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Great Expectations [Norton Critical Edition]…

Great Expectations [Norton Critical Edition]

by Charles Dickens

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Great Expectations depicts the differences between the classes, and how money can corrupt. The novel makes clear that money cannot buy love, nor does it guarantee happiness. One of the happiest--and most morally correct--people in the novel is Joe, Pip's sister's husband. And, Miss Haversham is one of the richest (as well as the most unhappy and loneliest). Pip believes that if he can be a gentleman, he will have everything he wants from the world. His world collapses and he realizes that all his money has been based on Magwitch's dishonest earnings. And, Pip finally understands the true value of life. Great Expectations features some of Dickens's greatest characters and one of his trademark convoluted plots. The novel is a fantastic read, and a wonderful morality tale. Full of romance, courageousness and hope--Great Expectations is a brilliant evocation of a time and place. Here's a view of the English class system that is both critical and realistic.
  MSzuflita | Apr 21, 2013 |
Part of my enjoyment in re-reading books is that, often, I haven’t read them in many years and it’s like opening them for the first time. So it was with Great Expectations, a book I first read as an assignment at age 13. All I remembered was that I had loved it, that Miss Havisham had in her house a molding cake with mice and bugs running through it, and that it was about a boy named Pip who loved a snotty girl named Estella.

What I had totally forgotten is that it’s a book which is at turns funny, exciting, touching, and always, always beautifully written. My memory was excised of the faithful Joe, the nasty Mrs. Joe, the ridiculous Mr. Pumblechook, the stalwart Biddy, the awful Compeyson and Orelick, and the wonderful Abel Magwich.

Others will tell you the plot. I tell you not to miss this incredible book filled with depth, rich characters, important lessons about life, and loads of fun. ( )
  whymaggiemay | Jan 23, 2012 |
I read Great Expectations for my book group. I listened to the audio book and then read the book off and on. I really enjoyed all of the characters, the contrast they had to one another and the plot twists. Someone mentioned at our book group that this was Dickens' best novel, I haven't read enough to know for sure but it was very good.
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  Cailin | Sep 30, 2011 |
Of the authors I’ve read, Dickens is tops in blending seamless plotting, characters who are both complex and consistent, a gradual and steady building of tension with new questions and complications. He writes melodrama in the tradition of Shakespeare, and just as deftly, and often draws people in ways that approach caricature but don’t quite get there. My only problem with Dickens is that I can’t decide whether Great Expectations or A Tale of Two Cities is my favorite.
  kenkuhlken | Feb 15, 2010 |
A classic from Charles Dickens. All of the characters are so well developed that the reader cannot help but drawn into their individual plots. From Pip, the blacksmith apprentice turned gentleman in the making (and the hero of our story) to Miss Havisham, a wealthy woman locked away in self-induced seclusion. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Feb 27, 2008 |
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Do Not Combine: This is a "Norton Critical Edition", it is a unique work with significant added material, including essays and background materials. Do not combine with other editions of the work. Please maintain the phrase "Norton Critical Edition" in the Canonical Title and Publisher Series fields.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0393960692, Paperback)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:41 -0400)

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Presents a critical edition of Dickens's story of a poor orphan boy educated as a gentleman in Victorian England, with textual notes, essays on the context of the novel, and critical readings of the work, its characters, and its significance.

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