Great expectations

Essay by leap72 April 2004

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Charles Dickens has left the revised ending of Great Expectations open to interpretation by the individual reader. In contrast to the original ending the reader is able to respond to the novel and decide for themselves the fate of Pip and Estella. Both characters have endured and struggled against cruelty and shame. They have also bestowed on others the same heartlessness. These dejections provided lessons which could be learnt from. The novels ending has brought Pip and Estella full circle back to the place of their first encounter. This scene shows the reader how both characters have emerged to make their own decisions about their future. No longer the puppets of others Pip and Estella are able to create new expectations built from past experiences.

Great Expectations is a coming of age story. The narrative follows Pips moral development from a young boy to a young man. We see how his encounters with different acquaintances have contributed to the shaping of his identity.

The narrative also gives us insight into Estella and how her identity was shaped under the control of her adopted mother Miss Havisham. It is Pip's association with Miss Havisham and Estella that leads him to his dissatisfaction with what he later realises to be a near perfect existence.

In the first volume of the novel we are introduced to Pip the orphan boy, brought up by his wicked sister and her kind loving husband Joe, the village blacksmith. His sister treats him very badly and makes him feel guilty for being a burden on her, 'I was always treated as if I had insisted on being born...' (It is through his guilt that he can be manipulated into doing anything necessary to please her. His sister sent him off to Miss Havisham's to be...