However, by tracing the origins of Pip's "great expectations" to crime, deceit and even banishment to the colonies, Dickens unfavourably compares the new generation to the previous one of Joe Gargery, which Dickens portrays as less sophisticated but especially rooted in sound values, presenting an oblique criticism of his time.
The narrative structure of Great Expectations is influenced by the fact that it was first published as weekly episodes in a periodical. This required short chapters, centred on a single subject, and an almost mathematical structure. Pip's story is told in three stages: his childhood and early youth in Kent, where he dreams of rising above his humble station; his time in London after receiving "great expectations"; and then finally his disillusionment on discovering the source of his fortune, followed by his slow realisation of the vanity of his false values.
This symmetry contributes to the impression of completion, which has often been commented on. George Gissing, for example, when comparing Joe Gargery and Dan'l Peggotty from David Copperfield , preferred the former, because he is a stronger character, who lives "in a world, not of melodrama , but of everyday cause and effect.
Shaw also commented on the novel's structure, describing it as "compactly perfect", and Algernon Swinburne stated, "The defects in it are as nearly imperceptible as spots on the sun or shadow on a sunlit sea. Further, beyond the chronological sequences and the weaving of several storylines into a tight plot, the sentimental setting and morality of the characters also create a pattern.
There is a further organizing element that can be labelled "Dangerous Lovers", which includes Compeyson, Bentley Drummle and Orlick. Pip is the centre of this web of love, rejection and hatred. Dickens contrasts this "dangerous love" with the relationship of Biddy and Joe, which grows from friendship to marriage. This is "the general frame of the novel". The term "love" is generic, applying it to both Pip's true love for Estella and the feelings Estella has for Drummle, which are based on a desire for social advancement.
Similarly, Estella rejects Magwitch because of her contempt for everything that appears below what she believes to be her social status. Great Expectations has an unhappy ending, since most characters suffer physically, psychologically or both, or die—often violently—while suffering. Happy resolutions remain elusive, while hate thrives. The only happy ending is Biddy and Joe's marriage and the birth of their two children, since the final reconciliations, except that between Pip and Magwitch, do not alter the general order.
Though Pip extirpates the web of hatred, the first unpublished ending denies him happiness while Dickens' revised second ending, in the published novel, leaves his future uncertain. Julian Monayhan argues that the reader can better understand Pip's personality through analyzing his relationship with Orlick, the criminal laborer who works at Joe Gargery's forge, than by looking at his relationship with Magwitch.
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Co-workers in the forge, both find themselves at Miss Havisham's, where Pip enters and joins the company, while Orlick, attending the door, stays out. Orlick also aspires to "great expectations" and resents Pip's ascension from the forge and the swamp to the glamour of Satis House, from which Orlick is excluded, along with London's dazzling society. Orlick is the cumbersome shadow Pip cannot remove.
Then comes Pip's punishment, with Orlick's savage attack on Mrs Gargery. Thereafter Orlick vanishes, only to reappear in chapter 53 in a symbolic act, when he lures Pip into a locked, abandoned building in the marshes. Orlick has a score to settle before going on to the ultimate act, murder. However, Pip hampers Orlick, because of his privileged status, while Orlick remains a slave of his condition, solely responsible for Mrs Gargery's fate. Dickens also uses Pip's upper class counterpart, Bentley Drummle, "the double of a double", according to Trotter, in a similar way.
Estella rejects Pip for this rude, uncouth but well-born man, and ends Pip's hope.
Finally the lives of both Orlick and Drummle end violently. Although the novel is written in first person, the reader knows—as an essential prerequisite—that Great Expectations is not an autobiography but a novel , a work of fiction with plot and characters, featuring a narrator-protagonist. However, according to Paul Pickerel's analysis, Pip—as both narrator and protagonist—recounts with hindsight the story of the young boy he was, who did not know the world beyond a narrow geographic and familial environment. The novel's direction emerges from the confrontation between the two periods of time.
