“Great Expectations” is amongst the last novels written by Charles Dickens in 1861. It's also one of his most widely used creations and it has been often staged in theatres and on movie screens. The writing was written in Dickens’ “mature” years when the author critiqued the dishonest and lavish life many gentlemen of those times had light emitting diode. The story has a gripping plot, but it’s rather grey, sad, and doesn’t end joyfully for most of its characters.

Order an Essay Now & Get These
Features For Free:

Turnitin Report
Formatting
Title page
Citation
outline
Place an Order

Dickens has incorporated a lot of his or her own experiences and sorrows to the “Great Expectations” book. Initially, the writer wanted to end the novel in a tragic way, however , Dickens had for ages been wary of sad endings—his audience appreciated the happy endings much more compared to philosophical misfortunes. That’s why he didn’t dare to finish the story on a sad note, even though the entire plot was heading towards a calamity.

“Great Expectations” is really a complex literature piece and when you are challenged to read it, but still need that essay, read further for plot overview and themes or just use our "write an essay for me" service.

“Great Expectations” Summary

“Great Expectations” is really a story concerning the life of a simple little boy, who lives by way of a poor childhood and right into a rich adulthood, learning many lessons through the duration of this process. The book begins with the protagonist introducing himself:

Chapter I “My father’s family name being Pirrip, and my Christian name Philip, my infant tongue will make of both names nothing longer or even more explicit than Pip. Therefore , I called myself Pip, and had become called Pip”.

Pip is an honest and simple man, but he doesn’t find a place for himself in society. Even money and the rich gentleman’s life didn’t make him happy. Towards the end of the book, Pip will realize that his expectations and desires misled him and ruined his life: that he loved a female (Estella) who couldn’t get back his feelings, and that he was grateful to another woman (Miss Havisham) for becoming wealthy when in fact Miss Havisham did nothing for Pip and only encouraged Estella to hurt him even more. But also for now, it really is all in the distant future because the story is going to unfold.

Pip and Estella

Pip is an orphan who is raised in a dull family that includes his abusive sister, Mrs. Joe Gargery, who “had an exquisite art of making her cleanliness more uncomfortable and unacceptable than dirt itself” (Chapter IV), and her husband, Joe Gargery, the blacksmith. Joe Gargery was a good simple man who treated Pip well:

Chapter II “Joe was a reasonable man, with curls of flaxen hair on each side of his smooth face, with eyes of such a very undecided blue that they did actually have somehow got combined with their own whites. He was a mild, good-natured, sweet-tempered, easy-going, foolish, dear fellow…”.

1 day, while visiting his parents’ grave, Pip meets an escaped convict and risks his own safety to bring him food and a saw to take off the shackles.

After a few years, Pip gets invited to go to the house of Miss Havisham—also referred to as “Satis House” in the book. Miss Havisham is a wealthy and peculiar woman. Since some man robbed her and then fled on your day of their supposed marriage, she became lost, dull, and constantly unsatisfied with every thing. She continued to wear her bridal dress and preserved everything in her dilapidated home the precise way it turned out set up for the in the offing wedding. Miss Havisham invited Pip to her house because she wanted to look for a companion on her behalf foster daughter Estella.

Estella is an orphan brought up by Miss Havisham to despise and loathe all males that come near her: “Break their hearts my pride and hope, break their hearts and also have no mercy! ” (Chapter XII)—this is amongst the most famous quotes from “Great Expectations”. Estella was an attractive girl mentioned to be a lady, but her heart was cold and her morals were wicked. She humiliated Pip from the first time she was asked to play with him: “With this boy? Why, he is a typical laboring boy! ” (Chapter VIII) and it has used every opportunity from the time to demonstrate simply how much she is a lot better than him.

