Great Expectations by Charles DickensGreat Expectations by Charles Dickens

Great Expectations

byCharles DickensIntroduction byBernard Shaw

Paperback | February 13, 2001


Introduction by George Bernard Shaw
Pip, a poor orphan being raised by a cruel sister, does not have much in the way of great expectations—until he is inexplicably elevated to wealth by an anonymous benefactor. Full of unforgettable characters—including a terrifying convict named Magwitch, the eccentric Miss Havisham, and her beautiful but manipulative niece, Estella, Great Expectations is a tale of intrigue, unattainable love, and all of the happiness money can’t buy. “Great Expectations has the most wonderful and most perfectly worked-out plot for a novel in the English language,” according to John Irving, and J. Hillis Miller declares, “Great Expectations is the most unified and concentrated expression of Dickens’s abiding sense of the world, and Pip might be called the archetypal Dickens hero.”
George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950) was a leading playwright of the twentieth century. His plays include Man and Superman (1905), Major Barbara (1905), Pygmalion (1913), and Saint Joan (1923).
Title:Great ExpectationsFormat:PaperbackDimensions:480 pages, 8 × 5.22 × 0.99 inPublished:February 13, 2001Publisher:Random House Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0375757015

ISBN - 13:9780375757013

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from As fresh now as the day it was written I just love this story, and seeing Pip on his travels through life. The themes and the ideas are just as powerful now as when they were written. Do yourself a favour and read this book.
Date published: 2017-04-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Dickens! Every character brings something unique to the story. This is one of my favourite Dickens novels. It really keeps you intrigued. A wonderful story #plumreview
Date published: 2017-02-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from so important one of those books which effected me in my youth.
Date published: 2017-02-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Did not enjoy this! Sorry Mr. Dickens, I did not like this!
Date published: 2017-02-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from His best This is his best book - it's all here and more!
Date published: 2017-01-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Great Expectations I couple people were surprised when I said I was reading Dickens as they could not get through any of his books. I found that I quite enjoyed Great Expectations and found it quite funny at points. As with most classics though I found it dragged on a bit and many of the characters were not all that likable.
Date published: 2017-01-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Depressing hilarity. Often bleak, but quite hilarious at the same time. Charles Dickens' classic Great Expectations is something that everyone has to at least try to read. There is a lot going on in this book. Duality, character development, commentary on class division, ambition, and a good deal of heart break. Welcome to England.
Date published: 2012-01-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Fantastic Read This book was really a lot of fun to read. Dickens is such an animated writer and he includes a bunch of characters here that are unforgettable. You really don't see the twist coming, and when it does, it wrenches your insides on so many levels. My sympathies found themselves moving all over the board until the very end. Dickens criticizes society in such a unique, timeless way that still resonates as strongly today as it did in 1861.
Date published: 2010-03-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from As the others Dickens' books, this one is outstanding An outstanding book that I read this year was Great Expectations. This was a wonderful classic written by the magnificent author Charles Dickens. Charles Dickens wrote a book that truly captivated the power of human love. He showed us that life can be very difficult, and you have to work very hard in order for you to succeed. In the beginning of the book, a character named Pip lived on a forge near some marshes in England. His family was generally poor. He lived with his older sister and her husband named Joe. Joe was a fairly poor blacksmith. One day, Pip was walking on the marshes. Suddenly, a strange man came up to Pip and threatened him. The strange man was a convict who was put to die on the marshes. He was handcuffed and chained. He told Pip that he would kill him if he didn't bring him a steel file and something to eat. Pip then ran back to the forge and brought the convict a steel file and some food. This vivid occurrence haunted Pip for the rest of his life. After the incident on the marshes, Pip met a lady named Miss Havesham. Miss Havesham was a very weird lady. She always wore her wedding dress in her house. She never left her house. Miss Havesham had a very beautiful adopted daughter named Estella. She was an arrogant woman. While looking at her, Pip fell in love with Estella. One day, a mysterious man came to Joe's forge. This man was sent by a secret benefactor who was residing in London. The man didn't give his name. He told Pip and Joe that someone in London was requesting him. The secret benefactor wanted Pip to come to London so that he could become a gentleman. Pip was very excited when he heard that he could work in London. Pip and Joe agreed upon the proposal. Later in that same week, Pip left Joe's forge to travel to London. There he could be a gentleman with a bright and bold future. While in London, Pip encountered many strange mysteries. Pip finally met his secret benefactor. Read the book to find out who the secret benefactor was... Overall, Great Expectations was an outstanding book. It really captivated the vast stretches of life. Great Expectations really made me feel quite sad. I felt very sorry for Pip. He had a very difficult life. He had change his personality forever once he became a gentleman. I would recommend this book to anybody who enjoys reading classics. I have read other excellent books by the wonderful author Charles Dickens. I have read Oliver Twist and The Christmas Carol. They were also excellent books.
Date published: 2009-09-06