At first, the novel presents a mistreated orphan, repeating situations from Oliver Twist and David Copperfield , but the trope is quickly overtaken. The theme manifests itself when Pip discovers the existence of a world beyond the marsh, the forge and the future Joe envisioned for him, the decisive moment when Miss Havisham and Estella enter his life. At this point, the reader knows more than the protagonist, creating dramatic irony that confers a superiority that the narrator shares. It is not until Magwitch's return, a plot twist that unites loosely connected plot elements and sets them into motion, that the protagonist's point of view joins those of the narrator and the reader.
Amongst the narrative devices that Dickens uses, according to Earle Davis, are caricature , comic speech mannerisms, intrigue, Gothic atmosphere, and a central character who gradually changes. Davis also mentions the close network of the structure and balance of contrasts, and praises the first-person narration for providing a simplicity that is appropriate for the story while avoiding melodrama. Davis sees the symbolism attached to "great expectations" as reinforcing the novel's impact.
Great Expectations contains the elements of a variety of different literary genres , including the bildungsroman, gothic novel, crime novel, as well as comedy , melodrama and satire ; and it belongs—like Wuthering Heights and the novels of Walter Scott —to the romance rather than realist tradition of the novel.
Complex and multifaceted, Great Expectations is a Victorian bildungsroman , a German literary genre from the eighteenth century, also called an initiatory tale. This genre focuses on a protagonist who matures over the course of the novel. Great Expectations describes Pip's initial frustration upon leaving home, followed by a long and difficult period where he gradually matures.
This period in his life is punctuated with conflicts between his desires and the values of established order, that allow him to re-evaluate his life and therefore re-enter society on new foundations. However, if viewed as a primarily retrospective first-person narrative, the novel differs from the two preceding pseudo-autobiographies, David Copperfield and though only partially narrated in first-person, Bleak House , as it falls within several subgenres popular in Dickens' time, as noted by Paul Davis  and Philip V.
Great Expectations contains many comic scenes and eccentric personalities, which play an integral part in both the plot and the theme. Among the notable comic episodes are Pip's Christmas dinner in chapter 4, Wopsle's Hamlet performance in chapter 31, and Wemmick's marriage in chapter Many of the characters have eccentricities: Jaggers with his punctilious lawyerly ways; the contrariness of his clerk, Wemmick, at work advising Pip to invest in "portable property", while in private living in a cottage converted into a castle; and the reclusive Miss Havisham in her decaying mansion, wearing her tattered bridal robes.
Great Expectations incorporates elements of the new genre of crime fiction , which Dickens had already used in Oliver Twist , and which was being developed by his friends Wilkie Collins and William Harrison Ainsworth. With its scenes of convicts, prison ships , and episodes of bloody violence, Dickens creates characters worthy of the Newgate school of fiction. Great Expectations contains elements of the Gothic genre , especially with Miss Havisham, the bride frozen in time, and the ruins of Satis House filled with weeds and spiders.
Then there is the fight to the death between Compeyson and Magwitch, and the fire that ends up killing Miss Havisham, scenes that are dominated by horror, suspense, and the sensational, such as are found in gothic novels. Elements of the silver fork novel are found in the character of Miss Havisham and her world, as well as Pip's illusions.
This genre, which flourished in the s and s,  presents the flashy elegance and aesthetic frivolities found in high society. Though Great Expectations is not obviously a historical novel Dickens does emphasise differences between the time that the novel is set c. Great Expectations begins around the date of Dickens' birth , continues until around —, and then jumps to around —, during which the Great Western Railway was built. Among these details—that contemporary readers would have recognised—are the one pound note in chapter 10 that the Bank Notes Act had removed from circulation;  likewise, the death penalty for deported felons who returned to Britain was abolished in The gallows erected in the swamps, designed to display a rotting corpse, had disappeared by , and George III , the monarch mentioned at the beginning, died in , when Pip would have been seven or eight.
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Miss Havisham paid Joe 25 guineas, gold coins, when Pip was to begin his apprenticeship in chapter 13 ; guinea coins were slowly going out of circulation after the last new ones were struck with the face of George III in This also marks the historical period, as the one pound note was the official currency at the time of the novel's publication. Dickens placed the epilogue 11 years after Magwitch's death, which seems to be the time limit of the reported facts.
