What is the meaning and purpose of the novel "Great Expectations"? What are the overall themes of Dicken's Great Expectations, and what should we learn from them?

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troutmiller eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are several themes throughout this novel: the theme of being unappreciative, the theme of suffering, and the theme of moving through the social classes. Readers should always learn from the main character, who in this case is Pip.

Pip struggles through the 3 stages of his life trying to find his place. He begins in the working/poor class. His only expectations are to become a blacksmith. Then one day he's given all kinds of money to become a "gentleman." That's where his changes occur in his social standing. He becomes rich, only to lose it all and have to earn it all back. Through his travels up and down the social ladder, he forgets those who love him for who he is, not what he has. He does not appreciate the good people in his life. Through his experiences in the different classes, Pip suffers. He also suffers in love, for he cannot have the one whom he wants. He also sees the suffering of Miss Havisham, and he even sees how his sister suffers. These are the experiences that the reader should learn from.

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Great Expectations

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