The title of Charles Dickens’ book “Great Expectations” suggests to Pip’s “great expectations,” which are multifaceted and always changing. His high hopes are reflected in his desire of becoming a gentleman, which he receives in the shape of his wealth. His yearning for a particular frigid star called Estella is another manifestation of his aspirations. Each of the novel’s three sections deals with a different expectation, and we see how Pip adapts to his shifting expectations.
Pip passes through three stages in his existence, each with its own set of expectations:
Pip is a destitute orphan who lives with his sister and her blacksmith husband. On Christmas, he meets an escaped criminal and thanks him for his assistance, the criminal sets him up with a hidden inheritance. One day, a lawyer appears and informs him that he will be receiving money or “high expectations,” and that he must get a different education if he wants to become a gentleman rather than a blacksmith.
The title also refers to expectations that something good or wonderful is about to happen, but it hasn’t happened yet. When a mystery benefactor bestows wealth to Pip, he arrogantly abandons his pals in and hops for his “great expectations”
Pip’s first opinion of London is that it is ugly and filthy when he arrives. Despite this, he has high hopes, and Jaggers and his clerk, Wemmick, tell him of his new living quarters. When Pip reaches the age of 21, he goes to Jaggers to learn more about his anticipated wealth and, perhaps, the name of his benefactor. Jaggers promises him a 500-pound yearly stipend till he learns who his donor is, but he refuses to say when he will learn who his benefactor is. He also informs Pip that once his donor is exposed, Jaggers’ company will come to an end, and he will not be notified.
The title also suggests to the readers’ high expectations, which Dickens relies on for his fantastic narrative twists. The title’s many levels of significance provide a fascinating reading experience. In the book, Dickens effectively depicts the expectations of other characters.
Expectations of Miss Havisham
Miss Havisham is a rich, eccentric old lady who lives near Pip’s hamlet in a mansion named Satis House. She flits about her home in a worn bridal gown, keeps a rotting feast on her table, and surrounds herself with clocks set to twenty minutes to nine. Miss Havisham was dumped by her fiancé only minutes before her wedding when she was just a young lady, and she now has a grudge against all men. Her goal is to exact vengeance on the male, therefore she decides to adopt Estella and raises her to be the instrument of her vengeance, teaching her lovely ward how to shatter men’s hearts.
Expectations of Magwitch
When Pip is a kid and Magwitch is an escaped prisoner, they meet for the first time. Magwitch never forgets Pip’s generosity in the marsh, and later in life, he spends his time and energy to acquiring money, which he then gives to Pip in an anonymous manner.
Magwitch expects Pip to be a gentleman in every sense of the word, and he has high expectations.The title’s tragic irony is that expectations are seldom high. A man is defined by his actions. A parasite and an idiot are those who expect to be provided. Pip’s view of society is reflected in the title. He hails from a poor blacksmith family and has high hopes for what he’ll be able to achieve. Pip’s “great” expectations grow less and less as the novel continues. When he meets Magwitch (as Uncle Provis), he realises how much he’d prefer be back at the forge than live up to all of his lofty aspirations for the upper crust.
Do you think the title of Dickens’ Great Expectations is appropriate? Give reasons for your answer.
The storyline of Great Expectations is also notable for demonstrating the uniqueness of Dickens’ brilliance more than any of his prior tales. Everyone must have noticed two opposing tendencies in his mind’s activity, which are harmonised in this book. His ability to accurately see objects and people is unusually broad, clear, and minute; nevertheless, his observation, sharp and true to reality as it is, is not a dominating capacity, and is challenged or controlled by his disposition’s strong inclination toward sad or comic idealisation. Perhaps these characteristics are best seen in conflict and divergence in The Old Curiosity Shop, and the outcome is a beautiful juxtaposition of romantic sensitivity, melodramatic improbabilities, and wide comedy. The comedic characterisation is overdone to the point of caricature, while the serious characterization is transformed into romantic unreality. Richard Swiveller and Little Nell are adamant about not combining their forces. In both the funny and sad sections, there is plenty of evidence of talent, yet the aesthetic impression is one of anarchy rather than coherence.
