Form and Content (Masterplots II: Juvenile & Young Adult Literature Series, Supplement)
Great Expectations is an account of a young boy’s moral education. A study in human weakness, it depicts the rise in social status of the seven-year-old orphan Pip, the novel’s narrator and chief character and a kind of Everyman. On Christmas Eve in a cemetery, Pip meets Abel Magwitch, an escaped convict who makes him steal some food and a file from the forge where he lives with his sister and her husband, Joe Gargery, a blacksmith. Shortly thereafter, Pip is hired by a wealthy old woman named Miss Havisham to be a playmate for her beautiful adopted daughter, Estella.
Jilted years ago on her wedding day, Miss Havisham is a recluse. She lives in a world of the past at desolate Satis House, a home whose name means “enough”; the ancestor who built it believed that whoever lived there could never want more. During his frequent visits to Miss Havisham’s home, Pip begins to believe erroneously that her fortune will make him a gentleman, will bring him the love of Estella, and will provide him with prosperity. These are his great expectations.
Miss Havisham, however, has no hopes for happiness and no intention of leaving a legacy of happiness to anyone. Rather, she is a schemer who enjoys making nearly everyone around her miserable. She teaches Estella to hate men, exploits Pip, and vexes her ever-hopeful relatives. Although Pip eventually receives money from another source, Estella continues to scorn him and to be as coldly...
(The entire section is 740 words.)
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Places Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Places)
*River Thames (tehmz). River in southern England that runs through London to the North Sea. Several places that figure in the novel stand along the river. Some eight miles to the west of London lies Richmond, on the river’s south bank, a stylish town in Surrey. After her “finishing school,” Estella comes to live here in Mrs. Brandley’s house on Richmond Green, to be introduced into fashionable London society, to continue to break men’s hearts. It is thus an extension of Satis House as a locus for Miss Havisham’s revenge.
*Hammersmith. Town on the northern bank of the Thames, west of London. There the Pockets have a small riverside house, in which Pip is tutored together with Bentley Drummle and Startopp.
*The Temple. Central London district in which Pip and Herbert take rooms overlooking the river. Although this place symbolizes the pretentiousness of Pip’s life of expectations, it also marks the point where he enables Magwitch to escape, thereby bringing his false expectations to an end.
*Chinks Basin. District in London, downriver from the Temple, in the dock area below London Bridge, where Magwitch is secreted at the home of the father of Clara, Herbert’s girlfriend, at Mill Pond Bank.
*Marshes. Region along the lower reaches of the River Thames...
(The entire section is 876 words.)
Nineteenth century England had flourishing cities and emerging industries. Machines made it possible for those with money to invest to earn great profits, especially with an abundance of poor people who were willing to work long hours at hard or repetitive jobs for little pay. By contrast, the rural system included landlords, farmers, and common laborers who owned no land. In this rural system that had existed for centuries, those without land had no hope of bettering their lives: once in poverty, always in poverty. These hopeless poor moved to the city on the dream of making their own fortunes; it was usual for working class families to send young children off to the factories for twelve-to fourteen-hour shifts or longer. Child labor laws would not be enacted until the 1860s.
Meanwhile, children and women were ideal workers because they did not form labor unions, and were easily intimidated, beaten, or fired if they protested against an employer's mistreatment. School attendance was a luxury reserved for the children of parents who could afford to pay private tutors in addition to the family's loss of income from a child's labor. The first publicly funded elementary schools were not established until the 1870s, when the demand for skilled laborers increased. The idea of high schools did not receive England's public support until the turn of the century, after Dickens' death. Meanwhile, the labor-saving machines...
(The entire section is 515 words.)
The story begins in England during the first quarter of the nineteenth century. The setting in the early part of the story is the Chaptham district, where Dickens roamed as a boy. The orphan Pip is a blacksmith's apprentice in a village in the marsh country. One afternoon Pip has a frightening adventure in the marshes when an escaped convict forces him to supply food and a file for his leg irons. The convict is captured the next day.
Shortly after this experience, Pip receives a summons from old Miss Havisham to visit her decaying mansion, a Gothic structure of mystery and gloom surrounded by high walls. She requests that Pip entertain her and her adopted daughter. Miss Havisham's real motive, however, is sinister: she plans for Estella to break the boy's heart. The old house symbolizes death, decay, and the inner desolation of its inhabitants, who change Pip's life forever.
Some months later, an unknown benefactor supplies Pip with a sum of money to be used for his education in London as an English gentleman of "great expectations." London now becomes the principal setting, richly described by Dickens in all its multiplicity: shop after shop, winding streets, an endless stream of traffic and movement, Gothic cathedrals, teeming slums, the fearsome Newgate Prison. In this mighty metropolis, Pip is transformed into a snobbish English gentleman. It is also in London that Pip again meets the convict, with fateful consequences for both.
(The entire section is 241 words.)
Part 1, Chapter 1 Questions and Answers
1. The novel is written in what point of view?
2. Where does the opening scene take place?
3. What is Pip’s full name?
4. Where are Pip’s parents?
5. With whom does Pip live?
6. What does Joe Gargery do for a living?
7. How is the first convict dressed? What is his appearance?
8. What does the first convict ask Pip to bring him?
9. Why did the first convict ask for a file?
10. Where is Pip to bring the food and the file the next morning?
1. The novel is written in first person point of view.
2. The opening scene takes place in a churchyard (cemetery).
3. Pip’s full name is Philip Pirrip.
4. Pip’s parents are buried in the cemetery.
5. Pip lives with his sister and her husband.
6. Joe Gargery is a blacksmith.
7. The first convict is dressed in gray with an iron around his leg, no hat, broken shoes, and an old rag tied around his head. He is soaked with water and covered with mud.
8. The first convict asks Pip to bring him food and a file.
9. The convict plans to file off his leg iron.
10. Pip is to bring the food and the file to the old battery which is a deserted military fortification that used to be equipped with guns.
(The entire section is 213 words.)
Part 1, Chapters 2 and 3 Questions and Answers
1. When Pip returns from the churchyard, where is Mrs. Joe?
2. How many times has Mrs. Joe been out looking for Pip?
3. What does Pip mean when he says he was “brought up by hand”?
4. What is the Tickler?
5. Where does Pip hide his bread?
6. What does Mrs. Joe give Pip when she thinks he has eaten his bread too fast?
7. How are the people on shore warned when a convict has escaped from the Hulks?
8. What are the Hulks?
9. What is unusual about the second convict’s face?
10. Who does Pip think the second convict is?
1. Mrs. Joe is out looking for Pip.
2. She has been out 13 times looking for him.
3. This phrase is an example of a pun, a play on words. The phrase could mean that he is being brought up in the watchful care of his sister. It could also mean that Pip is being brought up with many slaps and spankings from Mrs. Joe.
4. Tickler is a cane used by Mrs. Joe to discipline Pip.
5. Pip hides his bread down his pants leg.
6. Mrs. Joe makes Pip drink a pint of tar-water.
7. When a convict escapes from the Hulks, people on shore are warned by a cannon firing.
8. The Hulks are old ships used as a prison for convicts.
9. The second convict has a badly bruised left cheek.
(The entire section is 239 words.)
