Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Great expectations, Charles Dickens

My Dutch version of the novel
Little Pip grows up in the household of his sister who is married to Joe Gargery, the smith. He does not have a happy childhood and the only goodness comes from Joe, who is a kind man who does his best for Pip.
The forge is near a moor where escaped prisoners sometimes end up and Pip has a frightening encounter with one of those criminals on the loose.

Rich and reclused mrs. Havesham asks if Pip can come to her house every now and then, to entertain her and to play with her ward, Estella. In this house and in the dealings with Estella and Mrs. Havesham Pip realizes how common he is. He longs to better himself to become a gentleman and to be worthy of Estella.

His chance comes when solicitor Mr. Jaggers comes to inform him that he has a benefactor who wished Pip will go to London and become a gentleman. The only thing is that Pip cannot know who his benefactor is.

Without any hesitation Pip leaves the forge and goes to London. He does not really live up to the Great Expectations, even though he learns how to behave like a gentleman, mostly he wastes his time and money on nothing. Because he is ashamed of where he came from, he doesn’t keep in touch with Joe. He thinks mrs. Havisham might be his benefactor, so he can become a worthy husband for Estella. Mrs. Havisham has different plans for Estella and when Pip finally finds out who his benefactor is, he realizes the mistakes he made.

Charles Dickens wrote Great expectations in 1860 as a newspaper serial. When it came out, the critics were not that positive about the story, but the opinion has changed and now most people see this as one of Dicken’s best novels.

I have some sort of a Dickens-blockade, I never managed to finish a Dickens novel before. With Great expectations I had no difficulty whatsoever to read it and finish it. I loved it. (which is a good thing, since I read this for my bookclub)

I enjoyed his style of writing, the way he can describe a person in just a few sentences or just a few actions. He is also a master at making the poignant funny and the funny poingnant.
Pip’s childhood it terrible, but some descriptions make you chuckle out loud. Also the clerk at the sollicitor’s office who made a real castle from his home (complete with drawbridge) was an amazing and great character.

Other scenes are moving, like the one where Pip stand by his benefactor at his deathbed and the scenes where Joe explains that he does not blame Pip for his actions because Joe blames himself so very much for not protecting Pip better against the abuse from his sister.

Dickens wrote two separate endings, and I liked the one better that made everything alright, since I wanted Pip to have his happy ending.

Originally published in 1860

6 comments:

  1. This is the Dickens novel that I just can't make myself finish! I don't hate Dickens; I just don't like him very much. I guess he's just not my favorite author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is a shame, but of course we cannot all be great fans. I am not a great fan yet, I really enjoyed this book, and I will read another book by him, but not very soon.

      Kind regards,

      Delete
  2. I recently attempted to read a Dickens novel, Oliver Twist, but I was unable to finish it. I'm keen to return to it one day. Along with Oliver Twist on my unread shelf I have Great Expectations too. It sounds like a great read and I'm keen to delve in to it but I feel Dickens is better off as a autumn/winter read for me.
    I believe you're taking part in the book to movie challenge - have you seen any of the film adaptations of Great Expectations?
    :-)
    Bits & Bobs

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was indeed very wintery, but it was for my bookclub, so I had no choice!
      I did not see the film, so I could not use this one for the book to movie challenge. Did you see it?

      Kind regards,

      Delete
    2. I haven't seen any of the film version but I have seen the most recent on my Netflix, I'm going to wait until I've read the book to watch the film though.

      :-)

      Delete
    3. The movie is on my 'to watch list', so I think somewhere in the future I will watch it as well!

      Kind regards,

      Delete

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