Saturday, October 16, 2010

Great Expectations

Great ExpectationsGreat Expectations – Charles Dickens
Evan’s ESS = 9 out of 10
Erin’s ESS = out of 10
Content = PG (Adult Concepts, Mild Violence, Creepy Old Rich Lady)

Why:  Charles Dickens is a classic writing machine.  It just so happens that Great Expectations wins the distinction as our favorite (David Copperfield and Bleak House are a very close second and third).  Dickens is a force of literature; and with phrases like, “What the deuce!” he deserves your attention.  Yes, his prose is reminiscent of a bygone era, but don’t be intimidated – you can navigate it. 

Expectations for this novel are promising (great even!) until you actually crack the spine and first learn about Philip Pirrip, better known as Pip.  Fortunately, from his humble beginnings as an orphan, things can only look up!  In the wise words of Nacho Libre, a legendary advocate for orphans, “Beneath the clothes, we find a man... and beneath the man, we find his... nucleus.”  Such is the case throughout as we watch Pip mature and learn about himself and his role in society. 

Pip encounters plenty of adversity in spite of his impressive expectations.  On second thought, it’s probably because of these expectations that he encounters so much adversity.  Along the way he’s forced to befriend a convict, becomes the enthusiast of a girl way out of his league, and endures a prolonged sickness.  Dickens is known for his dynamic characters and his comedic flair.  Between the lovely Miss Havisham, Estella, and plenty of working class hardships this novel will far exceed your expectations.   

As far as the conclusion goes, there are technically two: the original and the revised.  One is a super happy ending while the other is much more subdued.  Which one is included in modern day editions?  You’ll have to form your own expectations.  We’re sure they will be great.

Editor’s Note: The status of Great Expectations as our favorite novel by Charles Dickens is currently on shaky ground as one of the Two Bibliomaniacs only read an abridged version in 9th grade and is currently enjoying David Copperfield.

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