Great Expectations By Charles Dickens

Overview of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations

Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations is an iconic novel with a long-standing history of captivating readers for over 150 years. It tells the story of orphaned Pip, who is given great expectations for his future and embarks on a journey of self-discovery when taken in by the eccentric and wealthy Miss Havisham.

The novel follows Pip’s journey from childhood to adulthood as he faces many struggles and experiences many successes. Along the way, he meets a variety of characters including Magwitch, the enigmatic convict, and Estella, the charming young woman. As Pip moves through life, he must make difficult choices between honor or dishonor, love or hate, loyalty or betrayal.

Widely acclaimed for its complex plot and characters as well as its exploration of themes such as social class, ambition, friendship, justice and morality, Great Expectations has been adapted into various forms including movies, television series’, plays and musicals.

Its timeless themes continue to resonate with new generations of readers each year making this beloved classic one of Charles Dickens’ most enduring works.

Analysis of Themes in Great Expectations

Charles Dickens’ novel, Great Expectations , follows the narrative of an orphan boy, Pip. Throughout the novel, several themes are explored in depth, including ambition, class consciousness, and love.

Great Expectations By Charles Dickens


Pip’s ambition is a major theme throughout Great Expectations . He desires to become a gentleman and to have wealth and social status. His ambition leads him to make decisions that ultimately have negative consequences. He neglects his family and friends, including Joe Gargery and Biddy, as he strives for his dreams of becoming a gentleman.

Class Consciousness

Great Expectations also explores the theme of class consciousness. Pip is constantly aware of his lower-class background and seeks to rise above it by any means possible. This leads him to be overly-ambitious in his pursuit of wealth and social standing and he often finds himself caught between two classes – the upper class he wants to join and the lower class he was born into.


Love is another key theme in Great Expectations . Although Pip believes he has found love with Estella, it turns out to be an illusion as Estella has been manipulated by Miss Havisham into believing she should not feel love or compassion for anyone. Despite this, Pip’s true love lies with Joe Gargery who provides him with unconditional support throughout the novel.

Step 1: Read the novel

If you want to understand the complexities of Charles Dickens’ classic novel, Great Expectations, it is important to read it cover-to-cover. Pay close attention to the language used and the imagery that Dickens employs throughout the text. As you go through the book, take notes on any questions that come up or points of confusion.

Step 2: Research Contextual Information

Once you have read Great Expectations, it is important to research contextual information related to the story such as background information about Victorian England. This includes social customs, religious beliefs and economic conditions during this period. Furthermore, research into Charles Dickens’ life and works can help you understand how his life experiences influenced him and why certain elements were included in the novel.

Great Expectations By Charles Dickens

Step 3: Analyze Each Chapter

With an understanding of the context surrounding Great Expectations, begin analyzing each chapter. Think about what themes are being explored and how they are expressed in characters’ behavior and dialogue. Look for symbolism throughout each chapter – what do certain objects or characters represent? Consider how events in one chapter might foreshadow events in future chapters.

Step 4: Compare & Contrast Characters

Comparing and contrasting between different characters is a key element of understanding any work of literature. Think about how two characters might interact differently with one another or how their motivations might be different from each other. Consider what draws them together or drives them apart and how this contributes to plot development as well as their relationships with other characters.

Literary Devices Used by Dickens in Great Expectations

Charles Dickens’ novel Great Expectations is an enduring classic, renowned for its vivid characters, exciting plot, and memorable dialogue. Much of the success of this novel is due to its use of literary devices such as foreshadowing, symbolism, irony, personification, and imagery.

Foreshadowing is a key element used by Dickens in Great Expectations. It hints at events that will occur later in the story and builds suspense for readers. Symbols are also used to represent ideas or themes throughout the novel; one example being Pip’s great expectations symbolised by a golden object.

Irony plays an important role in the book as well. This literary device refers to when what actually happens is different from what was expected – such as when Pip meets Magwitch and finds out his benefactor is not a wealthy gentleman but a convict.

Personification is another device which gives human qualities to non-human things or animals. Miss Havisham’s house is described as “a wretched place with its long passages and narrow rooms,” helping readers feel empathy for her plight.

Imagery also features heavily in Great Expectations. Vivid descriptions and metaphors help readers to imagine scenes more clearly while figures of speech give life to descriptions. Together these devices make Great Expectations one of the most beloved novels of all time.

FAQ about Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Great Expectations is a classic novel written by Charles Dickens in 1861. It has been adapted for film and television many times over the years and is one of the most widely read works of literature. Here are some frequently asked questions about this classic novel.

Great Expectations By Charles Dickens

What Is Great Expectations About?

The novel follows its protagonist, Pip, as he grows from an orphaned blacksmith’s apprentice to a gentleman with great expectations. Along his journey, Pip learns valuable lessons about wealth, poverty, ambition, love, loyalty, and justice.

Who Are the Main Characters in Great Expectations?

The main characters in Great Expectations include Pip, Joe Gargery (Pip’s brother-in-law), Miss Havisham (an eccentric spinster who raises Estella), Estella (Miss Havisham’s adopted daughter whom Pip falls in love with), Jaggers (a powerful lawyer who represents Pip) and Magwitch (a convict who helps Pip out).

How Long Is Great Expectations?

Great Expectations is approximately 500 pages long in print format. This beloved Charles Dickens novel can easily be read in a few days or weeks depending on your speed of reading.

Where Does the Story Take Place?

The majority of the story takes place in London and Kent but there are also scenes set in Paris and Cairo.</p

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