An absorbing mystery as well as a morality tale, the story of Pip, a poor village lad, and his expectations of wealth is Dickens at his most deliciously readable. The cast of characters includes kindly Joe Gargery, the loyal convict Abel Magwitch and the haunting Miss Havisham. If you have heartstrings, count on them being tugged
Neatorama: 8 Odd Facts About Charles Dickens
Goodreads: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Wikipedia: Charles Dickens and Wikipedia: Great Expectations
Let's set the scene...
I know, I know... we're still sitting in Rory's first class at Chilton. Just a few more books and the bell will FINALLY ring, I promise!
Teacher: Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities, Little Dorrit, all major influences on Leo Tolstoy. Tomorrow we will focus on. . .
First of all, if I ever lose my mind and have kids, my firstborn will be named Pip. Because, let's face it, that's a rockin' name (ALMOST as good as naming a dog Paul Anka)!
Secondly, Although I can see why this is usually seen as Dickens' best work... so far, David Copperfield ismy favorite. But this was definitely a close second. As always, it is amazing to me that a single author can write characters that range from insensibly cruel to completely pure of heart. And then he throws those polar opposites into a closet-sized room together to see what hilarity will ensue.
Although David Copperfield is currently my favorite Dickens (we'll see what happens as we still quite a bit of Charlie Boy's work to get through!), I believe that Great Expectations was a perfect showcase for Charles Dickens' renowned sarcasm and humor. He was...let's just say it... a bitch. And I love that about him. His biting, acerbic wit and ability to instill humor into the everyday life of his characters are his trademarks, and I now realize why Great Expectations is the book that teachers usually turn to when first exposing their students to Charles Dickens. This book is a perfect example of why his stories and characters have stood the test of time. However, MY high school literature teacher apparently never received that memo.
In the end, Great Expectations is a tale about how the goodness of a man is based on the quality of man he, in turn, creates. On his deathbed, Provis "pondered over the question whether he might have been a better man under better circumstances". Although he had given up on himself long ago, he spent his life on the project of creating one true, good gentleman. That unselfish deed turned Provis into the man of integrity and good moral character that he had wished for Pip. In the end, Provis is the gentleman he THOUGHT he saw in Pip. And seeing Provis' values and morality, Pip is inspired to become the man Provis believed him to be. Ultimately, his life's work was accomplished.
Who do I see reading this in the Stars Hollow gazebo?
Paris is hard. Paris is tough. But Paris is a good person with a great capacity to love others. I believe that she would enjoy the lesson in Great Expectations and would thoroughly appreciate our boy Dickens and his sarcasm-as-an-artform personality.