Describe the relevance of a 20th or 21st century work of art or literature and detail how it has influenced your thoughts and/or action.     i have only read "the great expectations, a dolls...

Describe the relevance of a 20th or 21st century work of art or literature and detail how it has influenced your thoughts and/or action. 



i have only read "the great expectations, a dolls house, things fall apart, and twilight. It is for a application to a school and its due tomorrow... i dont know what to say. i wanted to write great expectations and i get how a poor boy grew to a gentle men. But i dont know what i should say. Any tips.


Expert Answers
William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think the person evaluating your application essay will be mainly concerned about the last part of the question: how the work of literature has influenced your thoughts and/or action. Since the book probably has not had much time to influence your action, you should focus on how Dickens' Great Expectations has influenced your thinking. You don't have to worry much about describing the book itself, since it is a famous classic and your reader will be familiar with it. You could write about how the novel has influenced your opinion of people in general. How it has made you realize that there is a lot of pretense and hypocrisy in human society. How it has influenced your own "expectations" of other people and of what the life may hold in store for you. How it has influenced your ideas about friendship--what is real and what is false. How it has influenced your ideas about success. How it has influenced your thinking about your goals in life, as far as a vocation is concerned. These are the kinds of things you could focus on--though not necessarily on all of them. In an essay of this kind it might not be a bad idea to mention what plans you have for your future, what you would like to become when you graduate from school. You wouldn't have to tie it in with the novel, since Great Expectations is all about a young man getting an education and finding his proper vocation in the world. You might also mention whether you would like to read other books by Dickens or other books like Great Expectations (which is often called a "coming-of-age" novel.

lhc eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If you want to use Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, one approach might be to focus on the true meaning of success.  In Great Expectations, Pip grows up as a poor boy whose mysterious benefactor takes care of him and gives him every advantage throughout the years to be the gentleman he so desperately wants to be.  Pip's values as he grows becomes somewhat superficial and elitist, which is ironic, because his mysterious benefactor, the one who is making it possible for him to live in the world of "gentlemen" is actually the convict that Pip befriended when he was a little boy. 

When Pip realizes that Magwitch, the convict, is the one who has given him the gentleman's life, and that Magwitch is dying, he begins to return to his true self and his true values, and treats the old man with dignity and respect.  In the end, it is not the money, education, and fine material objects that made Pip a true gentleman, but rather his return to who he was, to true values, and to a recognition and appreciation for what this convict had done for him.  In many ways, the truest gentleman of the story is Magwitch himself, the one who Pip at one time likely would have looked down on. 

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Great Expectations

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