Great Expectations is the thirteenth novel by Charles Dickens published in 1860- 61. It is one of the finest and well received novel by Charles Dickens. It is set in two cities Kent and London in the early to mid- 19th century. Charles Dickens Great Expectation is based on an ambition and self -improvement of an orphan boy name Pip. Great Expectations shows the expectations of the character from society. therefore, the novel also deals with the subjects like; Imagery, poverty, prisons ships, fights and death.
Great Expectations has variety of cast including the central character Pip an orphan 7 year- old boy who has brought up by his harsh elder sister, Mrs. Joe Gragery, and his saintly brother-in -law Mr. Joe Gragery. Additionally, cahracters like Abel Magwitch, Estella, Miss Havisham, Mr. Jogger, Biddy and few more represents the different aspects of society. Great Expectations story revolves around Pip`s genuine desire to improve his status, comes up inevitably against the blast of upper- class arrogance, also how he confronts circumstances on his way of becoming a gentleman. The title `Great Expectations` centralize the expectations of Philip Pirip, (nickenamed as Pip). Hence, the novel deals with the maturation of a very young boy, both physically and psychologically.
Also, the novel deals with restrictive marriage laws of the time, where Pip plays the role of both a narrator and protagonist, his perspective determines what we see and how we see. The story follows Pip from age of seven to his mid thirties and qualifies as a `Buildungsroman` (a German word means, a novel dealing with one person`s formative year or spiritual education).
Great Expectations as an appropriate title
Great Expectations corresponds Pip`s life phase which divided into three, the first phase covers his childhood when he is about 7 and live with sister and brother-in-law. Mrs. Joe Gragery doesn’t treat Pip well but Mr. Joe is only one who shows concern towards Pip, he is kind to him. Also, we witnessed his terrifying encounter with a hideous convict Abel Magwitch an escape from custody, who Pip ultimately help him. (when convict Magwitch ask Pip to bring food for him) and Miss Havisham, who send invitation through Pip`s uncle to work at her house where he meets Estella and falls for her. Estella, a beautiful but an arrogant niece of Miss Havisham. She doesn’t behave well with Pip because of his low status. From this moment Pip `s life take turn when he grows his expectations to change his status and become a gentleman to marry Estella.
The title here reveals that the Great Expectations arises in Pip’s mind when he visits Miss Havisham’s house and saw Estella.
The second phase covers his mid- teens, when he meets a stranger Mr. Joggers a lawyer by profession, who came to take Pip London to educate him, with a mystery that continues till the very end of the story that who is behind Pip’s transformation. Pip`s great expectations now build up strongly as he becomes a gentleman. Unfortunately, Pip’s expectations is now on hold because of a shocking revelation that his gentle status is not because of Miss Havisham but the convict Abel Magwitch who Pip helped him in his childhood.
The third phase shows how Pip is getting closer to his expectations like who he is? Who he wants to be? But then he decided to not keep the money from the convict Magwitch, Now it shows how his great expectations are going to be fulfilled or not. Though the novel is categorized as a Buildungsroman, Dickens modifies the novel tone for dramatic effect.
There are various characters of Great Expectations seems to be pre- dominate the narration. Pip`s childhood is written realistically while some elements of gothic (related to cast and language) reflects his fright and other elements ridiculous. Eventually in the novel, the tone becomes darker as Pip finds more injustice the world is.
Great Expectations title justifies the plot at some point but also at some point it tells that having more expectations could be heart- breaking, Pip after return, he wants to express his love for Estella but he gets to know that Estella is married to Bentley Drummle and his friend Biddy is also married. Here, the title seems nothing but just a dream that Pip could not fulfill. Having expectation to be a merchant, he leaves the country, on his return Estella meets him as a widow. Charles Dickens novel Great Expectations is unexpectedly reveal the truth behind the society here.
Great Expectations is one of the most acclaimed and popular novel of Victorian England. It has topic like; education and panel reform (the attempt to improve the system of legal punishment) that transform the condition of an ambitious boy, the title is hence proves to be an appropriate but at some point it seems nothing but just an ambition through an Orphan boy’s perspective. The expectations that Pip wants to fulfill whether is to marry Estella or to transform into gentleman or to change his lowly status could not be suggested as the Great Expectations, but merely a title.
The last line of the novel is beautifully written by Dickens as `What is the use of flower? when the spring is over`
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