Pip comes to like Estella, however the more time that he spends with her, the more that he starts to hate himself – his low status, his simple clothes, his blacksmithing apprenticeship that made his face dirty and his hands coarse (and was payed for by Miss Havisham). From the time that he met Estella, for Pip great expectations were to be always a gentleman and become admired by this polished girl and her mother. One day Pip finds out that somebody has hit his sister so difficult that her brain gets badly damaged. Next to the area where she was attacked, people found broken shackles. Later, yet another orphan, Biddy, comes to live with Pip to take care of Mrs. Joe. Pip describes Biddy as an extremely ordinary girl:

Chapter VII “… her hair always wanted brushing, her hands always wanted washing, and her shoes always wanted mending and pulling up at heel”.

Perhaps one of the most exciting items that happen in the summary of “Great Expectations” is when a well-known attorney from London, Mr. Jaggers, tells Pip he has inherited a fortune and his life will change forever. Mr. Jaggers is a typical lawyer – he is stubborn, rich, arrogant, and shady. He will not, surprisingly, reveal who the generous person to provide Pip with this fortune is:

Chapter XVIII “... you are to know, secondly, Mr. Pip, that the name of the one who is your liberal benefactor remains a profound secret, before the person chooses to reveal it”.

Pip, also shocked, does not even want to guess, as that he already accocunts for his mind about the origin of the inheritance:

Chapter XVIII “My dream was out; my wild fancy was surpassed by sober reality; Miss Havisham would make my fortune on a grand scale”.

Pip is warned not to attempt to guess or find out who his benefactor is—such was the condition of acquiring the inheritance.

Pip is happy: he remains convinced that his secret benefactor is Miss Havisham, which that he interprets to mean that she's likely preparing him to become a suitable husband for Estella. The boy gets new fancy clothes, people begin to treat him differently, that he moves to London, where he shares an apartment with Herbert Pocket, Bentley Drummle, and Startop, and that he takes classes to become a real gentleman. Pip makes quick progress and is soon able to behave just like other high-class people. While connecting with prestigious British society, Pip grows more and more ashamed of his past. The boy earnestly tries to prevent Joe when he concerns visit, nevertheless when the news of his sister's death comes, Pip visits her funeral and begins to have a pity party for being so distant with Joe and Biddy. Pip continues to pay time with Estella once they are both in London; he loves her, nevertheless the only feeling she exhibits towards him is contempt and cruelty. After a while, Estella develops a relationship with Pip’s friend Bentley Drummle (which was more of a relationship with his money and status, to be precise), and so they get married.

At exactly the same time, an encounter from days gone by re-introduces it self – the convict Pip met in the graveyard years ago whose name is Abel Magwitch. It turns out Magwitch was the trick benefactor that made Pip rich – after the incident in the graveyard he previously escaped to Australia, made a fortune there, and asked Jaggers to deal with the boy as an indicator of gratitude. Magwitch is really a complex character who had gotten in to trouble due to bad company and then got set up by way of a cunning companion of his. His character exemplifies how inhumane laws and unjust rules set by a cynic society, result in the gradual degradation of a man. Magwitch tells Pip that he has been followed by yet another convict, his ex-partner, Compeyson, who was notorious for many illegal deals:

Chapter XLII “… he’d gone to a public boarding-school and had learning. He was a smooth one to talk, and was a dab at the ways of gentlefolks. He was good-looking too”.

By listening to his life story, the reader understands that Magwitch is the real father of Estella (her mother is Mr. Jaggers’ housekeeper), and Compeyson may be the man who fooled Miss Havisham so many years ago.

Pip develops an agenda to help Magwitch escape the nation and Compeyson drowns in the search for trying to catch Magwitch. Magwitch gets hurt and gets caught. Then he gets provided for prison where he dies from his wounds. Pip had stopped taking Magwitch’s money sometime ago, now it has all visited the benefit of their state anyway. Pip has accumulated debt and gets in some trouble for being not able to repay it. When Pip’s health declines, Joe concerns take care of him and even takes care of his debts. After recovering, Pip joins his friend Herbert, and Herbert’s wife Clara, to work at the Clarriner’s office in Cairo (Egypt)—Pip was the one to secure Herbert a position with the company when he had money.

Abel Magwitch got caught

After being away for 11 years, Pip comes back and visits Joe. Joe had married Biddy and they had even named their son after Pip:

Chapter LIX “We giv’ him the name of Pip for your sake, dear old chap… and we hoped he might grow a little bit as if you, and we think that he do”.

