Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

analytical Essay
1278 words
1278 words

AP Great Book Assignment: Great Expectations

The 544-page, Bildungsroman novel, Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens is considered a classic because it has stood the test of time, appealing to generation after generation of readers while still remaining relevant to them. Published in 1861, Dickens created a coming-of-age story that is similar to his other novel, David Copperfield, but Great Expectations is considered to have reflected parts of his own life. There are several parallels between Pip and Dickens. Both had a difficult upbringing; they both experienced unstable, economic stability as children; and they were both orphaned-- Pip through the loss of his parents, and Dickens metaphorically when he was separated from his family to become a child laborer when he was only 12 years old.

This Victorian-era novel reflects a time in England of great political change as the throne passed from King George III to the Prince Regent in 1812, the Prince Regent to George IV in 1820, George IV to King William in 1830, and King William to Queen Victoria in 1837. It also exhibits the Industrial Revolution that England experienced through the imagery of new technologies such as the London steamboats. The growing technological advancements and the social and political unrest cause the novel to be set in the years from 1812-1840.

The story follows Pip’s life as he grows from a young boy into a gentleman of England. Pip lives in three areas during the course of the novel—the quiet countryside in Essex, England as a child; the center of the bustling, industrialized London during his time as a gentleman; and Egypt for an 11-year period after the he loses his wealth. Even though all three places must have greatly affected Pip’s life in di...

... middle of paper ...

...ddy has taught him to read and write, that Orlick had robbed Uncle Pumblechook but was arrested, and that Miss Havisham had passed away. Joe leaves without telling Pip, but before going, Joe pays off Pip’s debts. Pip goes after him and plans to propose to Biddy, only to find that Joe and Biddy had been recently married. Disappointed, Pip wishes them both happiness and decides to go to Egypt with Herbert after all.

Eleven years later, Pip returns to England a changed man. He has learned the importance of working for a living and tries to convince Biddy that he is content with being a bachelor. He later wanders to the ruins of Satis House and thinks about Estella and the recently deceased Drummle. He sees Estella in the garden, and they leave together hand in hand. This scene is significant because Pip finally gets to be with Estella after all those years apart.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how the 544-page bildungsroman novel, great expectations, by charles dickens is considered a classic because it appeals to generation after generation of readers while still remaining relevant to them.
  • Analyzes how the victorian-era novel reflects a time in england of great political change as the throne passed from king george iii to the prince regent in 1812.
  • Analyzes how dickens chose to focus on the psychological and moral development of the protagonist rather than the changes the country experienced itself.
  • Analyzes how the novel begins in a cemetery on christmas eve in 1812 where young philip pirrip is confronted by an escaped convict named abel magwitch.
  • Narrates how pip created a massive amount of debt for himself during his time in london, including his best friend herbert pocket, the trustworthy startop, wemmick and the cruel bentley drummle.
  • Analyzes how pip feels inclined to stay with magwitch after taking him abroad, since he has declined to spend any more of his benefactor’s money.
  • Analyzes how pip is optimistic about magwitch's future, and herbert offers him a job in the middle east. joe symbolizes love and understanding, guiding him between good and evil throughout his life.
  • Analyzes how pip returns to england 11 years later a changed man. he learns the importance of working and convinces biddy that he is content with being bachelor.
Get Access