Part 1, Chapters 4 and 5 Questions and Answers
1. What is the occasion for having dinner guests at the Gargery’s?
2. What makes Pip uncomfortable during the Christmas dinner?
3. Who comes to the door just as Mrs. Joe is inviting the guests to taste her pork pie?
4. Why does Pip think the soldiers have come to his house?
5. Why have the soldiers actually come to the Gargery house?
6. When the two convicts are found, what are they doing?
7. What does the second convict claim the first convict tried to do to him?
8. How does Joe feel toward the first convict?
9. Who takes the blame for stealing the food from Mrs. Joe?
10. Where are the convicts taken?
1. The occasion is Christmas Day.
2. The dinner guests make references to Pip that he is not grateful for what his sister has done for him. Pip also is fearful about the discovery of the missing food.
3. The sergeant and his solders arrive at the door just as Mrs. Joe goes to get her pork pie.
4. Pip thinks the soldiers have come to arrest him for stealing.
5. The soldiers need some handcuffs repaired and have come to ask the blacksmith to do the job.
6. The two convicts are fighting one another in a ditch.
7. The second convict claims that the first convict tried to murder him.
8. He feels that he...
(The entire section is 247 words.)
Part 1, Chapters 6 and 7 Questions and Answers
1. Why didn’t Pip tell Joe the truth concerning the convict and the theft?
2. What is probably the reason that Joe married Pip’s sister?
3. What does Mr. Wopsle’s great-aunt run in the evenings?
4. Even though Pip attends the evening school, who actually teaches Pip how to read and write?
5. What does Pip find out about Joe’s education?
6. What is the only word that Joe can read?
7. Pip agrees to help Joe learn to read and write. Why must they keep it a secret from Mrs. Joe?
8. What news do Uncle Pumblechook and Mrs. Joe bring home to Pip?
9. What does Miss Havisham ask Pip to come there to do?
10. Who first takes Pip to Miss Havisham’s house?
1. Pip did not tell Joe the truth because he was afraid of losing Joe’s confidence and friendship.
2. Joe probably married Pip’s sister because he felt sympathy for Pip and how he was being treated.
3. Mr. Wopsle’s great-aunt runs an evening school.
4. Biddy is the one who teaches Pip how to read and write.
5. Pip, after writing a crude letter to Joe, realizes that Joe cannot read or write.
6. “JO” is the only word that Joe can read.
7. Joe’s education must be kept a secret from Mrs. Joe because she resents anyone being better than she is....
(The entire section is 263 words.)
Part 1, Chapters 8 and 9 Questions and Answers
1. What is the meaning of Satis?
2. At what time have all the clocks in Miss Havisham’s house stopped?
3. Who opens the gate to let Pip in at Miss Havisham’s?
4. What game does Pip play with Estella?
5. How is Miss Havisham dressed?
6. How does Estella hurt Pip’s feelings?
7. Who does Pip imagine he sees hanging from a beam in the brewery?
8. Why does Pip lie to Mrs. Joe and Uncle Pumblechook about his day at Miss Havisham’s?
9. Pip cannot lie to whom?
10. On what subject does Joe lecture Pip?
1. “Satis” in Satis House means enough.
2. All the clocks in Miss Havisham’s house have stopped at twenty minutes to nine.
3. Estella opens the gate for Pip.
4. Estella and Pip play a card game called “Beggar my Neighbor.”
5. Miss Havisham is dressed in a faded and yellowed wedding dress.
6. Estella calls Pip “boy” and brings attention to his thick boots and coarse hands.
7. Pip imagines he sees Miss Havisham hanging by her neck from a beam in the brewery.
8. He lies because he is afraid of being misunderstood. He also feels that he cannot relate the private lives of Miss Havisham and Estella to Mrs. Joe and Uncle Pumblechook.
9. Pip cannot lie to Joe.
(The entire section is 219 words.)
Part 1, Chapters 10 and 11 Questions and Answers
1. What does the mysterious stranger at the Three Jolly Bargemen stir his drink with?
2. What does the stranger give to Pip?
3. How does Estella treat Pip in these two chapters?
4. What is the Three Jolly Bargemen?
5. Who are the people waiting with Pip in the large room at Miss Havisham’s?
6. On what occasion are these people visiting Miss Havisham?
7. Describe what Pip sees on the bridal table.
8. Where does Miss Havisham want to be laid when she is dead?
9. What does Miss Havisham ask Pip to do on this visit?
10. What do Pip and the pale young gentleman do?
1. The mysterious stranger stirs his drink with Joe’s file.
2. The stranger gives Pip a new shilling wrapped in two one-pound notes.
3. Going up the stairs to see Miss Havisham, Estella slaps Pip and calls him a “little coarse monster.” As she is escorting him out after his visit, she allows him to kiss her on the cheek.
4. Located in the village, the Three Jolly Bargemen is a public-house with a bar.
5. The people waiting with Pip are relatives by the name of Pocket.
6. They are visiting Miss Havisham because it is her birthday.
7. Pip sees a yellowed and decayed wedding cake infested and overrun with spiders, beetles, and mice.
(The entire section is 260 words.)
Part 1, Chapters 12 and 13 Questions and Answers
1. What does Pip worry about before he returns to Miss Havisham’s?
2. What do Miss Havisham and Pip do every visit?
3. Why does Miss Havisham ask Pip to bring Joe to her house?
4. What does apprenticeship mean?
5. What does Miss Havisham pay Joe for Pip’s apprenticeship?
6. How does Joe embarrass Pip at Miss Havisham’s?
7. Who does Pip confide in?
8. What does Miss Havisham instruct Estella to do?
9. Who takes the credit for Pip’s apprenticeship?
10. How does Pip feel about his apprenticeship to Joe?
1. Pip worries that he will get punished for fighting with the pale young gentleman.
2. Miss Havisham and Pip walk, sometimes as long as three hours.
3. Miss Havisham wants Joe to come to her house because she wants to pay for Pip’s apprenticeship.
4. An apprentice is someone who is bound by law to work for a master in order to learn his trade.
5. Miss Havisham pays Joe 25 guineas.
6. Pip is embarrassed because of the way Joe is dressed and because Joe will not talk directly to Miss Havisham.
7. Pip confides in Biddy.
8. Miss Havisham instructs Estella to “break their hearts and have no mercy.”
9. Uncle Pumblechook takes the credit for Pip’s apprenticeship.
(The entire section is 211 words.)
