What is the point of view of Great Expectations?

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billdelaney's profile pic

William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Great Expectations is told entirely in the first person and from Pip's point of view. The story is told in the past tense. Everything that is described by the narrator, Pip, has already happened. This type of narration is useful to the author because it allows him to explore feelings and impressions. Pip happens to be an observant, intelligent and sensitive youth, so his feelings and impressions are interesting and usually significant. Dickens used the same first-person narration in David Copperfield. Mark Twain used it in Huckleberry Finn, though not in Tom Sawyer.

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sciftw | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Great Expectations is narrated in the first person point of view.  The narrator is Pip.  Because it is a first person narration, the reader will read Pip referring to himself as "I" and "me."  Another key detail about the narrative point of view is that the narration is in the past tense.  When Pip is telling his story, he is a grown man (likely in his fifties).  He is telling his readers about his time as a young man.  The story is basically Pip's memoirs.  Because the reader knows that Pip is telling events that have already happened, an interesting thing happens.  The reader feels suspense during many parts of the story, but the reader ultimately knows that Pip will not die at any point.  If he died, he couldn't tell the reader the story.  

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