“Take another glass of wine, and excuse my mentioning that society as a body does not expect one to be so strictly conscientious in emptying one’s glass, as to turn it bottom upwards with the rim on one’s nose.”
– Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
Charles Dickens was one of the most famous English novelists of all times. He has captivated readers with his fictitious characters for more than a century. A great writer of the Victorian era, he could made immense impact in the Victorian society. With just one work of Oliver Twist, he could demonstrate the real side of London underworld.
One of the most celebrated of his works was indeed the novel Great Expectations. It is also his penultimate novel. This novel appeared in installments is his journal All The Year Round between December 1, 1860 and August 3, 1861.The story concerns the life of a man named Pip who wished to be a gentleman and win over the beautiful Estella.
Charles Dickens journal All The Year Rounds readership was diminishing and he had to find some way out. As he already had a plot for writing a story, he sketched a novel to save his magazine from sinking altogether.
Two chapters were published every week. Readers enthusiastically waited for the next episode of the novel each week. Dickens, on the other hand waited eagerly for the comments, remarks and suggestions from the readers so that he could make necessary alterations in his novel.
Written in the first person, this work is regarded as the most influential work of Charles Dickens. The story may be summarized as follows: Pip, a young boy meets an escaped convict namely, Abel Magwitch. Abel makes him steal food for him and threatens him not to tell about anything to anybody. Pip is brought up by Joe, the brother in law of Abel and his unpleasant wife. In the meanwhile, Pip falls in love with her daughter Estella.
Aspiring to be a gentleman, Pip seems to achieve the impossible by receiving a fund of wealth from an unknown source and being sent to London with the lawyer Jaggers. Despite his initial achievements, he loses everything in the end including his love estella. He then returns to Joe with future expectations. In the end, Pip is reunited with Estella.
To list the characters, Pip , the narrator is the hero of the novel. Born as a young orphan boy, the story features his life and his achievements. Estella, Pips love is the daughter of Miss Havisham. Although Pip loves her passionately, she is cold and uninterested in him.
Miss Havisham is the seemingly insane women, wealthy and old. Abel Magwitch is the convict who functions as Pips benefactor behind the scenes.. Joe , a kind man brings Pip up. There are many more characters which while reading the novel, we will come through.
The novel has been widely featured in plays and movies.