Part 1, Chapters 14 and 15 Questions and Answers
1. Why does Pip want to educate Joe?
2. What is the reason Pip gives Joe for wanting to return to Miss Havisham’s?
3. What is the real reason he wants to return to Miss Havisham’s?
4. Who meets Pip at Miss Havisham’s gate?
5. Where is Estella?
6. When does Miss Havisham invite Pip to return?
7. What is the name of Joe’s journeyman at the forge?
8. Who causes the fight between Orlick and Joe?
9. Who joins Pip and Mr. Wopsle on their walk home?
10. What happens at home while Pip is in the village?
1. Pip wants to educate Joe to make him less ignorant and common. Pip is also afraid of what Estella would think of Joe.
2. Pip tells Joe that he wants to thank Miss Havisham for his apprenticeship.
3. Pip really wants to see Estella again.
4. Miss Sarah Pocket meets Pip at Miss Havisham’s gate.
5. Estella has been sent abroad to become a lady.
6. Miss Havisham tells Pip that he may return on his birthday.
7. Joe’s journeyman’s name is Orlick.
8. Mrs. Joe causes the fight between Orlick and Joe. She demands that Joe defend her honor.
9. Orlick joins Pip and Mr. Wopsle on their walk home.
10. Mrs. Joe is struck on the head and left unconscious on the floor.
(The entire section is 215 words.)
Part 1, Chapters 16 and 17 Questions and Answers
1. What important piece of evidence was left beside Mrs. Joe’s body?
2. Mrs. Joe lives, but how is she afflicted?
3. What does Mrs. Joe repeatedly draw on her slate?
4. When Mrs. Joe draws this figure, who does she want to see?
5. What does the “T” represent?
6. Who are the two people Pip suspects could be Mrs. Joe’s attacker?
7. Who comes to live at the forge and cares for Mrs. Joe?
8. When Pip returns to see Miss Havisham on his birthday, what does she give him?
9. Who does Pip confide in that he wants to be a gentleman?
10. What is the reason that Pip wants to be a gentleman?
1. A convict’s filed off leg-iron was found next to her body.
2. Her sight, hearing, memory, and speech are impaired.
3. Mrs. Joe repeatedly draws a figure that looks like a “T.”
4. When Mrs. Joe draws a “T,” she wants to see Orlick.
5. The “T” represents a hammer.
6. Pip suspects Orlick or the stranger who stirred his rum with a file at the Three Jolly Bargeman.
7. Biddy comes to live at the forge and cares for Mrs. Joe.
8. Miss Havisham gives Pip a guinea on his birthday.
9. Pip confides to Biddy that he wants to be a gentleman.
10. Estella is the reason Pip wants to be a...
(The entire section is 219 words.)
Part 1, Chapter 18 and 19 Questions and Answers
1. Who informs Pip that he has great expectations?
2. What are the three stipulations of the inheritance?
3. Who is to be Pip’s guardian while he is in London?
4. Who is to be Pip’s tutor while he is in London?
5. When Mr. Jaggers offers Joe money to compensate for the loss of Pip’s services, what does the blacksmith do?
6. Who does Pip believe is his benefactor?
7. Why does Pip visit Mr. Trabb, the tailor?
8. How does the reader know that Biddy understands Joe better than Pip does?
9. How has the behavior of Mr. Pumblechook and Mr. Trabb changed toward Pip?
10. Where is Pip going at the end of Chapter 19?
1. Mr. Jaggers, a lawyer from London, informs Pip of his great expectations.
2. The three conditions of the inheritance are as follows:
He must always keep the name of Pip.
The name of the benefactor will remain a secret until that person decides to reveal it to him.
Pip is never to inquire or question anyone concerning the identity of the benefactor.
3. Mr. Jaggers is to be Pip’s guardian.
4. Matthew Pocket is to be Pip’s tutor in London.
5. Joe refuses the money and replies that money cannot compensate “for the loss of the little child.”
6. Pip believes Miss Havisham to be his...
(The entire section is 286 words.)
Part 2, Chapters 20 and 21 Questions and Answers
1. What is the name of Mr. Jaggers’ clerk?
2. What is the name of the “pale young gentleman”?
3. What is Pip’s impression of London?
4. What is the name of the inn where Pip is to live?
5. What does Mr. Jaggers give to Pip?
6. Who walks Pip to Barnard’s Inn?
7. What kind of lawyer is Mr. Jaggers?
8. Where have Pip and Herbert Pocket met before now?
9. What is Pip’s impression of Mr. Jaggers?
10. What is the name of the prison located near Mr. Jaggers’ office?
1. Mr. Wemmick is the name of Mr. Jaggers’ clerk.
2. Herbert Pocket is the name of the “pale young gentleman.”
3. Pip is disappointed in London. It appears to be crowded, dirty, and dismal.
4. Pip is to stay at Barnard’s Inn.
5. Mr. Jaggers gives Pip an allowance and cards of tradesmen with whom he is to deal with for clothes and other things that he should be in need of.
6. Mr. Wemmick walks Pip to Barnard’s Inn.
7. Mr. Jaggers is a powerful criminal lawyer.
8. Pip and Herbert Pocket have met in Miss Havisham’s garden. They engaged in a humorous fight.
9. Pip realizes, by comments overheard on the street and by observing how Mr. Jaggers treats people, that he is a powerful lawyer. He has a great deal of...
(The entire section is 230 words.)
Part 2, Chapters 22 and 23 Questions and Answers
1. How does Herbert feel about Estella?
2. What name does Herbert give to Pip?
3. Why is Pip named Handel?
4. What is one of the first lessons Herbert teaches Pip?
5. What relation is Estella to Miss Havisham?
6. Does Miss Havisham have any brothers or sisters?
7. Who did Mr. Havisham leave his vast fortune to after his death?
8. What two men conspired to swindle Miss Havisham out of her money?
9. Which character is obsessed with peerage, titles, and nobility?
10. Who are the other two students living at Matthew Pocket’s home?
1. Herbert thinks she is a “Tartar,” trained to break the hearts of young men.
2. Herbert gives Pip the name of Handel.
3. Pip is named Handel after a piece of music called “The Harmonious Blacksmith” written by Handel.
4. Herbert instructs Pip on his table manners—not putting his knife into his mouth and using his spoon underhanded.
5. Estella is adopted and therefore no direct relation to Miss Havisham.
6. Miss Havisham only has a half brother.
7. Mr. Havisham left the majority of his wealth to Miss Havisham, but he also left some to his son, Miss Havisham’s half brother.
8. Miss Havisham’s half brother and her fiancee conspired to swindle her out of her...
(The entire section is 228 words.)
Part 2, Chapters 24 and 25 Questions and Answers
1. When Pip is invited to Mr. Jaggers’ home, who does Wemmick want Pip to notice?
2. Where does Mr. Wemmick live?
3. What does Mr. Wemmick call his home?
4. What does Mr. Wemmick call his father?
5. What does Mr. Wemmick do every night at nine o’clock?
6. What is wrong with Mr. Wemmick’s father?
7. What does Mr. Wemmick call his cannon?
8. How is Pip instructed to acknowledge the Aged Parent?
9. Who is the delicate young man being tutored by Mr. Pocket?
10. Who is the sulky young man being tutored by Mr. Pocket?
1. Wemmick tells Pip to pay particular attention to Mr. Jaggers’ housekeeper.
2. Mr. Wemmick lives at Walworth.
3. Mr. Wemmick calls his home “the Castle.”
4. Mr. Wemmick calls his father Aged Parent.
5. Mr. Wemmick fires a cannon every night at nine.
6. Mr. Wemmick’s father is almost totally deaf.
7. Mr. Wemmick calls his cannon the Stinger.
8. Pip is instructed to keep nodding to the Aged Parent.
9. Startop is the delicate young man being tutored by Mr. Pocket.
10. Bentley Drummle is the sulky young man who is tutored by Mr. Pocket.
(The entire section is 182 words.)
