Great Expectations Essay

3499 WordsMay 28, 201314 Pages
Great Expectations is Charles Dickens's thirteenth novel. It is the second novel, after David Copperfield, to be fully narrated in the first person. Great Expectations is a bildungsroman, or a coming-of-age novel, and the story genre is Victorian Literature. It depicts the growth and personal development of an orphan named Pip. The novel was first published in serial form in Dickens' weekly periodical All the Year Round, from 1 December 1860 to August 1861. In October 1861, Chapman and Hall published the novel in three volumes. Great Expectations was to be twice as long, but constraints imposed by the management of All the Year Round limited the novel's length. Collected and dense, with a conciseness unusual for Dickens, the novel represents Dickens' peak and maturity as an author. According to G. K. Chesterton, Dickens penned Great Expectations in "the afternoon of life and fame." It was the penultimate novel Dickens completed, preceding Our Mutual Friend. It is set among the marshes of Kent and in London in the early to mid-1800s. Great Expectations is a graphic book, full of extreme imagery, poverty, prison ships, "the hulks," barriers and chains, and fights to the death. while George Bernard Shaw praised the novel as "All of one piece and Consistently truthfull." Dickens felt Great Expectations was his best work, calling it "a very fine idea," and was very sensitive to compliments from his friends: "Bulwer, who has been, as I think you know, extraordinarily taken by the book." Great Expectations has a colourful cast that has remained in popular culture: the capricious Miss Havisham, the cold and beautiful Estella, Joe the kind and generous blacksmith, the dry and sycophantic Uncle Pumblechook, Mr Jaggers, Wemmick and his dual personality, and the eloquent and wise friend, Herbert Pocket. Throughout the narrative, typical Dickensian themes emerge: wealth and

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