How is Great Expectations by Charles Dickens a timeless work of literature?

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Great Expectations is a classic for the reason that, for generations, people have found in the novel some part of themselves and their own struggles. It is a coming-of-age tale, of someone who wants to be more than he is. The struggle of youth to find who they really are...

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Great Expectations is a classic for the reason that, for generations, people have found in the novel some part of themselves and their own struggles. It is a coming-of-age tale, of someone who wants to be more than he is. The struggle of youth to find who they really are and who they are meant to be is something that is common through all the years.

In the monotype of the hero’s journey, the protagonist is born in humble circumstances. This certainly describes Pip. The hero is called to an adventure, usually by someone who serves as a mentor or guide. Pip is presented with his dream of becoming a gentleman, aided by his unknown benefactor (Magwitch/Provis). With the help of companions, such as Herbert and Joe, Pip follows his quest, which includes the “rescue” of a damsel in distress (Estella). His quest does not turn out exactly as he had anticipated, but he still manages to find out who he was truly meant to be.

It is this quest that strikes in the heart of many people. They see this as a guide on their own journey, with potholes and mistakes to avoid. Wisdom is found in learning from your mistakes; it is even greater wisdom to learn from the mistakes of others, even those found in books or movies (think Star Wars or Harry Potter). That is what makes a classic.

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