Part 2, Chapters 26 and 27 Questions and Answers
1. What name does Mr. Jaggers give Bentley Drummle?
2. Who is Molly?
3. What is unusual about Molly?
4. Who writes Pip a letter?
5. Who is coming to see Pip in London?
6. What keeps falling off the mantle during Pip and Joe’s visit?
7. What news does Joe bring Pip?
8. Mr. Jaggers warns Pip not to have much to do with one of his roommates. Who is it?
9. Is Pip glad to see Joe in London?
10. Who travels with Joe to London?
1. Mr. Jaggers calls Bentley Drummle “the Spider.”
2. Molly is Mr. Jaggers’ housekeeper.
3. Molly has unusual strength in her wrists.
4. It is Biddy who writes Pip a letter.
5. Joe will be coming to London to visit with Pip.
6. Joe’s hat keeps falling off the mantle.
7. Mr. Wopsle has left the church and become an actor, and Estella is home and would like to see him.
8. Mr. Jaggers warns Pip of Bentley Drummle.
9. Pip is embarrassed by Joe’s visit and would have done almost anything to keep him from coming.
10. Mr. Wopsle travels with Joe to London.
(The entire section is 179 words.)
Part 2, Chapters 28 and 29 Questions and Answers
1. Where does Pip stay when he reaches his village?
2. Does Pip go to see Joe, Biddy, and his sister while he is in town?
3. Who rides on the coach with Pip?
4. What does Pip overhear the convicts discussing?
5. When Pip arrives in his village, who does he find has taken all the credit for his good fortune?
6. Who admits Pip into Miss Havisham’s gate and is now working for her?
7. How has Estella changed since the last time Pip saw her?
8. What does Miss Havisham tell Pip to do to Estella?
9. How does Pip recognize Estella when he first arrives?
10. Who does Pip envision restoring Satis House to its former glory?
1. Pip decides to stay at the Blue Boar.
2. No, Pip feels guilty because he does not go see them, but not enough to go.
3. Two convicts ride with Pip on the coach. One of them is the stranger who stirred his drink with Joe’s file at the Three Jolly Bargemen.
4. Pip overhears the convict tell the other how he was instructed to give two one-pound notes to a young boy.
5. Pip learns that Mr. Pumblechook has taken all the credit for helping Pip acquire his good fortune.
6. Orlick is now working for Miss Havisham and is the one who admits Pip in the gate.
7. She has become a young woman, even more...
(The entire section is 274 words.)
Part 2, Chapters 30 and 31 Questions and Answers
1. How does Orlick lose his job at Miss Havisham’s house?
2. How is Pip treated by the townspeople?
3. How is Pip treated by Trabb’s boy?
4. Why does Pip send Joe a gift?
5. What does Pip send Joe?
6. Who does Pip confide in?
7. What does Herbert confide to Pip?
8. What is the name of Herbert’s fiancee?
9. When does Herbert plan to marry his fiancee?
10. What play is being performed by Mr. Wopsle?
1. Pip tells Mr. Jaggers that he does not believe that Orlick should be in a position of trust, and Mr. Jaggers tells Pip that he will fire him.
2. The townspeople want to see Pip, and they treat him with the respect that money brings.
3. Trabb’s boy mocks Pip and humiliates him.
4. Pip sends Joe a gift to relieve his guilt for not going to see him.
5. Pip sends Joe codfish and a barrel of oysters.
6. Pip is able to confide in Herbert.
7. Herbert confides to Pip that he is engaged.
8. Herbert’s fiancee’s name is Clara.
9. Because of their poverty, Herbert and Clara cannot marry until Herbert acquires some money.
10. Mr. Wopsle is acting as Hamlet in Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
(The entire section is 198 words.)
Part 2, Chapters 32 and 33 Questions and Answers
1. Pip receives a note. Who is it from?
2. Who is coming to London?
3. Where does Mr. Wemmick take Pip?
4. What is Pip’s impression of Newgate Prison?
5. What is Mr. Wemmick’s relationship with the prisoners?
6. A simile is used to compare Mr. Wemmick in Newgate Prison to something else. What is it?
7. Where is Estella to live?
8. Why is Estella moving to Richmond?
9. How do Miss Havisham’s relatives feel about Pip?
10. Mr. Pocket is a lecturer on “domestic economy.” Why is this ironic?
1. The note Pip receives is from Estella.
2. Estella is coming to London the day after tomorrow.
3. Mr. Wemmick takes Pip to Newgate Prison.
4. Pip finds Newgate Prison to be a dirty, dismal, and depressing place.
5. Mr. Wemmick is popular with the prisoners. He speaks with them but maintains an aloofness from them.
6. Mr. Wemmick, walking among the prisoners, is compared to a gardener walking among his plants.
7. Estella is to live in Richmond.
8. Estella is moving to Richmond to live with a lady of high position in order that she may be introduced into society.
9. Miss Havisham’s relatives dislike Pip. Estella tells Pip that they “watch you, misrepresent you, write letters about you...
(The entire section is 245 words.)
Part 2, Chapters 34 and 35 Questions and Answers
1. Does Pip’s fortune bring him happiness?
2. Pip feels guilty for his part in getting someone in debt. Who is it?
3. Why doesn’t Pip pay Herbert’s debts?
4. When Herbert and Pip try to straighten out their affairs, what is accomplished?
5. Pip receives a letter from Trabb and Co. What does it say?
6. Why is Biddy going to leave the forge now?
7. What is Biddy going to do to earn a living?
8. Who is still lurking around the forge spying on Biddy?
9. What does Pip promise Biddy?
10. What is Biddy’s response to Pip’s promise?
1. Pip’s fortune has only brought unhappiness and guilt.
2. Pip feels guilty for getting Herbert in debt.
3. Pip is getting into debt himself, and Herbert would never allow Pip to pay for any of his debts because of pride.
4. Pip and Herbert make a big show of sorting out their bills; however, not much is actually accomplished.
5. The letter from Trabb and Co. states that Mrs. Joe Gargery has died, and the funeral will be the following Monday at three o’clock in the afternoon.
6. Biddy must leave the forge now because it would not be proper for her to stay there with only Joe.
7. Biddy is going to try to get the place of mistress in the new school and teach.
(The entire section is 268 words.)
Part 2, Chapters 36 and 37 Questions and Answers
1. Why does Mr. Jaggers send for Pip?
2. What new financial arrangements are initiated when Pip comes of age?
3. What information does Pip want from Mr. Jaggers?
4. What does Pip want Mr. Wemmick to help him do?
5. Who is going to help with the arrangements for Herbert’s future?
6. What does the Aged Parent like to read each night?
7. Who is the shipping merchant who agrees to help Pip with his plan?
8. What device separates Mr. Wemmick from the rest of the world?
9. Who is Mr. Wemmick’s lady-friend?
10. How much money did Pip receive on his birthday?
1. Mr. Jaggers sends for Pip to give him a bank note for 500 pounds.
2. Mr. Jaggers tells Pip that he will receive 500 pounds each year, and he will manage his own business affairs now that he is 21 years of age.