Read from the Book

Chapter I.My father's family name being Pirrip, and my christian name Philip, myinfant tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit thanPip. So, I called myself Pip, and came to be called Pip.I give Pirrip as my father's family name, on the authority of his tombstoneand my sister – Mrs. Joe Gargery, who married the blacksmith. As I never sawmy father or my mother, and never saw any likeness of either of them (fortheir days were long before the days of photographs), my first fanciesregarding what they were like, were unreasonably derived from theirtombstones. The shape of the letters on my father's, gave me an odd ideathat he was a square, stout, dark man, with curly black hair. From thecharacter and turn of the inscription, "Also Georgiana Wife of the Above,"I drew a childish conclusion that my mother was freckled and sickly. Tofive little stone lozenges, each about a foot and a half long, which werearranged in a neat row beside their grave, and were sacred to the memory offive little brothers of mine – who gave up trying to get a living exceedinglyearly in that universal struggle – I am indebted for a belief I religiouslyentertained that they had all been born on their backs with their hands intheir trousers-pockets, and had never taken them out in this state ofexistence.Ours was the marsh country, down by the river, within as the river wound,twenty miles of the sea. My first most vivid and broad impression of theidentity of things, seems to me to have been gained on a memorable rawafternoon towards evening. At such a time I found out for certain, thatthis bleak place overgrown with nettles was the churchyard; and that PhilipPirrip, late of this parish, and also Georgiana wife of the above, weredead and buried; and that Alexander, Bartholomew, Abraham, Tobias, andRoger, infant children of the aforesaid, were also dead and buried; andthat the dark flat wilderness beyond the churchyard, intersected with dykesand mounds and gates, with scattered cattle feeding on it, was the marshes;and that the low leaden line beyond was the river; and that the distantsavage lair from which the wind was rushing, was the sea; and that thesmall bundle of shivers growing afraid of it all and beginning to cry, wasPip."Hold your noise!" cried a terrible voice, as a man started up from amongthe graves at the side of the church porch. "Keep still, you little devil,or I'll cut your throat!"A fearful man, all in coarse grey, with a great iron on his leg. A man withno hat, and with broken shoes, and with an old rag tied round his head. Aman who had been soaked in water, and smothered in mud, and lamed bystones, and cut by flints, and stung by nettles, and torn by briars; wholimped, and shivered, and glared and growled; and whose teeth chattered inhis head as he seized me by the chin."Oh! Don't cut my throat, sir," I pleaded in terror. "Pray don't do it,sir.""Tell us your name!" said the man. "Quick!""Pip, sir.""Once more," said the man, staring at me. "Give it mouth!"

Bookclub Guide

1. The two endings to Great Expectations (see pp. 437-38 for a note about the original ending and the text of it) have been the source of endless controversy among critics. Which ending do you think is better and why?2. What is the role of food and drink in the novel?3. Critic Robin Gilmour argues that although Pip believes the savagery of the marshes and the refinement of Satis House are irreconcilably opposed, in fact "criminality and civilization, violence and refinement, Magwitch and Estella, are not warring opposites but intimately and inextricably bound together." Do you agree or disagree?4. What accounts for Pip's moral regeneration in the third part of the novel?5. Julian Moynahan, in a very influential essay on Great Expectations, argues that "Orlick rather than Magwitch is the figure from the criminal milieu of the novel whose relations to him come to define Pip's implicit participation in the acts of violence with which the novel abounds," suggesting, for example, that Orlick, in bludgeoning Mrs. Joe, merely acts as Pip's surrogate in taking revenge on her for her cruel treatment, and that Drummle, a duplication of Orlick, is likewise a surrogate for Pip in his beating of Estella. Moynahan is in part responding to Dorothy Van Ghent's claim in her 1953 book on the English novel that "[w]hat brings the convict Magwitch to the child Pip, in the graveyard, is more than the convict's hunger; Pip . . . carries the convict inside him, as the negative potential of his 'great expectations'-Magwitch is the concretion of [Pip's] potential guilt." Which side do you take in this debate?6. How does place function in the novel? Consider such examples as the forge, the marshes, Satis House, and Newgate Prison.7. Margaret Oliphant wrote in a 1862 review of Great Expectations: "So far as 'Great Expectations' is a sensation novel, it occupies itself with incidents all but impossible, and in themselves strange, dangerous, and exciting, but so far as it is one of the series of Mr Dickens's works, it is feeble, fatigued, and colourless. One feels that he must have got tired of it as the work went on, and that the creatures he had called into being, but who are no longer the lively men and women they used to be, must have bored him unspeakably before it was time to cut short their career, and throw a hasty and impatient hint of their future to stop the tiresome public appetite." Do you agree or disagree with this assessment?

Editorial Reviews

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