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Great Expectations (Penguin Classics) Paperback – December 31, 2002
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"No story in the first person was ever better told."
About the Author
Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812, in Landport, Portsea, England. He died in Kent on June 9, 1870. The second of eight children of a family continually plagued by debt, the young Dickens came to know not only hunger and privation,but also the horror of the infamous debtors’ prison and the evils of child labor. A turn of fortune in the shape of a legacy brought release from the nightmare of prison and “slave” factories and afforded Dickens the opportunity of two years’ formal schooling at Wellington House Academy. He worked as an attorney’s clerk and newspaper reporter until his Sketches by Boz (1836) and The Pickwick Papers (1837) brought him the amazing and instant success that was to be his for the remainder of his life. In later years, the pressure of serial writing, editorial duties, lectures, and social commitments led to his separation from Catherine Hogarth after twenty-three years of marriage. It also hastened his death at the age of fifty-eight, when he was characteristically engaged in a multitude of work.
David Trotter is Quain Professor of English Language and Literature and Head of Department at University College London.
Charlotte Mitchell is Lecturer in English at University College London.
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Sydney Carton is of course my favorite character,hands down. His transformation from the wine-addicted depressed young man to the noble savior is beautifully depicted, especially the eye-smarting speech he gave,or would've given according to Dickens, at the end. At last I can read A Little Princess and know what the Bastille is. At last I understand why the following words are some of the greatest in English literature:
" It is a far,far better thing that I do, than I have ever done;it is a far,far better rest that I go to,than I have ever known."
Dickens presents a world gone mad. There is no justice for the poor. They are abused and ill-treated by the aristocracy. When they finally have their revenge, they are like wild animals, and are completely consumed with their lust for blood.
In the midst of all this is a family that just wants to survive, and a man who is secretly in love. He pledges that he would do anything to see his love happy, and in the end, keeps his promise.
This is a beautiful story about the power of love, redemption, and the human spirit. Every word and every action has meaning. This is not a novel to be rushed; it is one to be savored and cherished.
English in college. It is a slightly difficult read for a 21st century reader, but not at all too difficult to understand and enjoy. It is largely a story about the unbelievable excesses of the French Revolution, told through the eyes of two French families and two English families. I am very glad I read it. Dickens' use of the English language is superb and unusual. His ability to keep the reader on the edge of his seat in suspense as to the final outcome is as good as any modern mystery writer. I heartily recommend it.
Much of the story is sad, and there are some parts that are downright heart-breaking. However, the recurring idea of this story is hope. Hope that lives through innocence. Oliver is faced with some horrifying circumstances, and all throughout, he maintains his innocence and good heart. In the end, his purity shines through and is ultimately rewarded.
This book looses a star because it seemed like Dickens would go off on tangents that had nothing to do with the main story. After a while, it would become distracting. This book lacked the concise story-telling of some of his other works.
It now seems in vogue to have the avenging hero, who makes everything better. This book shows what true vengeance looks like and it's not as sweet as the movies make it out to be. Do they ever talk about the innocent people killed while the hero's fight destroys the city to kill one bad guy. Hate destroys, but nothing is made better by it. Unselfishness and lawful justice can truly make a better world. This story has sacrifice, but there was no true justice just hate.