In Defense of the Original Ending of Great Expectations

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In Defense of the Original Ending of Great Expectations Many critics prefer the original ending to the revised version because it is the ending that Dickens himself decided to write without consulting anyone. Many people believe that since Bulwer-Lytton gave Dickens input on the second ending that it is not as true. Although Dickens may have inadvertently been plagiarizing, the original ending is the way that Dickens felt the novel should end, as opposed to the way Bulwer-Lytton felt it should end. Another reason that the original is preferable is because it seems to flow better with the overall themes of the novel. One of these themes is how people expectations differ from reality. Pip's expectations never seem to be what he thinks they are. He does not inherit money from Miss Havisham, it is really from Magwitch. In this sense, the fact that Estella has remarried to someone other than Pip is just another case of such luck. Although he had always hoped to someday be with her, it will never happen and this ending closes that possibility forever. However, the revised ending leaves the possibilities open. Because of this, Dickens' text loses one of it's major themes. Since Pip and Estella may be together in the future, Pip's mistaken perceptions lose their point. Dickens was using Pip's mistakes as a way to show that people should not expect things from other people, which is what Pip does throughout the novel. He expects money from Miss Havisham, Estella to fall in love with him, and his life to be easy. However, life does not work that way, and in the original ending Dickens does not let fictional life work that way either. Most of the problems that Pip finds himself in are the results of hi... ... middle of paper ... ...s loss, but the novel ends on an acknowledgment of the possibilities the future holds for Pip's redemption. However, such a theme also gives rise to a theme of separation. By this point in the novel, Pip had already lost touch with everything that was important to him as a young man. He had grown in a different direction than Joe and Biddy. He could never be with Estella, although the revised ending attempts to have them together. In this sense, Pip is completely cut off from everything that once gave him solace. His only hope for redemption lies in the hands of little Pip. If little Pip can "grow up a much better man than I (Pip) did" (435; ch. 58), then hopefully little Pip will not have to suffer as the older Pip has. Works Cited Dickens, Charles. Great Expectations. Ed. Janice Carlisle. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 1996. 440-441.

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