick is no doubt having a conniption as he reads this deep breaths, Richard, deep breaths.
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 sopho experience with Dickens Silly me, there was zero reason for fear and this was evenenjoyable than I had hoped Not quite as standing ovation inducing as A Tale of Two Cities, but that wasa function of the subject matter of A Tale of Two Cities beingattractive to me PLOT SUMMARY Here Dickens tells the story of the growth and development of young Philip Pirrip Pip who begins his life as an orphan, neglected and abused, by his sister Mrs Joe GargeryI was always treated as if I had insisted on being born, in opposition to the dictates of reason, religion, and morality, and against the dissuading arguments of my best friendsThrough a series of chance encounters, Pip rises above his disadvantaged beginnings to become a gentleman in every sense of the word Pip s journey is not a straight line and his strength of character and inner goodness are not unwavering, but, in the end, they shine through and he the better for it THOUGHTS GUSHINGS Dickens prose is the essence of engaging and his humor is both sharp and subtle and sends warm blasts of happy right into my cocklesMy sister, Mrs Joe Gargery, wasthan twenty years older than I, and had established a great reputation with herself and the neighbors because she had brought me up by hand Having at that time to find out for myself what the expression meant, and knowing her to have a hard and heavy hand, and to be much in the habit of laying it upon her husband as well as upon me, I supposed that Joe Gargery and I were both brought up by hand.
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 experienceFor 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 spent as much money as we could, and got as little for it as people could make up their minds to give us We were alwaysor 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 oneDickens 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 Okay okay I ll stop on the prose I think I ve made my point that I love his writing 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 classicwhich this happens to be 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 the wealthy and bitter Miss Havisham, the good hearted but often weak social climbing main character Pip, the good hearted criminal Magwitch, the truly evil and despicable Orlick and Drummle, the virtuous, pillar of goodness Joe Gargery the abusive, mean spirited, never to be pleased Mrs Joe Gargery, the cold and unemotional Estella, the officious, money grubbing Mr Pumblechook, and the iconic Victorian businessman Mr Jaggers It s a veritable panoply of distinct personalities, each with their own voice and their own part to play in this wonderful depiction of life in 19th Century London 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 andin 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 4.
5 to 5.
0 stars HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATIONS P.
S A few bonus quotes that I thought were too good not to share PipIn a word, I was too cowardly to do what I knew to be right, as I had been too cowardly to avoid doing what I knew to be wrong Joe to PipIf you can t get to be uncommon through going straight, you ll never get to do it through going crooked
I saw that the bride within the bridal dress had withered like the dress, and like the flowers, and had no brightness left but the brightness of her sunken eyes 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 How do you do Miss Havisham She makes many lists of the twenty greatest characters from Dicken s novels.
I hadn t ever met Miss Havisham officially, although I knew of her 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 bornof 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 smacksTickler was a wax ended piece of cane, worn smooth by collision with my tickled frameShe also browbeats her burly blacksmith husband Joe into submission Mr Pumblechook, Joe s Uncle, is always praising the sister for doing her proper duty by PipBoy, be forever grateful to all friends, but especially unto them which brought you up by handIn other words she didn t spare the rod or the child Mr Pumblechook is one of those annoying people who is always trying to gain credit for anyone s good fortune He intimates that he was the puppet master pulling the strings that allowed that good fortune to find a proper home Later when Pip finds himself elevated to gentleman s status Pumblechook is quick to try and garner credit for brokering the deal Things become interesting for Pip when is asked to be a play companion of Miss Havisham s adopted daughter Estella The girl is being trained to be the architect of Miss Havisham s revengeon all men 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 As Pip becomesensnared in Estella s beauty Miss Havisham is spurring him onLove her, love her, love her 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 Never had I seen such passionate.
Estella, the weapon of man s destruction, walking with Pip.