In Great Expectations, on the other hand, Dickens seems to have conquered forces that had before dominated him. He has fairly found that, like Thackeray, he cannot tell a tale as if he were just a bystander, a simple knowing spectator of what he describes and portrays; as a result, he has based his storyline and characterisation solely on observation. As we read Vanity Fair and The Newcomes, we are struck by how true the characters and events are. There are no guiding concepts or unsettling idealizations to be found. Everything comes to an end, just like it does in real life. Great Expectations demonstrates a capacity of exterior observation finer and deeper than Thackeray’s, but the overall sense is not one of objective reality due to the existence of other characteristics. The author visibly use his observations as raw material for his creative powers to work with; he does not record, but invents, and he creates something natural only within the circumstances set by his own mind. He moulds, disposes, penetrates, colours, and contrives everything, and the whole action is a sequence of occurrences that could only have happened in his head and are impossible to imagine as really occurring. Yet, in none of his other works, he demonstrates a keener understanding of actual life, as well as a clearer vision and grasp of what is referred to be the world. The book is an artistic work, not just a series of amusing and tragic events, and it shows that Dickens is still at the peak of his abilities, not on the slide.
The novel’s characters also demonstrate how thoroughly it has been considered, since, although none of them arouse the same personal interest as Sam Weller or tiny Dombey do, they are more suited to each other and the narrative in which they appear than is typical of Dickens. They all work together to create the overall impression that the work left on the mind. Individually, they will be among the author’s most unique creations. Miss Havisham, Estella, and Biddy, as well as Magwitch and Joe Gargery, Jaggers and Wemmick, Pip and Herbert, Wopsle, Pumblechook, and “the Aged,” Miss Havisham, Estella, and Biddy, must be considered positive contributions to the characters developed by Dickens’ vast and varied imagination.
Pip, the hero, is wonderfully shown throughout, and it is from his thinking that the whole portrayal gets its shape and colour. Weak, dreamy, pleasant, anxious, ambitious, ineffective, the subject and sufferer of Great Expectations, his personality is dispersed across the story. Joe is a wonderful guy with a heart that is too big for his words to convey, but whose patience, fortitude, compassion, and beneficence show brightly through his jumbled English. Magwitch whose memory was limited only to the days of his youth when he used to steal turnips to earn his living in Essex. The character is not only strong in and of itself, but it also provides all philosophical investigators into the phenomena of crime with poignant and unique suggestions. Dickens follows the rule of the great master of characterisation in this magnificent work, seeking “the spirit of kindness in things bad.”
The romance’s style is very true to reality. The author is so engaged in the things before his thoughts, so deeply in serious, that he has less of those comic expressive caprices with which he was before prone. Some of the old humour and fantasy are gone, but we can’t help but admire the effects created by his almost austere commitment to the work’s primary theme. In our thorough understanding of the things and events they communicate, we are hardly aware of his words in passages of description and narration. Although there are fewer quotable epithets and phrases than in Dombey & Son and David Copperfield, the sights and events imprinted on the mind are possibly more frequent and vividly depicted. The poetical aspect of the writer’s talent, his alteration of Nature’s shapes, colours, and sounds by seeing them through the lens of an imagined mind, is particularly apparent throughout the work’s descriptions. Not only is nature described, but it is also personalised and humanised.
Overall, we are ecstatic to be able to state that Great Expectations is a masterpiece. We’ve never understood the irrational pleasure with which certain reviewers seem to take in seeing the subtle indications of creative intellect’s decline. We empathise even less with people who find an even meaner pleasure in claiming that a popular writer’s final work is unworthy of the brilliance that created his first. Great Expectations, in our view, is a work that demonstrates that we may anticipate a series of romances from Dickens considerably surpassing in strength and creative ability the works that have already earned him such acclaim among the age’s writers.