The Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations

Last Updated: 13 Mar 2020
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The Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, a novel released in 1861 about social criticism, is a story of a young boy named Pip who was in struggle to find his fortune or to be successful rather than to be confined on being a common man of his time. The novel was set in the mid-nineteenth century and took place in the town of Kent and London, England. Using the first person point of view, Pip, the protagonist in the novel talked about his childhood in the first few chapters of the book, describing his life, the first encounter with the convict who will soon changed his fortune in the following chapters.

He also mentioned the development of his fascination and later on love for Estella, who was trained to break a man’s heart. Unlike the traditional the traditional novels and story structure, the novel of Dickens does not contain a particular antagonist, rather, he visualized some people who will affect the existence of Pip. He made several characters who took charge of the antagonism in the novel in the person of Magwitch, Estella, Orlick, Miss Havisham, Compeyson and Bentley Drummle. They will cause some of Pip’s misfortune and struggles.

Magwitch, Miss Havisham and Estella, in the end of the novel redeemed themselves and reconciled with Pip (Dickens, n. pag). The novel housed many symbols which were explained through the actions of the characters. The clocks which were stopped in the house of Miss Havisham symbolize her attempt to stop time while the other objects like handcuffs, convicts, file and chains stands for guilt and innocence. Joe, the husband of Pip’s sister is the conscience and loyalty. These symbols helped the protagonist to further develop his character (Philips & Cheng, n.pag).

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In mixed tones of cheerfulness, dramatic and sympathetic storytelling, Pip showed what his life was all about, what happened to him and what happened to his desire of being trained as a gentleman in the world wherein common people weren’t enough to be respected and treated fairly. Although the novel talked about several crimes and dealt with such criminality, these made Pip a person of much desire. The novel ended when they failed to help Magwitch escape from being imprisoned, following his death.

Miss Havisham was redeemed in the end while Estella and Pip were reconciled with each other. Pip had reconciliation with Joe also and the story ended with Pip and Estella walked hand in hand and promised never to part again (Dickens, n. pag). It is quite interesting that Charles Dickens’ worked on two endings for this novel. The natural writer have a fix idea or story in mind thus, any criticism will not prevent him from publishing what he does like. In this case, Charles Dickens was influenced by what the people might think of the novel.

Instead of giving the readers a tragic and sad ending, he ventured into following the suggestion of his good friend Edward Bulwer to give a happy ending so that he people will be happy with what happened between the characters. While his critics thought that the ending published was less of reality, the people who embraced the happy ending the original ending was too harsh and thought that their past is actually a bridge for them to be together in the end of the novel. They pointed out that their experiences would lead them into mutual development and soon will help both to realize that they were in love with each other (Philips & Cheng, n.pag).

The second ending were Estella and Pip reconciled and walked away holding hands was the one published because of Dickens’ desire to somehow please his readers while the original ending was left hanging and was not used to justify the ending of the story. Like the critics of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, I go in favor with them that the ending used was not appropriate and that it does depict reality. It is quite impossible that after what happened between him and Estella, he would remain to love her despite of her being that girl who broke his heart.

The original ending is far more considerate and realistic in the sense that in life, it is quite impossible to retain the love you feel for the person after going through so many troubles somehow caused by the same person. Also, the difference in their status and the way they were raised is a very big factor why they should not be brought back together. The way that Estella judged Pip because of his status and the fact that he is just a common person, is enough evidence that the two will not be compatible with one another.

In the end, their reunion and reconciliation with each other did not give a better look of reality and it also did not simply give a better justification with the fallen expectations which Pip had. The ending also foreshadowed the main idea of having a fair and equal ending. It also shows that those people who have hurt us can be given a chance to hurt us more for the second time. Although I don’t really criticize the ending of the novel, I would just want to give an opinion regarding the reality that the book should have.

Although it was an autobiography fiction, it should still have a touch of reality in it so that it will be more convincing. Analyzing the background of both Pip and Estella, there was really no hint that the latter will fall in love with the former and that their common pasts of being deceive and fooled does not justify the reason that they became compatible with it. In the end, whether it was a bad ending or a favored ending, the novel brought realization and many teachings to the readers thus, it opens the mind of a person and it somehow touches the heart of someone who gives too much attention of their life expectations.

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The Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations. (2016, Aug 24). Retrieved from

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