Collectively, the details suggest that Dickens identified with the main character. If Pip is around 23 toward the middle of the novel and 34 at its end, he is roughly modeled after his creator who turned 34 in The title's "Expectations" refers to "a legacy to come",  and thus immediately announces that money, or more specifically wealth plays an important part in the novel.
The novel is also concerned with questions relating to conscience and moral regeneration, as well as redemption through love. Dickens famously created comic and telling names for his characters, [ citation needed ] but in Great Expectations he goes further. The first sentence of the novel establishes that Pip's proper name is Philip Pirrip, which "my infant tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit than Pip.
In Chapter 18, when he receives his expectation from an anonymous benefactor, the first condition attached to it is "that you always bear the name of Pip. In Chapter 22, when Pip establishes his friendship with Herbert Pocket, he attempts to introduce himself as Philip. Herbert immediately rejects the name "'I don't take to Philip,' said he, smiling, 'for it sounds like a moral boy out of the spelling-book'" and decides to refer to Pip exclusively as Handel "'Would you mind Handel for a familiar name?
There's a charming piece of music by Handel, called the Harmonious Blacksmith. Pip's name throughout binds him to his origins. A central theme here, as in other of Dickens's novels, is of people living as social outcasts. The novel opening emphasises this in the case of the orphaned Pip, who lives in an isolated foggy environment next to a graveyard, dangerous swamps, and prison ships. His very existence reproaches him: "I was always treated as if I had insisted on being born in opposition to the dictates of reason, religion and morality".
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Pip feels excluded by society and this leads to his aggressive attitude towards it, as he tries to win his place within society through any means. Various other characters behave similarly—that is, the oppressed become the oppressors. Jaggers dominates Wemmick, who in turn dominates Jaggers's clients. However, hope exists despite Pip's sense of exclusion  because he is convinced that divine providence owes him a place in society and that marriage to Estella is his destiny. Therefore, when fortune comes his way, Pip shows no surprise, because he believes, that his value as a human being, and his inherent nobility, have been recognized.
Thus Pip accepts Pumblechook's flattery without blinking: "That boy is no common boy"  and the "May I? May I? From Pip's hope comes his "uncontrollable, impossible love for Estella",  despite the humiliations to which she has subjected him. For Pip, winning a place in society also means winning Estella's heart.
When the money secretly provided by Magwitch enables Pip to enter London society, two new related themes, wealth and gentility, are introduced. As the novel's title implies money is a theme of Great Expectations. Central to this is the idea that wealth is only acceptable to the ruling class if it comes from the labour of others.
Her wealth is "pure", and her father's profession as a brewer does not contaminate it. Herbert states in chapter 22 that "while you cannot possibly be genteel and bake, you may be as genteel as never was and brew. She remains in a constant business relationship with her lawyer Jaggers and keeps a tight grip over her "court" of sycophants, so that, far from representing social exclusion, she is the very image of a powerful landed aristocracy that is frozen in the past and "embalmed in its own pride".
On the other hand, Magwitch's wealth is socially unacceptable, firstly because he earned it, not through the efforts of others, but through his own hard work, and secondly because he was a convict, and he earned it in a penal colony. It is argued that the contrast with Miss Havisham's wealth is suggested symbolically. Thus Magwitch's money smells of sweat, and his money is greasy and crumpled: "two fat sweltering one-pound notes that seemed to have been on terms of the warmest intimacy with all the cattle market in the country",  while the coins Miss Havisham gives for Pip's "indentures" shine as if new.
Further, it is argued Pip demonstrates his "good breeding", because when he discovers that he owes his transformation into a "gentleman" to such a contaminated windfall, he is repulsed in horror. Cockshut, however, has suggested that there is no difference between Magwitch's wealth and that of Miss Havisham's. Trotter emphasizes the importance of Magwitch's greasy banknotes. Beyond the Pip's emotional reaction the notes reveal that Dickens' views on social and economic progress have changed in the years prior to the publication of Great Expectations.
To illustrate his point, he cites Humphry House who, succinctly, writes that in Pickwick Papers , "a bad smell was a bad smell", whereas in Our Mutual Friend and Great Expectations , "it is a problem". At the time of The Great Exhibition of , Dickens and Richard Henry Horne an editor of Household Words wrote an article comparing the British technology that created The Crystal Palace to the few artifacts exhibited by China: England represented an openness to worldwide trade and China isolationism. According to Trotter, this was a way to target the Tory government's return to protectionism , which they felt would make England the China of Europe.