3. Pip is hoping to find out the identity of his benefactor.
4. Pip wants Mr. Wemmick to help him secretly set Herbert up in business.
5. Miss Skiffin’s brother is going to help with the arrangements regarding Herbert’s future.
6. The Aged Parent likes to read the newspaper aloud each night.
7. The shipping merchant who agrees to help Pip with his plan to help Herbert is Clarriker.
8. A small ditch called a moat separates Mr. Wemmick...
(The entire section is 246 words.)
Part 2, Chapters 38 and 39 Questions and Answers
1. Whom does Pip accompany back to Satis House?
2. When Pip cannot sleep at night, who does he see in the hallways carrying a candle like a ghost?
3. Someone is courting Estella that Pip does not approve of. Who is it?
4. Estella admits that she deceives and entraps every suitor except one. Who is that one?
5. What is the weather like when Pip is visited by his benefactor?
6. Where has the convict been working all this time? What has he been doing?
7. Who is Pip’s benefactor?
8. Where does the convict stay for the night?
9. How does Pip feel about the convict staying with him?
10. What will happen to the convict if he is found in London?
1. Pip accompanies Estella back to Satis House.
2. When Pip awakens at night, he sees Miss Havisham roaming the halls carrying a candle.
3. Pip does not approve of Drummle courting Estella.
4. Estella admits that she does not try to trap or ensnare Pip. She is quite candid with him.
5. When the convict comes to reveal that he is Pip’s benefactor, there is a raging storm outside.
6. The convict has been working in Australia as a sheep farmer.
7. The first convict on the marshes is Pip’s benefactor.
8. The convict stays in Herbert’s room for the night....
(The entire section is 256 words.)
Part 3, Chapters 40 and 41 Questions and Answers
1. What is the real name of Pip’s convict?
2. What name is the convict traveling under?
3. What is Pip going to tell his acquaintances concerning the convict?
4. Why does the convict return to London?
5. What will happen to the convict if he is found in London?
6. Why does Mr. Jaggers keep referring to Magwitch in New South Wales and Provis who will probably come to London to see Pip?
7. Why is Pip afraid of the convict?
8. Who helps Pip decide what to do with the convict?
9. Who is hiding on the stairs in the dark?
10. Will Pip continue taking money from the convict?
1. The convict’s real name is Abel Magwitch.
2. The convict is traveling under the name of Provis.
3. Pip is going to tell his acquaintances that his Uncle Provis, a wealthy farmer, has come to visit him.
4. The convict has returned to London to lavish more money on Pip and to watch him spend it. The convict wants to enjoy the only worthy accomplishment he has done in his life.
5. Because the convict had been convicted for life and exiled from London, he must never return. If he is ever found in London, he will be hanged.
6. Mr. Jaggers really knows that Provis is Abel Magwitch; however, if he acknowledges that fact he would have to act on the knowledge...
(The entire section is 379 words.)
Part 3, Chapters 42 and 43 Questions and Answers
1. Who is Compeyson?
2. Who was Arthur?
3. What happened to Arthur?
4. Who did Arthur see shaking a shroud at him?
5. Who was the real mastermind of the crimes committed by Compeyson and Provis?
6. Why does Pip fear Compeyson?
7. Who accompanies Estella back to Satis House?
8. Why does Pip return to the village to see Estella?
9. Who does the man who helps Drummle light his cigar resemble?
10. Why were Compeyson and Provis sentenced differently?
1. Compeyson is the man who jilted Miss Havisham. He, Arthur, and Provis were partners at one time.
2. Arthur is Miss Havisham’s half brother. He and Compeyson swindled her out of all that they could.
3. Guilt has driven Arthur crazy, and he dies at Compeyson’s house.
4. Arthur imagines that he sees a woman dressed in white shaking a shroud at him. He knows that when she puts the shroud on him he will die. The woman is Miss Havisham.
5. The real mastermind of the evil plots to swindle and go against the law was the schemer Compeyson.
6. Pip is afraid that Compeyson will turn Provis in to the law. This would free Compeyson from worrying about Provis, because Provis would still kill him if he got the chance.
7. Bentley Drummle accompanies Estella back to Satis...
(The entire section is 307 words.)
Part 3, Chapters 44 and 45 Questions and Answers
1. What favor does Pip ask of Miss Havisham?
2. What confession does Pip make to Estella?
3. Who does Estella plan to marry?
4. Who are the two relatives that Pip ask Miss Havisham not to include with the self-seekers?
5. How does Pip get back to London?
6. What does the night watchman give to Pip, and what does it say?
7. Who has written a warning note to Pip?
8. What two characters are responsible for relocating Provis?
9. Where is Provis now living?
10. What character is in London and threatens the safety of Provis?
1. Pip asks Miss Havisham if she would secretly supply money for Herbert to remain in Clarriker’s employment.
2. Pip confesses that he has loved her since he first went to Satis House.
3. Estella plans to marry Bentley Drummle.
4. Pip asks Miss Havisham not to include Herbert and his father in the group of relatives who are greedy self-seekers.
5. Pip is so unhappy that he walks back to London.
6. The night watchman at the Temple gives Pip a note that says, “Don’t go home!”
7. Mr. Wemmick is the one who has written the note.
8. Mr. Wemmick and Herbert are responsible for relocating Provis.
9. Provis is now living in the house where Clara, Herbert’s fiancee,...
(The entire section is 216 words.)
Part 3, Chapters 46 and 47 Questions and Answers
1. In whose boarding house if Provis now living?
2. Where is the boarding house located?
3. What is wrong with Clara’s father?
4. How often is Pip to go see Provis?
5. How are Pip and Herbert preparing to help Provis escape from London?
6. How is Provis to signal Pip that everything is all right?
7. What name is Provis now going by?
8. Because Pip has no more money, what does he have to do to raise some money?
9. Whom does Pip see at the theater?
10. Who is sitting behind Pip in the theater?
1. Provis is now staying at Mrs. Whimple’s boarding house—the same one as Clara, Herbert’s fiancee.
2. The boarding house is located on the river front on Mill Pond Bank.
3. Clara’s father is an invalid suffering from gout and too much rum.
4. Pip is not to return to see Provis.
5. Pip and Herbert start rowing every day so that when the day comes to help Provis escape, they will not arouse suspicion.
6. Provis’ signal that everything is all right is to lower his shade when Pip rows by the house.
7. Provis is now going by the name of Mr. Campbell.
8. Pip would not take Provis’ pocketbook filled with money, so now he must sell some of his jewelry in order to pay some of his debts.
(The entire section is 251 words.)
Part 3, Chapters 48 and 49 Questions and Answers
1. Who does Pip believe is Estella’s mother? How does he come to this conclusion?
2. How did Mr. Jaggers first meet Molly?
3. What does Miss Havisham agree to do for Pip?
4. How much money will Pip need to complete setting Herbert up in business?
5. When Pip returns to visit Miss Havisham, how has she changed?
6. What three words does she want Pip to write under her name?
7. What happens to Miss Havisham?
8. How is Pip injured?
9. Where is Miss Havisham placed after the fire?
10. Who brought Estella to Miss Havisham?
1. While dining with Mr. Jaggers, Pip recognizes Molly’s hands and eyes to be exactly like Estella’s. Therefore, after hearing Molly’s past, he believes that she is Estella’s mother.