Travelling the remains of the Satis House, Pip meets widowed Estella and both head off to a fresh start…

Great Expectations Themes and Motives

Social class is really a very important determinant of one’s position in the book. Both Estella and Pip were orphans, but the girl was raised to praise her status and humiliate everybody who didn’t share the same status as her. Estella is really a victim of class inequality, she is taught to despise people and also things:

Chapter VII “I played the overall game to a finish with Estella, and she beggared me. She threw the cards down up for grabs when she had won them all, as though she despised them for having been won of me”.

At exactly the same time, the writer shows how some people were doomed to call home and die in lower-class life, that they had no possiblity to make it up the social ladder because others could not accept them:

Chapter IV “In his working-clothes, Joe was a well-knit characteristic-looking blacksmith; in his holiday clothes, he was more like a scarecrow in good circumstances, than such a thing else”.

Ambition and self-improvement: Charles Dickens makes fun of the shallow ambitions people often have, that will be seen in the characters in “Great Expectations” – they have been ordinary, and lots of of them are poor financially and/or emotionally. Pip’s biggest desire will be a gentleman and that he doesn’t appreciate himself as a result of where that he came from:

Chapter VIII “I was a typical laboring-boy; that my hands were coarse; that my boots were thick; that I had fallen in to a despicable habit of calling knaves Jacks; that I was a whole lot more ignorant than I had considered myself last night, and generally that I was in a low-lived bad way”.

The young boy doesn’t shoot for real self-improvement, he really wants to have the image, the looks, and the respect—all of the superficial things.

Integrity and reputation: Being honest and sincere wasn’t worth much in those times. The characters were doing most of the wrong things, but no one stopped them. For example , Miss Havisham gladly accepts Pip’s gratitude although she knows she isn’t the benefactor who payed for his lavish life in London. She later admits that she pretended to be the one that gave Pip money simply to irritate her family.

Parents in the book are only empty vessels – they truly are absent from the lives of most characters, and those who assume parental duties usually do not perform them well. For instance: “My sister… had established a great reputation with herself and the neighbors because she had brought me up “by hand” (Chapter II). Parents were likely to put Pip in school, teach him to respect himself, and value the others, but no body was there to take care of him. Taking into account that Dickens wrote many children’s stories, you'll assume that in “Great Expectations”, the writer would make an effort to discover the roots and factors behind many childhood miseries and broken kids’ lives.

Justice just isn't evident, but an important theme in this book. What exactly is “Great Expectations about? – It’s simply about getting what one deserves. The plot is unfair, that’s true. Nevertheless the characters’ wishes and actions are also quite shallow and unjust. Ultimately, each of them has got the opportunity to turn their life around, but choose to behave the way society expects them to.

Generosity: Pip didn’t experience much kindness or generosity in his life. The only real person who treated him with respect was his sister’s husband Joe Gargery, whom he later starts in order to avoid once Pip becomes a gentleman. Magwitch makes Pip a gentleman to repay the “generosity” the boy demonstrated out of mere fear for his life; and Pip does not even appreciate Magwitch’s generosity. The boy really enjoyed the thought that Miss Havisham believed in him and sponsored him to become a gentleman. So when the young man realizes that she hadn’t actually invested in his education, and therefore didn’t arrange for Estella to marry him, Pip panics:

Chapter XXXIX “Miss Havisham’s intentions towards me, all only dream; Estella not created for me; I only suffered in Satis House as a convenience, a sting for the greedy relations, a model with a mechanical heart to practise on when no other practice was at hand”.

His whole world becomes broken, he feels humiliated, and decides to flee abroad.

Need Help with Essay on Great Expectations?

Charles Dickens “Great Expectations” is very a complex book; it's a real challenge to read, even for a devoted literature lover. If you should be a student who needs help making sense of the thing that was going on in the book, our essay writer service EssayPro can help you! Just tell us what part of this text you are tasked with analysing, and we will ensure you ace it.

Get Started