In fact, Household Words' 17 May issue, championed international free trade , comparing the constant flow of money to the circulation of the blood. With Great Expectations , Dickens's views about wealth have changed. However, though some sharp satire exists, no character in the novel has the role of the moralist that condemn Pip and his society. In fact, even Joe and Biddy themselves, paragons of good sense, are complicit, through their exaggerated innate humility, in Pip's social deviancy.
Dickens' moral judgement is first made through the way that he contrasts characters: only a few characters keep to the straight and narrow path; Joe, whose values remain unchanged; Matthew Pocket whose pride renders him, to his family's astonishment, unable to flatter his rich relatives; Jaggers, who keeps a cool head and has no illusions about his clients; Biddy, who overcomes her shyness to, from time to time, bring order.
The narrator-hero is left to draw the necessary conclusions: in the end, Pip finds the light and embarks on a path of moral regeneration. In London, neither wealth nor gentility brings happiness. Pip, the apprentice gentleman constantly bemoans his anxiety, his feelings of insecurity,  and multiple allusions to overwhelming chronic unease, to weariness, drown his enthusiasm chapter His unusual path to gentility has the opposite effect to what he expected: infinite opportunities become available, certainly, but will power, in proportion, fades and paralyses the soul.
In the crowded metropolis, Pip grows disenchanted, disillusioned, and lonely. Alienated from his native Kent, he has lost the support provided by the village blacksmith. In London, he is powerless to join a community, not the Pocket family, much less Jaggers's circle. London has become Pip's prison and, like the convicts of his youth, he is bound in chains: "no Satis House can be built merely with money". The idea of "good breeding" and what makes for a "gentleman" other than money. The convict Magwitch covets it by proxy through Pip; Mrs Pocket dreams of acquiring it; it is also found in Pumblechook's sycophancy; it is even seen in Joe, when he stammers between "Pip" and "Sir" during his visit to London, and when Biddy's letters to Pip suddenly become reverent.
There are other characters who are associated with the idea of gentility like, for example, Miss Havisham's seducer, Compeyson, the scarred-face convict. While Compeyson is corrupt, even Magwitch does not forget he is a gentleman. There are a couple of ways by which someone can acquire gentility, one being a title, another family ties to the upper middle class.
Mrs Pocket bases every aspiration on the fact that her grandfather failed to be knighted, while Pip hopes that Miss Havisham will eventually adopt him, as adoption, as evidenced by Estella, who behaves like a born and bred little lady, is acceptable. Pip knows that and endorses it, as he hears from Jaggers through Matthew Pocket: "I was not designed for any profession, and I should be well enough educated for my destiny if I could hold my own with the average of young men in prosperous circumstances".
Bentley Drummle, however, embodies the social ideal, so that Estella marries him without hesitation. In chapter 39, the novel's turning point, Magwitch visits Pip to see the gentleman he has made, and once the convict has hidden in Herbert Pocket's room, Pip realises his situation:. For an hour or more, I remained too stunned to think; and it was not until I began to think, that I began fully to know how wrecked I was, and how the ship in which I had sailed was gone to pieces.
Miss Havisham's intentions towards me, all a mere dream; Estella not designed for me But, sharpest and deepest pain of all — it was for the convict, guilty of I knew not what crimes, and liable to be taken out of those rooms where I sat thinking, and hanged at the Old Bailey door, that I had deserted Joe.
To cope with his situation and his learning that he now needs Magwitch, a hunted, injured man who traded his life for Pip's. Pip can only rely on the power of love for Estella  Pip now goes through a number of different stages each of which, is accompanied by successive realisations about the vanity of the prior certainties. Pip's problem is more psychological and moral than social. Pip's climbing of the social ladder upon gaining wealth is followed by a corresponding degradation of his integrity.