2. Mr. Jaggers was Molly’s lawyer. He got her acquitted from a murder case.
3. Out of remorse, Miss Havisham agrees to help Pip by aiding Herbert in his business.
4. Nine hundred pounds will make Herbert a partner in Clarriker’s business.
5. Miss Havisham has changed in many ways. She appears almost pitiful sitting in her grave-like house. She begs Pip’s forgiveness and realizes that she has destroyed not only her own life, but the lives of Estella and Pip.
6. Miss Havisham wants the words “I forgive her”...
(The entire section is 266 words.)
Part 3, Chapters 50 and 51 Questions and Answers
1. Who takes care of Pip’s injuries?
2. What name does Herbert call Clara’s father?
3. What did Provis’ wife tell him that she was going to do with their child?
4. Who is Estella’s father?
5. Where does Pip go to confirm Provis’ story?
6. Does Provis know that his daughter is alive?
7. How is the relationship between Pip and Mr. Jaggers different?
8. Will the knowledge of Estella’s parents be kept a secret?
9. Why will Pip not tell Estella of the identity of her parents?
10. Who is the client who interrupts the confrontation between Pip and Mr. Jaggers?
1. Herbert takes care of Pip’s injuries.
2. Gruffandgrim is the name Herbert gives to Clara’s father.
3. She tells him that she is going to destroy the child.
4. Provis is Estella’s father.
5. Pip goes to Mr. Jaggers to confirm the story about Provis, Molly, and Estella.
6. Provis has no idea that his daughter is alive.
7. Pip is no longer afraid or intimidated by Mr. Jaggers. Pip actually knows more about Estella than Mr. Jaggers. Pip has matured, and he is no longer under Mr. Jaggers’ rule.
8. Pip and Mr. Jaggers agree that it would do no good to anyone to release any of this information concerning Provis, Estella, and Molly....
(The entire section is 272 words.)
Part 3, Chapters 52 and 53 Questions and Answers
1. What two people write Pip a letter in these chapters, and what do they say?
2. What day is Pip planning to help Provis escape?
3. Who is going to help row the boat to the steamer?
4. Where is the steamer going that Pip and Provis are planning to board?
5. At what time was Pip to be at the marshes?
6. Who is taking all the credit for Pip’s great expectations?
7. What does Orlick plan to do to Pip?
8. Why does Orlick consider Pip his enemy?
9. Who killed Mrs. Joe?
10. Who rescues Pip from Orlick?
1. Wemmick writes Pip a letter telling him that Wednesday would be a good day to try to get Provis out of the country. Orlick writes Pip an anonymous letter telling him to come to an old sluice house in the marshes, and he better come in order to get some information about his Uncle Provis.
2. Pip is planning to help Provis escape on Wednesday.
3. Because of Pip’s burns, Herbert and Startop will do the rowing.
4. Pip and Provis are planning to board a steamer bound for Hamburg, Germany.
5. The anonymous letter from Orlick instructed Pip to be at the marshes at nine o’clock at night.
6. Uncle Pumblechook is taking all the credit for Pip’s great expectations.
7. Orlick is planning to murder Pip.
(The entire section is 265 words.)
Part 3, Chapters 54 and 55 Questions and Answers
1. On what day does Pip, Herbert, and Startop begin their planned escape for Provis?
2. Who alerts the four that a four-oared galley is traveling up and down in front of the public house?
3. On what day do the four meet the steamer?
4. What happens as the steamer approaches?
5. Who is the man in the other galley who is wrapped up in a great coat?
6. What happens to Magwitch?
7. What happens to Compeyson?
8. What will happen to all of Magwitch’s money and possessions?
9. Where is Herbert going to work?
10. What position does Herbert offer Pip?
1. The four young men begin their escape by rowing all day on Wednesday.
2. A man named Jack alerts Pip that he has seen another galley going up and down with the tides in front of the public house.
3. The four young men see the steamer approaching on Thursday.
4. As the steamer approaches, the four-oared galley pulls along side of Pip and his friends.
5. Compeyson is the other man in the galley. He identifies Magwitch, and they lunge for one another.
6. Magwitch and Compeyson fall overboard together, and Magwitch sustains an injury to his chest and a deep cut on his head.
7. Compeyson drowns during the struggle.
8. Because Magwitch has no will and Pip is...
(The entire section is 257 words.)
Part 3, Chapters 56 and 57 Questions and Answers
1. What injuries did Magwitch sustain when he fell out of the boat?
2. What verdict does the judge pass down to Magwitch?
3. What does Pip do after the judge sentences Magwitch?
4. What does Pip tell Magwitch before he dies?
5. What happens to Pip after the death of Magwitch?
6. Who comes to care for Pip?
7. What has happened to Miss Havisham?
8. What has happened to Orlick?
9. What does Joe leave in his farewell letter to Pip?
10. Who does Pip decide to ask to marry him?
1. Magwitch broke two ribs and injured his lung, making breathing very painful and difficult.
2. The judge finds Magwitch guilty and sentences him to death along with 32 others.
3. After the judge sentences Magwitch to death, Pip begins to write petitions on behalf of Magwitch.
4. Before Magwitch dies, Pip tells him that his daughter is alive and that she is beautiful, and he loves her.
5. Because Pip has been spending every spare moment either writing petitions or sitting with Magwitch, he has allowed himself to become run down. He becomes very ill.
6. Joe comes to care for Pip.
7. Joe tells Pip that Miss Havisham has died.
8. Joe tells Pip that Orlick is in the county jail for breaking into Mr. Pumblechook’s house and...
(The entire section is 243 words.)
Part 3, Chapters 58 and 59 Questions and Answers
1. When Pip returns to his village and the Blue Boar, how do the townspeople treat him?
2. What is happening to Satis House?
3. Who still believes that he is the original benefactor for Pip’s fortunes?
4. Pip returns on a very special day in the lives of Biddy and Joe. What is it?
5. What does Pip beg Joe and Biddy to do?
6. Where does Pip go after leaving Joe and Biddy?
7. How many years did Pip stay away from London before returning again?
8. When Pip returns to see Joe and Biddy, what new additions have occurred in their family?
9. What has happened to Estella?
10. Pip goes to look at the place where Satis House once was, and who does he find walking there?
1. The people in Pip’s village have heard of his loss of fortune and treat him coolly.
2. Satis House is being torn down for building materials, and the contents are being sold at auction.
3. Mr. Pumblechook still believes that he is the original benefactor.
4. Pip returns on Biddy and Joe’s wedding day.
5. Pip begs Joe and Biddy to forgive him.
6. After leaving Joe and Biddy, Pip goes to Cairo to join Herbert and Clara and work there as a clerk.
7. Pip remains in Cairo for 11 years before returning to his village.
8. Joe and Biddy have...
(The entire section is 272 words.)