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 fasterHer contempt for me was so strong, that it became infectious, and I caught itHis hopes, almost completely dashed that he will ever have a legitimate opportunity to woo Estella properly are buoyed by the knowledge of a benefactor willing to finance his rise to gentleman status 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 He is willing to be the patsy for her plans because some part of him believes he can turn the tide of Estella s heart if he can find one beating in her chestYou must know, said Estella, condescending to me as a brilliant and beautiful woman might, that I have no heart, if that has anything to do with my memory The book is of course filled with Dickensonian descriptions of the bleaker side of Victorian societyWe entered this haven through a wicket gate, and were disgorged by an introductory passage into a melancholy little square that looked to me like a flat burying ground 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 As I was reading the book it felt like the plot suddenly sped up from a leisurely world building pace that permeates most Dickens novels to the final laps of an Indy 500 race 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 Pip like most young men of means spentthan his stipend allowed and as debts mount he isandanxious to learn of his benefactor s intentions 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 havethan 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 seeof my most recent book and movie reviews, visit also have a Facebook blogger page at 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 That is such a quote If there was ever a novel that shows us the dangers of false perceptions then it sGreat ExpectationsPip 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 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 novelThe 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 Indeed, Dickens contrasts societies gentleman created through social station with the true gentleman of the age who may, or may not, have any money 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, isof 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 But, that wouldn t have made for a very interesting novel Pip s journey of morale regeneration is the keyIndeed, Pip wouldn t have learnt a thing 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 wishes forgiveness from those that love him that s why he forgives Havisham, but I don t think he fully deserves it 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.
Pip s morale regeneration was a necessary facet for the brilliance of this work 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 Pip s morale regeneration and revelations are just not enough to offset the past 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 waySuffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be I have been bent and broken, but I hope into a better shape.
Anguish is in equal measures Pip s story though, ultimately, sad is not the most woe begotten of the character stories in this novel 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 For me, she is the most memorable, and well written, character in this novel because her story transcends that of Pip s 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 to repay that debt, with what he believes to be kindness, in turn 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 Havisham uses Estella to break the hearts of men, like hers was once broken Magwitch creates his own gentleman as a revenge to the world of gentleman that betrayed him I love Great Expectations It isthan 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 about how the folly of youth can alter your life for ever It is an extraordinary novel I ve now read it three times, and I know I m not finished with yet.
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Pip s conscience is oppressed because of his Christmastime meeting with an escaped convict named Magwitch 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 Miss Havisham, of course, is one of Dickens most famous creations 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 40 Miss Havisham s sole delight seems to be in Estella s cruel treatment of poor Pip Nevertheless, Pip falls in love with Estella Eventually, Miss Havisham pays Joe for Pip s services, and Pip returns to the marshes as a blacksmithing apprentice Once, Pip found Joe s profession to be honorable Now, however, after all of Estella s scornful jibes, Pip finds the work beneath his dignity 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 Jaggers informs Pip that he has a benefactor, and that this benefactor has Great Expectations for Pip 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 If there is a spine to this book, a central narrative thread, it is Pip s pursuit of the lovely, acidic Estella To this end, Pip acts poorly in society, goes in hock to his creditors, and spars with Bentley Drummle for Estella s affections Of course, this being a Dickens novel, there is a lotswirling about Everywhere you look, there are colorful satellite characters who seem all thelively 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 One of the typical Dickensian eccentrics Pip encounters is John Wemmick, a clerk for Mr Jaggers Wemmick lives in a house modeled after a castle and has a father, The Aged P, who has an affinity for firing off a cannon 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 Though Great Expectations is not as long as David Copperfield or Bleak House, it sprawls enough to cause confusion 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 In Dickens London, everybody knows everybody else, and all are ruled by the Gods of Coincidence Great Expectations involves a bit of a twist I won t assume you know the substance of this twist, the way Pip assumes the identity of his benefactor, so I will not spoil it If it is possible to spoil something published in 1861 I feel like I have a hit and miss relationship with Dickens work Usually, I m a fan of big, messy epics The bigger and messier the better However, with regards to Dickens, I ve found that I like his shorter,economical stories A Tale of Two Cities, A Christmas Carol to his bursting at the seams behemoths 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 evenby 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 That s all well and good, but not much of a reward for the days or weeks you devote to Great Expectations, especially when you can learn the same thing after two hours of The Wizard of Oz.
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.
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 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 escapeanything is better than home 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 he complies with the demands 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 onsad 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 Havishamyou begin by laughing at this pathetic woman until the melancholy shows and your heart changes little by little, you feeland realize the anguish , the hurt deep inside her, and sympathy goes out to the unhappy lady, her pain is real A person that cannot be forgotten.