Thus after his first visit in Miss Havisham, the innocent young boy from the marshes, suddenly turns into a liar to dazzle his sister, Mrs Joe, and his Uncle Pumblechook with the tales of a carriage and veal chops. The allure of wealth overpowers loyalty and gratitude, even conscience itself. This is evidenced by the urge to buy Joe's return, in chapter 27, Pip's haughty glance as Joe deciphers the alphabet, not to mention the condescending contempt he confesses to Biddy, copying Estella's behaviour toward him.
Pip represents, as do those he mimics, the bankruptcy of the "idea of the gentleman", and becomes the sole beneficiary of vulgarity, inversely proportional to his mounting gentility. The boy parades through the main street of the village with boyish antics and contortions meant to satirically imitate Pip.
The gross, comic caricature openly exposes the hypocrisy of this new gentleman in a frock coat and top hat. Trabb's boy reveals that appearance has taken precedence over being, protocol on feelings, decorum on authenticity; labels reign to the point of absurdity, and human solidarity is no longer the order of the day. Estella and Miss Havisham represent rich people who enjoy a materially easier life but cannot cope with a tougher reality.
Miss Havisham, like a melodramatic heroine, withdrew from life at the first sign of hardship. Estella, excessively spoiled and pampered, sorely lacks judgement and falls prey to the first gentleman who approaches her, though he is the worst. Estella's marriage to such a brute demonstrates the failure of her education. Estella is used to dominating but becomes a victim to her own vice, brought to her level by a man born, in her image. Dickens uses imagery to reinforce his ideas and London, the paradise of the rich and of the ideal of the gentleman, has mounds of filth, it is crooked, decrepit, and greasy, a dark desert of bricks, soot, rain, and fog.
The surviving vegetation is stunted, and confined to fenced-off paths, without air or light. Barnard's Inn, where Pip lodges, offers mediocre food and service while the rooms, despite the furnishing provided, as Suhamy states, "for the money", is most uncomfortable, a far cry from Joe's large kitchen, radiating hearth, and his well-stocked pantry.
Likewise, such a world, dominated by the lure of money and social prejudice, also leads to the warping of people and morals, to family discord and war between man and woman. Another important theme is Pip's sense of guilt, which he has felt from an early age. After the encounter with the convict Magwitch, Pip is afraid that someone will find out about his crime and arrest him. The theme of guilt comes into even greater effect when Pip discovers that his benefactor is a convict.
Pip has an internal struggle with his conscience throughout Great Expectations , hence the long and painful process of redemption that he undergoes. Pip's moral regeneration is a true pilgrimage punctuated by suffering. Like Christian in Bunyan 's The Pilgrim's Progress , Pip makes his way up to light through a maze of horrors that afflict his body as well as his mind. This includes the burns he suffers from saving Miss Havisham from the fire; the illness that requires months of recovery; the threat of a violent death at Orlick's hands; debt, and worse, the obligation of having to repay them; hard work, which he recognises as the only worthy source of income, hence his return to Joe's forge.
Even more important, is his accepting of Magwitch, a coarse outcast of society.
Dickens makes use of symbolism, in chapter 53, to emphasise Pip's moral regeneration. As he prepares to go down the Thames to rescue the convict, a veil lifted from the river and Pip's spirit. Symbolically the fog which enveloped the marshes as Pip left for London has finally lifted, and he feels ready to become a man. As I looked along the clustered roofs, with Church towers and spires shooting into the unusually clear air, the sun rose up, and a veil seemed to be drawn from the river, and millions of sparkles burst out upon its waters.
From me too, a veil seemed to be drawn, and I felt strong and well. Pip is redeemed by love, that, for Dickens as for generations of Christian moralists, is only acquired through sacrifice. He grows selfless and his "expectations" are confiscated by the Crown. Moments before Magwitch's death, Pip reveals that Estella, Magwitch's daughter, is alive, "a lady and very beautiful. And I love her". Pip returns to the forge, his previous state and to meaningful work. The philosophy expressed here by Dickens that of a person happy with their contribution to the welfare of society, is in line with Thomas Carlyle 's theories and his condemnation, in Latter-Day Pamphlets , the system of social classes flourishing in idleness, much like Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels did.