Point of View
The first-person narrator of Dickens' Great Expectations is an adult Pip who tells the story in his own voice and from his own memory. What is distinctive about that voice is that it can so intimately recall the many small details of a little boy's fear and misery, as well as the voices and dialects of others—from the rough country speech of Magwitch and Orlick to the deaf Aged Parent's loud repetitions or the mechanically predictable things Jaggers says. Yet other details seem to be forgotten. Pip tells almost nothing of his beatings from Mrs. Joe, but a great deal about his fear of them, using adult vocabulary and concepts in these reflections. The opening scene with little Pip in the cemetery recalls the tombstones as looking like "lozenges," soothing the throat of this mature narrator. This way, the adult Pip not only evaluates events as he remembers them but also adds a deeper insight than he would have had as a child. The story unfolds chronologically from Pip's earliest memories to his most recent experiences. And while some critics justify Dickens' revised ending, Pip's development is most believable for modern readers if he parts from Estella with the final realization that he could never have been happy with her and her man-hating legacy from Miss Havisham.
In Great Expectations, Pip must not only work out his problems but also sort out reality from his...
(The entire section is 1128 words.)
Dickens is a master of plot, characterization, humor, setting, and atmosphere. The blend of these elements in Great Expectations raises the novel to lofty narrative art. The author provides a three-dimensional portrait of Pip, skillfully using his words, gestures, thoughts, appearance, and actions to reveal his complex personality. Pip undergoes four distinct stages of physical and moral development. He is first a small child, relating his feelings and experiences in a rich, authentic picture of childhood; then an adolescent; next a young man; and finally an adult with a mature understanding of himself and society. Dickens also draws Estella in some depth. She is not the typical soft, sentimental heroine of romance. Although finally softened by adversity, she remains haughtily aloof and indifferent to Pip's ardor during most of the story. Dickens renders a fine portrait of Joe Gargery as the village blacksmith. Less successful is the portrait of Miss Havisham. She is too strange and eccentric, too weird and extreme to be convincing with her tattered satin bridal dress, moldering wedding cake, and stopped clocks. Like Miss Havisham, Dickens's minor characters sometimes verge on caricature.
One of the most perfectly plotted of Dickens's novels, Great Expectations stands beside David Copperfield as a masterpiece. The story is dramatic rather than episodic, with a clear causal connection linking most events. Dickens logically manipulates...
(The entire section is 594 words.)
Dickens treats a variety of social issues in Great Expectations—prejudice, materialism, social status, and class— in a sensible manner that the teacher, librarian, and parent will undoubtedly applaud. The author's presentation of these issues offers young readers an understanding of social situations, guidance for their future roles in society, and a vision of the "good life."
Pip is the vehicle selected for transmitting social values. After a series of mistakes, he perfectly exemplifies the achievement of maturation and proper adjustment to society. At first, Pip is presented sympathetically as a poor orphan boy. But when transformed into an English gentleman, he adopts many unpleasant traits. He becomes a parasite on society, useless, snobbish, and indolent. He thinks of the "good life" primarily in terms of social status and material possessions. He forgets who his true friends are. But when he finally learns the true origins of his wealth, he undergoes a profound and salutary reformation: sloughing off false values and returning to his old friends.
(The entire section is 166 words.)
Compare and Contrast
- Early 1800s: Workhouses were set up so that the poor and those who owed money had an alternative to debtors' prison from which there was no escape without paying the debt; this was almost impossible if the debtor were unable to work.
Today: The poor are being urged off of social welfare programs and into "workfare," low-paying jobs that teach skills but do not pay a living wage.
- Early 1800s: Child labor was used and abused by industry with long hours and unsafe conditions in the workplace, especially the mines. If children got sick, there was no medical care for them except from charities, such as London's Hospital for Sick Children begun in 1852 and supported by Charles Dickens.
Today: Child labor laws are strictly enforced, and medical care for the poor is widely available since social reform laws were enacted in the United States in the mid-1960s.
- Early 1800s: Since most of England heated homes and industry with coal and peat, air pollution was visible and lung problems were widespread. Pip notices the grime and soot on everything in his first impression of the city and wonders how people could choose to live in such a dirty place.
Today: Air pollution, although not always visible in PCBs and ozone-depleting chemicals, is now one of our greatest global...
(The entire section is 295 words.)
Topics for Discussion
1. Pip is an orphan boy, a blacksmith's assistant living with his sister and her husband in a small English village. How does Pip visualize his dead parents? Does the boy suffer from want and privation? Why is Pip's life with his sister so unpleasant? Would you agree that Dickens takes pains to present young Pip with great sympathy?
2. Why is Pip's confrontation with the escaped convict traumatic? What circumstances make this vivid scene in the marshes so terrifying? Although the reader does not realize it at the time, this event is central to the story. Why?
3. Eccentric old Miss Havisham summons Pip to wheel her about and be a companion to her ward, Estella. But what is her real motive? Why is she embittered against men? Is she believable as a character?
4. Pip's life as a blacksmith's apprentice comes to a sudden end with the arrival of the lawyer, Mr. Jaggers. What surprising disclosure does Mr. Jaggers make? How does it change Pip's life?
5. Pip goes to London to become educated as an English gentleman. What happens to him in his life there? Would you agree that he becomes less admirable? How does Dickens criticize the concept of the "English gentleman" in the figure of Pip?
6. In London, Pip once again meets Estella. Is he still attracted to her? What is the source of her irresistible appeal to him? Why is he convinced that Miss Havisham secretly favors their marriage?
7. One day in London...
(The entire section is 401 words.)
Ideas for Reports and Papers
1. Dickens has been called the "novelist of childhood." How well does he portray the child's mind and imagination in the figure of Pip?
2. David Copperfield is the most autobiographical of Dickens's novels. Yet there is much autobiographical material in Great Expectations. Discuss how Dickens brings his own experiences as a child into the two novels.
3. Critics view Pip as complex because he undergoes development of character during the story. The Pip of eighteen is quite different from the Pip of eight. Describe the stages of his growth from childhood into mature responsibility. What mistakes does he make? What does he learn?
4. Most careful readers are aware that the title Great Expectations conveys an ironic intent on the part of the author. What "great expectations" did Pip's patron have for the boy? In what sense was their fulfillment ironic and disappointing to Pip?
5. Most readers view Dickens as a powerful critic of Victorian society. What specific social ills does he attack in Great Expectations? How effective is the novel's social criticism?
6, Dickens said that the general effect of Great Expectations is "exceedingly droll." Do you agree? Can you find examples of humorous characters and comic scenes that convincingly support Dickens's view of the novel?
(The entire section is 203 words.)
Topics for Further Study
- Research the history and 1850-60 social climate of Australia as an English penal colony, where Magwitch had been living, when Queensland was becoming a separate colony from New South Wales.
- Investigate U.S. social conditions in 1842 when Dickens visited the United States, and compare this to conditions seen in 1868 when he returned to America on a reading tour. Keep in mind Dickens' themes of class distinction and real life versus expectation of changes he would have been likely to see in the American people. Consider the Gold Rush; the Emancipation Proclamation; John Brown's 1859 raid on Harper's Ferry, Virginia; the 1857 Dred Scott Decision; etc.
