Friday, March 29, 2019
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens | Summary and Analysis
corking Expectations by Charles Dickens Summary and AnalysisCharles Dickens wrote his enduringly popular novel, Great Expectations, surrounded by December 1860 and September 1861. As was usual for this most fat of novelists, the hand was first published in serial form, and the instalments would be as eagerly awaited as the soap operas of today. This novel, however, contains an interesting and informative retroactive by the author on aspects of his life, hidden from level off those closest to him, which he had first addressed in the painfully autobiographical David Copperfield some decade years primarily (a difficult decade for Dickens in his in the flesh(predicate) life) and to some extent alters the perception of himself which Dickens had there vicariously presented.The entangled plot of Great Expectations surrounds the life of an orphaned boy, fool, who is brought up by flock by his or else cruel sister and her kindly husband, Joe, the local blacksmith, to whom reach turns for the only affection available. He sees Joe less as a father figure than a larger species of child, and as no more than my equal and this rather telling reference to equality is to be integrity of the major themes of the book, i.e. Victorian class-consciousness and notions of what constitutes a gentle human race. (One of the reasons Dickens chose, in fact to write the book was to redress the imbalance he felt he had created in the earlier creation of the gentleman Copperfield and his snobbery towards the lads with whom he was compelled to work in the grinder to which he had been consigned Dickens had suffered a similar fate as a child and never spoke of it though he never forgot it.). sprouts encounter at the beginning of the novel, in the graveyard where his p bents are buried and from the stones of which he gains his only sense of self, with the terrifying convict, Magwitch, whom he is compelled to jockstrap yet for whom he feels compassion, is quickly followed by his being called to play by the enigmatically grotesque Miss Havisham, shrouded in her wedding gown and set in time as a result of her being jilted, and this collocation has much importance as the plot progresses, clearly foreshadowing the after unravelling of the mystery of Pips benefactor. It is at Miss Havishams mansion house that Pip meets and falls instantly in love with her ward, the beautiful and outback(a) Estella, whose name, with its link to star, is emblematic of twain these characteristics. Chiefly because of this fateful opposition and Estellas disdain of his social class, Pip decides he wants to be a gentleman. This, significantly, he confides only to Biddy whom Dickens aims clear he should have married nevertheless his obsession with Estella obscures his vision on this as so much else, until it is too late. The plot advances significantly when Pip is told, by the sudden arrival of the lawyer, Jaggers, that he is to be the recipient of funds from an apart(p) benef actor which will make his dream come true and so begins the London phase of his life where he meets the amiable Herbert Pocket and his irresponsible family, the amusing and shrewd clerk, Wemmick, and re-encounters Estella.Pip is naturally encouraged by both circumstance and history to believe that it is Miss Havisham who is his benefactor but in fact, it is Magwitch, the convict, he helped as a child, who is making him into a gentleman, as he learns when Magwitch suddenly appears, and this dislocation of origins adds to Dickens development of the central theme of gentility. In fact, the true gentleman of the book is Joe, as Pip ultimately realises.In Great Expectations, Dickens is attempting to write both a mystery story, influenced by his friend Wilkie Collins success with the genre, and to examine the nature of what makes a man the object of respect and admiration. By making Pip want to uprise the ladder he is investigating the way in which Victorian partnership operated more o n wealth and station than worth. He was, indeed, ambivalent even about the ending to the novel, wanting at first to have Pip emphatically destined not to marry EstellaI was very successful afterwards to have had the inter impression for, in her face and in her voice, and in her touch, she gave me the assurance, that suffering had been stronger than Miss Havishams teaching, and had given her a gist to understand what my heart used to be. Clearly, here, Dickens intends that Pip and Estella should part and the only hopeful closure is in her apparent change. Nevertheless, the astute author changed his mind because he valued to gratify his audience rather than himself, and qualified the certainty of separation in the original by offering at least the possibility of their spousal in his revisionI took her hand in mine, and we went out of the sunk place and, as the morning mists had risen long ago when I first left the forge, so, the evening mists were rising now, and in all the va st expanse of tranquil light they showed to me, I saw the shadow of no parting from her.The significance of the difference, notwithstanding the employment by the author of one of his favourite words, shadow, is that it is optimistically inconclusive but the disparity between the two endings clearly defines the authors own increasingly embittered view of life. True, the couple depart the ruined place, an emblem of the wreckage of their shared past, but the mists remain to obscure the certainty of unbounded happiness present in the tranquil light.Part of the enduring appeal of Great Expectations is to be found in its authors power perpetually to please and the evidence is in this willingness to adapt his own directives to those of his audience. The vivacity of the characters, the twists and turns of the plot and the intensely individualized style of the first person narrative all combine to make Dickens mystery novel a book which continues to engage sassy generations of readers.Bibl iographyPeter Ackroyd, Dickens, (Sinclair Stevenson, London, 1990).Charles Dickens, Great Expectations, (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1993).John Forster, The Life of Charles Dickens in devil Volumes, (J.M. Dent Sons, London, 1966).F. Hopkinson Smith, In Dickenss London, (Charles Scribers Sons, new-made York, 1916).John Manning, Dickens on Education, (University of Toronto Press, Toronto, 1959).Steven Marcus, Dickens, from Pickwick to Dombey, (Basic Books, New York, 1965).John R. Reed, Dickens and Thackeray Punishment and Forgiveness, (Ohio University Press, Athens, OH, 1995).Paul Schlicke, Dickens and Popular Entertainment, (Unwin Hyman, London, 1988).