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Total Summery & Analysis of Great Expectation

Total Summery & Analysis of Great Expectation



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Published by Fahad Hossain
Great Expectation - Charles Dickens
Great Expectation - Charles Dickens

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Published by: Fahad Hossain on Aug 16, 2009
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Great Expectations
ByCharles DickensEdited By BoniKey FactsFull title
· Great Expectations
· Charles Dickens
Type of work 
· Novel
· Bildungsroman, social criticism, autobiographical fiction
· English
Time and place written
· London, 1860-1861
Date of first publication
· Published serially in England from December 1860 to August1861; published in book form in England and America in 1861
· Serialized in All the Year Round; published in England by Chapman & Hall; published in America by Harper & Brothers
· Pip
· a sequence of climactic events occurs from about Chapter 51 to Chapter 56:Miss Havisham’s burning in the fire, Orlick’s attempt to murder Pip, and Pip’s attempt tohelp Magwitch escape London.
· Pip
· Great Expectations does not contain a traditional single antagonist. Variouscharacters serve as figures against whom Pip must struggle at various times: Magwitch,Mrs. Joe, Miss Havisham, Estella, Orlick, Bentley Drummle, and Compeyson. With theexception of the last three, each of the novel’s antagonists is redeemed before the end of the book.
Setting (time)
· Mid-nineteenth century
Settings (place)
· Kent and London, England
Point of view
· First person
falling action
· The period following Magwitch’s capture in Chapter 54, includingMagwitch’s death, Pip’s reconciliation with Joe, and Pip’s reunion with Estella elevenyears later 
· Past
· Great Expectations contains a great deal of foreshadowing. Therepeated references to the convict (the man with the file in the pub, the attack on Mrs.Joe) foreshadow his return; the second convict on the marsh foreshadows the revelationof Magwitch’s conflict with Compeyson; the man in the pub who gives Pip moneyforeshadows the revelation that Pip’s fortune comes from Magwitch; Miss Havisham’swedding dress and her bizarre surroundings foreshadow the revelation of her past and her relationship with Estella; Pip’s feeling that Estella reminds him of someone he knowsforeshadows his discovery of the truth of her parentage; the fact that Jaggers is a criminallawyer foreshadows his involvement in Magwitch’s life; and so on. Moreover, theweather often foreshadows dramatic events: a storm brewing generally means there will be trouble ahead, as on the night of Magwitch’s return.
· Comic, cheerful, satirical, wry, critical, sentimental, dark, dramatic, foreboding,Gothic, sympathetic
· Ambition and the desire for self-improvement (social, economic, educational,and moral); guilt, criminality, and innocence; maturation and the growth from childhoodto adulthood; the importance of affection, loyalty, and sympathy over social advancementand class superiority; social class; the difficulty of maintaining superficial moral andsocial categories in a constantly changing world
· Crime and criminality; disappointed expectations; the connection betweenweather or atmosphere and dramatic events; doubles (two convicts, two secret benefactors, two invalids, etc.)
· The stopped clocks at Satis House symbolize Miss Havisham’s attempt tostop time; the many objects relating to crime and guilt (gallows, prisons, handcuffs, policemen, lawyers, courts, convicts, chains, files) symbolize the theme of guilt andinnocence; Satis House represents the upper-class world to which Pip longs to belong;Bentley Drummle represents the grotesque caprice of the upper class; Joe representsconscience, affection, loyalty, and simple good nature; the marsh mists represent danger and ambiguity.
Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812, and spent the first nine years of his lifeliving in the coastal regions of Kent, a county in southeast England. Dickens’s father,John, was a kind and likable man, but he was incompetent with money and piled up
tremendous debts throughout his life. When Dickens was nine, his family moved toLondon. When he was twelve, his father was arrested and taken to debtors’ prison.Dickens’s mother moved his seven brothers and sisters into prison with their father, butshe arranged for the young Charles to live alone outside the prison and work with other children pasting labels on bottles in a blacking warehouse (blacking was a type of manufactured soot used to make a black pigment for products such as matches or fertilizer). Dickens found the three months he spent apart from his family highlytraumatic. Not only was the job itself miserable, but he considered himself too good for it, earning the contempt of the other children. After his father was released from prison,Dickens returned to school. He eventually became a law clerk, then a court reporter, andfinally a novelist. His first novel, The Pickwick Papers, became a huge popular successwhen Dickens was only twenty-five. He published extensively and was considered aliterary celebrity until his death in 1870.Many of the events from Dickens’s early life are mirrored in Great Expectations, which,apart from David Copperfield, is his most autobiographical novel. Pip, the novel’s protagonist, lives in the marsh country, works at a job he hates, considers himself toogood for his surroundings, and experiences material success in London at a very earlyage, exactly as Dickens himself did. In addition, one of the novel’s most appealingcharacters, Wemmick, is a law clerk, and the law, justice, and the courts are all importantcomponents of the story.Great Expectations is set in early Victorian England, a time when great social changeswere sweeping the nation. The Industrial Revolution of the late eighteenth and earlynineteenth centuries had transformed the social landscape, enabling capitalists andmanufacturers to amass huge fortunes. Although social class was no longer entirelydependent on the circumstances of one’s birth, the divisions between rich and poor remained nearly as wide as ever. London, a teeming mass of humanity, lit by gas lamps atnight and darkened by black clouds from smokestacks during the day, formed a sharpcontrast with the nation’s sparsely populated rural areas. More and more people movedfrom the country to the city in search of greater economic opportunity. ThroughoutEngland, the manners of the upper class were very strict and conservative: gentlemen andladies were expected to have thorough classical educations and to behave appropriately ininnumerable social situations.These conditions defined Dickens’s time, and they make themselves felt in almost everyfacet of Great Expectations. Pip’s sudden rise from country laborer to city gentlemanforces him to move from one social extreme to another while dealing with the strict rulesand expectations that governed Victorian England. Ironically, this novel about the desirefor wealth and social advancement was written partially out of economic necessity.Dickenss magazine, All the Year Round, had become extremely popular based on thesuccess of works it had published in serial, such as his own A Tale of Two Cities andWilkie Collinss The Woman in White. But it had experienced a decline in popularityafter publishing a dull serial by Charles Lever called A Day’s Ride. Dickens conceived of Great Expectations as a means of restoring his publications fortunes. The book is stillimmensely popular a century and a half later.

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