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Shvoong Home>Books>Classic Literature>Great Expectations Review

Great Expectations

Book Review   by:GathaSharma     Original Author: Charles Dickens
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Reading through 'Great Expectations' one realises beauty of Dickens' craft. How observant of human species he was, gets explained by larger than life characters like Miss Havisham, Lawyer Jaggers, clerk Wemmick. Minor characters like Mrs. Pocket, Trabb's boy, Mr. Pumblechook make us realize Dickens' overwhelming sharpness.
Novel is first person narrative, Pip telling the story of his childhood and early young days. Dickens dwell on the psychology of a young child; how the child gets affected by certain things for a long period of his life. Pip's impressionable mind is not able to understand the vicious designs of Miss Havisham. When Stella, the adopted daughter of Miss Havisham, calls him dirty and uncouth, he actually starts considering himself as one. For a long time afterwards, he tries to attempt everything to come out of his uncouthness. A bright loving child scarred in such a way just because of insensitivity and arrogance of someone. Pip's chane encounter with the runaway convict Abel Magwitch opens doors for Great Expectations for him. Pip misconstrues Miss Havisham to be his benefactor and starts daydreaming that Miss Havisham expects him to marry Stella in the end, whereas in reality that runaway convict works hard to support Pip's education in London. When after several years Magwitch returns to meet Pip Pip realizes his utter mistake. At the same time, he realizes baseness of Miss Havisham who has so far taken him for a ride, adding fuel to his hopeless desire of winning Stella's hand, so that in the end his heart must get broken in the same way as hers was broken. At this juncture Pip realizes his foolhardiness. He understands that appearances are deceptive. Joe, the blacksmith, is not uncouth. He is actually the one who truly loves him as a son. Pip also reciprocates Abel Magwitch's affection because he comes to truly understand the sacrifices which that person has made to make Pip a gentleman.
But this novel is much moe than the 'Great Expectations' of Pip. We've loveable, true to life characters like young Pocket. He is a true friend, a person who is completely incapable of harming anybody. His true and sincere friendship makes Pip a true friend in return. Then we have Trabb's boy- a mischievious boy who is alert and wtchful. He notices ip's arrogant attitude an makes his life miserable by his antics. This scene in the novel is remarkable for its wit and perfect rendition. But the same boy saves Pip's life as well. Pumblechook is the personification of a mean man who worships rising sun but becomes very abusive to the same person when his fortune declines.
Lawyer Jaggers is an institution in himself. He is a genius who can read any person inside out. But he is not heartless. All his suggestions and advices are given in routine lawyer like language but they are not devoid of good intentions and sympathy.
Clerk Wemmick possess dual personality-- one for home and another one for his office. This is partly because he likes to do so and partly because he works for an autocrat like lawyer Jaggers. He is a very practical person who helps Pip at most crucial moments. His artistic talent manifests in his unique castle like home and various mechanical devices, specifically made by him for his aged P. Biddy, an orphan like Pip, but much much more intelligent ad sympathetic than him. Had Pip Biddy's understading of things and persons, his fate would hve been very different.
Great Expectations is one novel that must be read time and again, not for recreation but for the valuable guidance which it can provide. This novel is classic and its teachings are timeless.
Published: April 11, 2012   
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