Book: Great Expectations

"Great Expectations"

Great Expectations, Dicken’s funny, frightening and tender portrayal of the orphan Pip’s journey of self-discovery, is one of his best-loved works. Showing how a young man’s life is transformed by a mysterious series of events–an encounter with an escaped prisoner; a visit to a black-hearted old woman and a beautiful girl; a fortune from a secret donor — Dicken’s late novel is a masterpiece of psychological and moral truth, and Pip among his greatest creations.

This book should come with a warning: be wary of great expectations. Which is as much a pun as the novel’s title is.

The long-short of it is that I liked the book enough, but I also found it terribly tedious. Maybe it’s the usage of the English language, or the way Dickens wrote the dialogue as how the characters would pronounce them? Let’s just say that it became easier to read when protagonist Pip became more educated.

Moving beyond that, I don’t think I can really say anything more about the book. It’s a classic. There’s a reason why it’s a classic. I guess what I can add is the fact that Great Expectations, even with its very dated milieu, can still happen in our day and age.

Reading it, I can see how people in Victorian England entertained themselves without television. The novel is actually a compilation of a series of chapters published one at a time in a weekly periodical. It’s the Victorian version of a dramatic series. Kind of like Downton Abbey, if you will. And something seems to always be happening.

Still, I don’t think this book is for everyone. I’m not being an elitist. Let’s just be real here: many people will not invest their time in reading a classic because of the reason I started with: Victorian English just isn’t as easy to read as plain old English.

But, time and again, it helps to touch base with the classics that made it possible for printed stories continue to live on. And it sure puts into perspective our claims on what constitutes as a classic now. For example, I don’t think we’ll be lining the Eragon cycle up alongside the novels from Dickens, Verne, and Gaiman.


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