Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Great Expectations book cover
Start Your Free Trial

Discuss Great Expectations as a classic 'bildungsroman' (a novel about growth and development of the hero). Charles Dickens's Great Expectations

Expert Answers info

mwestwood eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2006

write16,149 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Much like the monologue of the melancholy Jacques from Shakespeare's As You Like It, known as "The Seven Ages of Man," Great Expectations chronicles in prose, rather than poetry, the three stages of Pip from somewhat lonely and naive orphan who is made aware that he is a "common, a mere labouring-boy," who forms a link to his life on a single, memorable day of "great expectations" to a young gentleman now recklessly foolish, rejecting his old friend--

All other swindlers upon earth are nothing to the self-swindlers, and with such pretenses did I cheat myself.

--to that of a man who has...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 1,108 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

clairewait eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2010

write2,328 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and Science

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

accessteacher eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write13,728 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

check Approved by eNotes Editorial


papeya | Student

As a 'Bildungsroman', Great Expectations traces the development of Pirrip, known to us as Pip. From being a young boy living in the marsh country of Kent to being a gentleman living in London, it's a story of maturation and growth, of learning of the fact that one's real nature is in no way connected to one's social status. Great Expectations is a novel of education in the lesson of life discovered by Pip during his journey. It contains an abundance of insight on social, moral and philosophical grounds. The novel explores the identity of a gentleman in the Victorian era in regard to the society he lives in. Eventually, Pip discovers a gentleman is characterized by the gentlemanly qualities he possesses such as kindness, conscience, affection, loyalty which are much more valuable assets of humanity than any other assets of wealth, class or society combined together.