Great Expectations

    George Orwell **George Orwell, aka, Eric Arthur Blair, (1903, - Bengal, India, - 1950, London, England)** English novelist, essayist, and critic, famous for his novels Animal Farm (1945) and Nineteen Eighty-four (1949), the latter a profound anti-utopian novel that examines the dangers of totalitarian rule. (Britannica) Orwell attempted a renunciation of his privileged schooling by slumming it in Paris and London, going underground with the miners in northern England and in fighting with the socialists in the Spanish Civil War.

    Belonging in Great Expectations # Great Expectations is a novel about misfits who find it difficult to adjust and conform to an heirarchical society full of false values. Miss Havisham - One of the literary world’s most eccentric creations has gone into self-imposed reclusion because she was jilted by Compeyson. Estella’s upbringing has inured her from developing warm relations with anyone, while anyone in the cut-throat world of business or criminal world is too much into self-serving to care for other people.

    Introduction to Great Expectations # Charles John Huffam Dickens (February 7, 1812 – June 9, 1870), pen-name “Boz”, was a popular English novelist of the Victorian era, 1838 – 1901. Great Expectations is considered one of his best novels and thought to be autobiographical. It was written in serial form which was popular with commuters traveling to work on trains. Dickens shared the belief of all leading Victorian reformers that more and better education was requisite if the lower classes were to be helped to better their condition.

    Characters in Great Expectations # ** ** We must remember that character creation is a construct; an artefact and central ones do not necessarily represent the author. Characters are either portrayed sympathetically or unsympathetically. The former are called protagonists, heroes or good guys while the latter are antagonists, villains or bad guys. Sometimes main characters are picaresque – likeable but harmless rogues, larrikins or scoundrels –“loveable rogues”. Martin Amis points out that over two millennia humans first told stories of Gods, then Kings, then Epic Heroes, then ordinary people , then anti-heroes, then villains, then demons and finally themselves.

    Great Expectations- Context and Background: # Charles John Huffam Dickens (February 7, 1812 – June 9, 1870), pen-name “Boz”, was a popular English novelist of the Victorian era, 1838 – 1901. The Victorian Era was the final phase of the evolution from feudalism to capitalism in England. As in any transitional phase, there are winners and losers. Generally the losers are those who are oblivious to or resist change. However, a large number of the losers are those in no position to capitalise on new opportunity: children and the poor, uneducated, unskilled, desperate and landless peasants thrown off their property following the enclosure act to make way for the demands of the Industrial Revolution.

    \* * Summary of Great Expectations Volume 1 (Chapters 1 -19) # Phillip Pirrup (Pip) is an orphan, and an only remaining child. He is being brought up by his sister, a blacksmith’s wife. He lives in the marsh country near the Thames, twenty miles off the sea. One day, in the graveyard, visiting the graves of his parents and brothers, he is come upon by an escaped convict.

    Techniques - Great Expectations: # Dickens adopts a picaresque mode to make the novel more acceptable to the general population. Narrative perspective: # The mastery of the “I” narrative is sustained in one key though there is a progression in Pip’s consciousness as he grows older. The other perspectives are the author’s minimalistic intrusions and Pip’s older and wiser reflections. The use of the first person narrative gives the novel an authenticity and realism which is reinforced by the dialogue and the descriptions of the characters.