Great Expectations

Great Expectations
Great Expectations


ISBN: 9780141439563Number of Pages: 544
Publisher: Penguin Publishing GroupBook Title: Great Expectations
Publication Year: 2002Target Audience: Trade
Author: Charles DickensReading Age: 12+


Great Expectations belongs to Charles Dicken‘ late works. It was written after the crisis in Dickens’ life. He just broke up with his wife Catherine, which brought him great pain. Meanwhile, he began an extramarital love affair with young actor Alan Tenan, which brought him more pain than happiness.

During this period, due to the further deepening of the understanding of the dark society, the growth of age, and the misfortune of personal marriage and love life, the depressive side of the author’s thought has been strengthened, which is reflected in the works, and the optimistic tone has been greatly weakened.

As a reflection of social evils and a portrayal of human life, Dickens’ narrative art shows subtle changes. Dickens’ creation is in a period of growing self doubt.

The development of the novel can be roughly divided into three parts.

The first part describes Pip’s simple childhood in the countryside. He met a fugitive by chance. And he stole things from his family to help him.

Soon Pip was invited to play in Miss Havisham’s Satis compound, and his heart changed. He fell in love with the beautiful but indifferent Estella and began to feel ashamed of his family background and relatives.

One day, Pip was suddenly funded by a person who did not want to be identified. He was sent to London to receive an upper class education, for which he was ecstatic.

The second part of the story mainly describes Pip’s experience of receiving education in London. Influenced by the snobbish habits of the upper class, Pip lived a luxurious and degenerate life, and his moral quality became low.

He always thought that it was Miss Havisham who helped him receive noble education anonymously. However, the appearance of a real “benefactor” forced him to face the reality again.

The last part of the novel recounts Pip’s experience of protecting the exile prisoner Magovich who escaped home. Although Magwig was eventually arrested, in a series of changes, Pip finally returned to the beauty of human nature and deeply felt the value of friendship and family.

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About the Author

Charles John Huffam Dickens (1812-1870) is an English novelist, he was born in a small naval staff family, and his family was forced to move into the debtors’ prison at the age of 10, he took on heavy housework at the age of 11. He once worked as an apprentice in the leather shoes workshop, and worked as a writer in a law firm when he was 16 years old.

Later, he worked as a newspaper reporter. He only went to school for a few years and became a famous writer by hard self-study and hard work.

Charles Dickens wrote 14 novels, many short stories, essays, travel notes, plays and sketches.

Among them, the most famous works are The Hard Times (1854) and A Tale of Two Cities (1859).

The Hard Times is a long masterpiece describing the contradiction between labor and capital, it shows the cruel exploitation and oppression of workers by industrial capitalists, describes the solidarity and struggle of the working class, and criticizes the principle of free competition and utilitarianism that defend capitalist exploitation

A Tale of Two Cities (1859), another masterpiece describing the French revolution in 1789. The book insinuated the British social reality at that time with the immorality and brutality of the French nobles, the heavy suffering of the people and the historical power of the French Revolution, and predicted that this “terrible fire” would be repeated in France.

Other works include Oliver Twist (also translated as Oliver Twist 1838), Old Antique Shop (1841), Dombey and Son (1848), David Copperfield (1850) and Great Expectations (1861), etc. Dickens is the main representative of English realistic literature in the 19th century. Artistically, it is famous for its witty humor, meticulous psychoanalysis, and the organic combination of realistic description and romantic atmosphere.

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Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Chronology of Charles Dickens’s Life and Work
  3. Historical Context of Great Expectations
  4. Great Expectations
  5. The Original Ending of Great Expectations
  6. Notes
  7. Interpretive Notes
  8. Critical Excerpts
  9. Questions for Discussion
  10. Suggestions for the Interested Reader