In Great Expectations , the true values are childhood, youth, and heart. The heroes of the story are the young Pip, a true visionary, and still developing person, open, sensible, who is persecuted by soulless adults. Then the adolescent Pip and Herbert, imperfect but free, intact, playful, endowed with fantasy in a boring and frivolous world. Magwitch is also a positive figure, a man of heart, victim of false appearances and of social images, formidable and humble, bestial but pure, a vagabond of God, despised by men.
Finally, there are women like Biddy. Edward W. Said , in his work Culture and Imperialism , interprets Great Expectations in terms of postcolonial theory about of late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries British imperialism. Pip's disillusionment when he learns his benefactor is an escaped convict from Australia, along with his acceptance of Magwitch as surrogate father, is described by Said as part of "the imperial process", that is the way colonialism exploits the weaker members of a society. Dickens's novel has influenced a number of writers, Sue Roe's Estella: Her Expectations , for example explores the inner life of an Estella fascinated with a Havisham figure.
Magwitch is the protagonist of Peter Carey 's Jack Maggs , which is a re-imagining of Magwitch's return to England, with the addition, among other things, of a fictionalised Dickens character and plot-line. The winner of the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, Lloyd Jones's novel is set in a village on the Papua New Guinea island of Bougainville during a brutal civil war there in the s, where the young protagonist's life is impacted in a major way by her reading of Great Expectations.
Like many other Dickens novels, Great Expectations has been filmed for the cinema or television and adapted for the stage numerous times.
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The film adaptation in gained the greatest acclaim. The stage play and the film that followed from that stage production did not include the character Orlick and ends the story when the characters are still young adults. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the Charles Dickens novel. For other uses, see Great Expectations disambiguation. Novels portal Literature portal. Dickens meant to have left Pip a lonely man, and of course rightly so; by the irony of fate he was induced to spoil his work through a brother novelist's desire for a happy ending, a strange thing, indeed, to befall Dickens.
Regents of the University of California. Retrieved 15 February Great Expectations. I First ed. London: Chapman and Hall. Retrieved 6 January — via Internet Archive. II First ed.
III First ed. Archived from the original on 28 October Retrieved 30 October The Carlyle Encyclopedia. Bloom, Harold ed. Charles Dickens. Bloom's Modern Critical Views. New York: Infobase Publishings. Dickens and the Grotesque Revised ed. London: Croom Helm.
- Selbst und Rechtfertigung. Antwort auf Martin Walser (German Edition).
- Charles Dickens Books - Biography and List of Works - Author of ''.
- Siegfried, WWV86C, Third Act, Scene III, Siegfried, Brünnhilde;
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Retrieved 13 May BBC Culture. Retrieved 8 December April Retrieved 21 December Penguin English Library. Dickens' Book of Memoranda , The Times. Retrieved 25 January Retrieved 27 January George Orwell: Charles Dickens. Inside the Whale and Other Essays. London: Victor Gollancz. Patten , p. Retrieved 2 August Patten , pp. New York: Recorded Books. Retrieved 28 January The Bookstall.
Archived from the original on 2 July The find reveals, for the first time in around years, the names behind 1, anonymously authored pieces in All the Year Round , from Elizabeth Gaskell to Wilkie Collins. Dr Jeremy Parrott acquired a volume set of All the Year Round last September, from an online bookseller in north Wales, believing he had bought a rare, deluxe-bound version of the weekly magazine, in which Dickens serialised novels including his own A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations, as well as a mix of fiction and non-fiction by unnamed authors.
Opening it in December, Parrott discovered pencil annotations in the margin. He unveiled his discovery at the conference of the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals at Ghent University this weekend, and will speak about it further at the Victorian Popular Fiction Association conference on Tuesday. Parrott tracked down the provenance of the volumes: they had been acquired from a private house sale in Wrexham. Parrott said his set shows that a number of pieces that have been attributed to Collins, author of The Woman in White, are not actually by him, and that seven or eight pieces that were not suspected to be by the author are in fact his work.
The volumes also reveal that Mrs Linton, considered the first professional female journalist in Britain, wrote well over pieces for All the Year Round, and that Elizabeth Gaskell penned two literary essays for the periodical that have not previously been attributed to her. In total, he believes, the annotated volumes reveal the names of hundreds of contributors for the first time.