GREAT EXPECTATIONS

Remember it! & Test it!

Remember it! & Test it!

  • Bildungsroman- coming of age narrative
  • Social status- Pip comes across all the different classes in Victorian society. He begins as a working class boy, meets Miss Havisham who is upper class, meets Magwitch who is a kind of criminal class and befriends the Pockets who are more middle class in London.
  • Narrator- The story is told in the first person but he is looking back at the past so he is an omniscient narrator. He interrupts events to give his opinion or express his emotions.
  • Money- Money corrupts many of the characters and drives them into debt and crime. But it also is helpful and is used as a sign of friendship and kindness. It does not buy status or happiness.
  • Love- An important motivation for many of the characters. Both romantic love and friendship and loyalty are crucial themes in the novel.
  • Publication- it was published as a serial not a novel adding to the tension and mystery of it.
  • Aspiration and ambition- Pip desperately wants to be a gentleman and move up through the classes, however the notion of an ordered class society is challenged and so his ambition is flawed. He does however become a better man.

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Test It!

  1. How does Dickens tell the story in chapter 16?
  2. What difference do you think it would make if the novel was told in the third person?
  3. Look at the section on character above, choose a different character and write about how Pip’s description of them shapes the readers impression of them.
  4. Dickens originally wanted to end the novel with Estell remarrying somebody else and Pip bumping into her some years later. Why do you think he chose to end the novel like this instead? You may want to research the alternative ending.
  5. How far do you think romance drives the plot of this novel?