- Investigate child labor in England before the 1875-80 movement to legally limit work-hours and to improve dangerous factory conditions. Dickens' arousal of public sentiment against industry's inhuman treatment of minors and disenfranchised citizens in his novels contributed to this reform.
(The entire section is 143 words.)
Great Expectations was first made into a motion picture in 1934 by Universal Pictures. Directed by Stuart Walker and starring Jane Wyatt, Phillips Holmes, and George Breakston, this version is now available on video cassettes. The 1946 film version has justifiably become a classic, featuring fine performances by John Mills, Valerie Hobson, Bernard Miles, Francis L. Sullivan, Martita Hunt, Alec Guinness, Finlay Currie, Anthony Wager, and Jean Simmons. Directed by David Lean, this production remains remarkably true to Dickens's novel. In 1974 Joseph Hardy directed an acceptable made-for-television movie of Great Expectations starring Michael York, Sarah Miles, and James Mason.
A good adaptation for classroom use is Encyclopaedia Britannica Films' two-part, 69-minute film Great Expectations (1963-1964). This version has two complementary instructional films featuring Clifton Fadiman: Early Victorian England and Charles Dickens, 35 minutes, and The Novel: What It Is, What It's About, What It Does, 35 minutes. The Learning Corporation of America has released a 118-minute version of Great Expectations produced by David Lean.
(The entire section is 160 words.)
- Great Expectations was first adapted by film in the silent movie version in 1917, released by Paramount Pictures, on five reels, Famous Players Film Company, 3 January 1917, and presented by David Frohman.
- A 1934 remake, poorly directed by Stuart Walker, starred Jane Wyatt as Estella and Phillip Holmes as Pip, but the public thought their performances were lackluster. Universal released this film on eleven reels.
- A British production of the novel on film was made in Great Britain in 1946, directed by David Lean and available from Rank/Cmeguild This most acclaimed of the film versions of Dickens' novel stars John Mills as Pip, Valerie Hobson as Estella, and Alec Guiness as Herbert Pocket, Jr., and it won two Oscars in 1947. According to critic Robert Murphy, it was "one of the finest of all film adaptations of Dickens."
- Two critical adaptations of the novel were captured on film in 1962 dealing with (1) setting, character, and themes and (2) critical interpretation. Each of these two films were produced for a high school or early college audience by the Encyclopedia Brittannica Corporation, and each are 35 minutes in length.
- In 1973, the University of Michigan produced a dramatization of Dickens' attack in Great Expectations on the upper class of British society, with a senior high to college level audience in mind. Available on the Dickens' World Series from the University of Michigan,...
(The entire section is 510 words.)
What Do I Read Next?
- Dickens' Oliver Twist is the story of an orphan who overcomes his humble beginnings to prove himself worthy of the virtuous Nancy's love for him, and to overcome all of his notorious enemies.
- William Thackeray's Vanity Fair is from the same period as Dickens' Great Expectations. Like it, the novel makes statements against social class distinction and snobbery. However, Thackeray's hero is a girl who inherits money and work to win the credibility and love of her readers.
- Likewise, Wilkie Collins' The Woman in White has the theme of virtue overcoming adversity. Laura endures an unhappy marriage and the loss of her wealth to end by marrying her true love and giving birth to their son. Although Dickensian elements of plot twists and social themes occur, his humor may seem to be missing.
(The entire section is 133 words.)
For Further Reference
Baker, Ernest A. The History of the English Novel. Vol. 7. London: Wetherby, 1968. This is the most notable history of the English novel. In addition to an account of sources and a summary of Great Expectations, Baker provides much sound criticism.
Dyson, A. E. The Inimitable Dickens: A Reading of the Novels. London: Macmillan, 1970. Lightly written, yet scholarly and useful, the chapter on Great Expectations is particularly rewarding.
Gold, Joseph. Charles Dickens, Radical Moralist. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1972. Gold examines in depth the moral values and human psychology in Great Expectations.
Hobsbaum, Philip. A Reader's Guide to Charles Dickens. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1973. Includes a perceptive chapter on Great Expectations, together with a good bibliography of critical studies of the novel.
Page, Norman. A Dickens Companion. New York: Schocken Books, 1984. An excellent reference, this work is ideal for a quick survey of the composition, reception, and modern criticism of Great Expectations.
Van Ghent, Dorothea. The English Novel, Form and Function. New York: Rinehart, 1953. Especially useful for students, this textbook edition points out problems and contains discussion questions.
Zasadinski, Eugene. "Charles Dickens." In Research Guide to Biography and Criticism, edited by...
(The entire section is 225 words.)
Bibliography and Further Reading
Bradbury, Nicola. Charles Dickens's "Great Expectations." New York: St. Martin's Press, 1990.
Brooks-Davies, Douglas. Charles Dickens: Great Expectations. London: Penguin, 1989.
Calder, Angus. Introduction to Great Expectations. Penguin, 1981.
Carlisle, Janice, ed. "Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens. Bedford Books of St Martin's Press, 1996.
Connor, Steven. Charles Dickens. London: Basil Blackwell, 1985.
Cotsell, Michael, ed. Critical Essays on Charles Dickens' "Great Expectations." Boston: G.K. Hall, 1990.
Dickens, Charles. Great Expections. New York: New American Library, 1963.
Dickens, Charles. Great Expectations, edited by Margaret Cardwell. Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press, 1993.
Harvey, Sir Paul, Ed. The Oxford Companion to English Literature. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1967.
Hochman, Baruch, and Ilja Wachs. Dickens: The Orphan Condition. Madison, NJ: Farleigh Dickenson University Press, 1999.
Holbrook, David. Charles Dickens and the Image of Woman. New York: New York University Press, 1993.
Hornback, Bert G. "Great Expectations": A Novel of Friendship. Boston: Twayne, 1987.
House, Humphrey. The Dickens World, 2nd edition. Oxford University Press, 1942.
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Bibliography (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Hornback, Bert G. “Great Expectations”: A Novel of Friendship. Boston: Twayne, 1987. Helpful introduction to the novel’s historical context, guilt theme, point of view, and symbols and images. Includes chapters on Pip and Magwitch that focus on Pip’s moral education. Argues that the novel’s significance lies in its thesis that evil in society can be fought only by confronting it in the self. Includes an annotated bibliography.
Johnson, Edgar. Charles Dickens: His Tragedy and Triumph. 2 vols. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1952. A standard biography that includes a chapter on Great Expectations, which provides a succinct discussion of characters and of Dickens’ opinion that money and materialism are corrupting forces. Pip’s fortunes are related to key events in Dickens’ own life.
Miller, J. Hillis. Charles Dickens: The World of His Novels. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1958. Includes an essay that explores the themes of identity and self-discovery in Great Expectations and traces Pip’s development from childhood isolation and alienation to moral descent and eventual transformation through love.
Sadrin, Anny. “Great Expectations.” Boston: Unwin Hyman, 1988. A comprehensive handbook with good chapters on the composition, historical background,...
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