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The novel, Great Expectations, presents the story of a young boy growing up and becoming a
gentleman. He must learn to appreciate people for who they are, not shun them for who they aren’t.
Nicknamed Pip, Philip Pirrip, the main character, goes through many changes in his personality, as he is
influenced by various people. Pip experiences tough times as a boy and a young man, but at the end he has
become a fine, morale young man.
In the beginning, Pip, an orphan, considers himself to be a common laboring boy, but he has a
desire to improve his station in life. He is raised by his sister, and her husband, Joe Gargery. Then Pip
meets Estella, the adopted daughter of Miss Havisham, an old lady who is bitter and eccentric. Estella
taunts Pip and is very cruel to him, but he still falls in love with her. Miss Havisham is teaching Estella to
hurt men, because she herself was deserted by her fiancé on her wedding day. One day, Mr. Jaggers, a
lawyer, reveals to Pip, that there are “Great Expectations” for Pip. He is given the money to become a
gentleman and receive a good education; he assumes that his benefactor is Miss Havisham. In London, Pip
makes many new, high-society friends. When Joe Gargery comes to visit Pip in his new way of life, Pip is
ashamed of Joe, because he is a commoner. At this time, Pip is around twenty years old. Estella is still the
center of his attractions. When she comes!
to London, he meets her, but she tries to warn Pip to stay away from her because she might hurt his
feelings. She is being kind to him in the only way that she knows how. Around the same time, Pip
receives a letter telling him that Mrs. Joe Gargery had died.
A man from Pip’s past steps out, an ex-convict, named Magwitch, who he had fed many years
ago; this man is his true benefactor. Pip finally knows the truth about this man. Magwitch is Estella’s
father, and Mr. Jagger’s housekeeper is Estella’s mother. A short time later, Estella is wed to Bentley
Drummle, but she is very unhappy. Pip falls ill, and Joe comes to take care of him. While he is being
nursed back to health, Pip starts to appreciate Joe and begins to look past the fact that he is “common.” He
receives the news that Miss Havisham is dead. Pip visits Joe’s home and is told that Joe and Biddy, Pip’s
friend, are married. Pip then returns to London and continues his life for eleven more years. Pip finally
goes back to Joe’s house, to find that Joe and Biddy have a son, and they have named him Pip. During that
last visit, he returns to Miss Havisham’s old run-down home. There he meets Estella, grown into a woman,
her husband dead. There, Estella asks Pip to for!
give her, he does, and all is well. So the story ends, with grown Pip and a changed Estella both at peace
with each other.
In conclusion, I thought that this was a very well written book. It took me a while to get into it
and understand the plot, but now I see that Dickens wrote Great Expectations with a very complex plot and
well described characters. From Joe Gargery to Miss Havisham, I really got to know the characters as if
they were people. I would describe this book as a delightful story with a sprinkle of mystery and a handful
of romance, with a pinch of fun all mixed in.
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