What is the significance of the title Great Expectations?

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Nearly everyone has great expectations when they are young. They expect a lot of themselves, a lot of other people, and a lot of life. But they are usually disappointed in all three. This is expressed very succinctly in Ernest Hemingway's short story, "Hills Like White Elephants." While they are waiting outside a little cafe for the train to Madrid to arrive, the girl wants to try a drink called Anis del Toro. 

"It tastes like licorice," the girl said and put the glass down.

"That's the way with everything."

"Yes," said the girl. "Everything tastes of licorice. Especially all the things you've waited so long for, like absinthe."

The pessimistic German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer expresses the same truth another way.

Of course, as Schiller says, we are all born in Arcadia; in other words, we come into the world full of claims to happiness and pleasure and cherish the foolish hope of making them good. In any case, experience after a time teaches us that happiness and pleasure are a fata...

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