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Great Expectations (Dover Thrift Editions) Paperback – August 1, 2001
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Dickens considered Great Expectations one of his "little pieces," and indeed, it is slim compared to such weighty novels as David Copperfield or Nicholas Nickleby. But what this cautionary tale of a young man raised high above his station by a mysterious benefactor lacks in length, it more than makes up for in its remarkable characters and compelling story. The novel begins with young orphaned Philip Pirrip--Pip--running afoul of an escaped convict in a cemetery. This terrifying personage bullies Pip into stealing food and a file for him, threatening that if he tells a soul "your heart and your liver shall be tore out, roasted and ate." The boy does as he's asked, but the convict is captured anyway, and transported to the penal colonies in Australia. Having started his novel in a cemetery, Dickens then ups the stakes and introduces his hero into the decaying household of Miss Havisham, a wealthy, half-mad woman who was jilted on her wedding day many years before and has never recovered. Pip is brought there to play with Miss Havisham's ward, Estella, a little girl who delights in tormenting Pip about his rough hands and future as a blacksmith's apprentice.
I had never thought of being ashamed of my hands before; but I began to consider them a very indifferent pair. Her contempt for me was so strong, that it became infectious, and I caught it.It is an infection that Pip never quite recovers from; as he spends more time with Miss Havisham and the tantalizing Estella, he becomes more and more discontented with his guardian, the kindhearted blacksmith, Joe, and his childhood friend Biddy. When, after several years, Pip becomes the heir of an unknown benefactor, he leaps at the chance to leave his home and friends behind to go to London and become a gentleman. But having expectations, as Pip soon learns, is a two-edged sword, and nothing is as he thought it would be. Like that other "little piece," A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations is different from the usual Dickensian fare: the story is dark, almost surreal at times, and you'll find few of the author's patented comic characters and no comic set pieces. And yet this is arguably the most compelling of Dickens's novels for, unlike David Copperfield or Martin Chuzzlewit, the reader can never be sure that things will work out for Pip. Even Dickens apparently had his doubts--he wrote two endings for this novel. --Alix Wilber --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From School Library Journal
Grade 7 Up—A young man's burning desire to fulfill his "great expectations" of fame and fortune is presented in Charles Dickens's classic tale of love, madness, forgiveness, and redemption. Simon Vance's masterful narration brings to life such diverse personalities as Miss Havisham, the old woman who was abandoned on her wedding day and is determined to wreak revenge through her beautiful adopted daughter Estella; Joe, Pip's lumbering and slow-witted, but emotionally wise and faithful friend; the mysterious Magwitch, a convict who turns out to be Pip's financial benefactor; and Pip, the boy who longs for a destiny greater than that of living out his days as a blacksmith's apprentice. The companion ebook features automatic start-up, keyword searching, PDF printable format, and table of contents. An exceptionally skilled rendering of this classic.—Cindy Lombardo, Cleveland Public Library, OH
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
As much as I really enjoyed this book, I have to say, Pip is one of the most infuriating characters I've ever had the pleasure to read. I think, throughout the novel and my college class, we've all agreed that there are many moments where we'd like to punch Pip right in the teeth. There are moments where his misfortunes gave me sadistic pleasure and miniature triumphs.
I also find it interesting that this novel has alternate endings! When Dickens originally finished the novel, a friend(?) Edward Bulwer-Lytton had convinced Dickens that his original ending was too sad! (Indeed!) Therefor, Dickens rewrote the ending and thus we have TWO possible endings to Great Expectations.
Ironically, there is a contest sponsored by the English Department at the San Jose State University inspired by Bulwer-Lytton. The goal is to write the worst opening sentence imaginable. It is known, among fans of literature and writers, that Bulwer-Lytton's greatest achievement (or most notorious), is writing the worst opening sentence of any novel ever written. "It was a dark and stormy night."
Dickens, why would you take the advice on how to finish a novel from someone who can't even start off a novel?
This is one of those scam books becoming popular that are cheap to make and sell, likely generated by programs copying text from online versions.. Do not purchase.