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Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Book Review: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Book Review: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens (1812-1870) was a British novelist who created 14 novels, many novels, short stories and essays, travel notes, dramas, and sketches in his life.

"Great Expectations" (also known as "Blood and Tears") is one of Dickens's most mature works, and it is his relatively late work. 

After Dickens experienced a rich life in the world, he has a deep understanding of people, the surrounding environment, and his own life experience, and all his mature thoughts and understandings are summarized in the book "Great Expectations".

"Great Expectations" is a classic novel that explores complex themes such as social class, identity, love, guilt, and redemption through the story of Pip, a young orphan who desires to become a gentleman and struggles with conflicting desires and loyalty to his humble beginnings.

The novel is skillfully written with a varied sentence structure and rich vocabulary but can present challenges for readers.

It features several strong female characters challenging traditional gender roles and critiques the rigid social hierarchy of Victorian society.

True happiness and fulfillment cannot be found through material wealth or status but must come from within.

The novel is typically studied in high school or college and takes around 12-15 hours to read.

It draws heavily on Dickens's own experiences growing up poor and exploring themes and concerns that dominated his life and work.

Book Description

An unknown benefactor provides Philip Pirrip with the chance to escape his poor upbringing. Aspiring to be a gentleman, and encouraged by his expectations of wealth, he abandons his friends and moves to London. His expectations prove to be unfounded, however, and he must return home penniless.


About the Author: Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812, in Portsmouth, England, where his father was a naval pay clerk. When he was five the family moved to Chatham, near Rochester, another port town. 

He received some education at a small private school but this was curtailed when his father's fortunes declined. 

More significant was his childhood reading, which he evoked in memory of his father's library: 'From that blessed little room, Roderick Random, Peregrine Pickle, Humphrey Clinker, Tom Jones, The Vicar Wakefield, Don Quixote, Gil Blas, and Robinson Crusoe came out, a glorious host, to keep me company. They kept alive my fancy, and my hope of something beyond that place and time.'

When Dickens was ten the family moved to Camden Town, and this proved the beginning of a long, difficult period. (He wrote later of his coach journey, alone, to join his family at the new lodgings: 'I consumed my sandwiches in solitude and dreariness, and it rained hard all the way, and I thought life sloppier than I had expected to find it.') 

When he had just turned twelve Dickens was sent to work for a manufacturer of boot blacking, where for the better part of a year he labored for ten hours a day, an unhappy experience that instilled him with a sense of having been abandoned by his family: 'No advice, no counsel, no encouragement, no consolidation, no support from anyone that I can call to mind, so help me God!' 

Around the same time, Dickens's father was jailed for debt in the Marshalsea Prison, where he remained for fourteen weeks. 

After some additional schooling, Dickens worked as a clerk in a law office and taught himself shorthand; this qualified him to begin working in 1831 as a reporter in the House of Commons, where he was known for the speed with which he took down speeches.

By 1833 Dickens was publishing humorous sketches of London life in the Monthly Magazine, which were collected in book form as Sketches by 'Boz' (1836). 

These were followed by the publication in installments of the comic adventures that became The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club (1837), whose unprecedented popularity made the twenty-five-year-old author a national figure. In 1836 he married Catherine Hogarth, who would bear him ten children over a period of fifteen years. 

Dickens's energies enabled him to lead an active family and social life, including an indulgence in elaborate amateur theatricals while maintaining a literary productiveness of astonishing proportions. 

He characteristically wrote his novels for serial publication and was himself the editor of many of the periodicals—Bentley, The New'sHousehold Words, All the Year Round—in which they appeared. 

Among his close associates were his future biographer John Forster and the younger Wilkie Collins, with whom he collaborated on fictional and dramatic works. 

In rapid succession he published Oliver Twist (1838), Nicholas Nickleby (1839), The Old Curiosity Shop (1841), and Barnaby Rudge (1841), sometimes working on several novels simultaneously.

Dickens's celebrity led to a tour of the United States in 1842. There he met Longfellow, Irving, Bryant, and other literary figures, and was received with an enthusiasm that was dimmed somewhat by the criticisms Dickens expressed in his American Notes (1842) and in the American chapters of Martin Chuzzlewit (1844). 

The appearance of A Christmas Carol in 1843 sealed his position as the most widely popular writer of his time; it became an annual tradition for him to write a story for the season, of which the most memorable was The Chimes (1844) and The Cricket on the Hearth (1845). 

He continued to produce novels at only a slightly diminished rate, publishing Dombey and Son in 1848 and David Copperfield in 1850; his books, he wrote to Forster: 'If I were to say half of what Copperfield makes me feel tonight how strangely, even to you, I should be turned inside out! I seem to be sending some part of myself into the Shadowy World.'

From this point on his novels tended to be more elaborately constructed and harsher and less buoyant in tone than his earlier works. 

These late novels include Bleak House (1853), Hard Times (1854), Little Dorrit (1857), A Tale of Two Cities (1859), and Great Expectations (1861). Our Mutual Friend, published in 1865, was his last completed novel, and perhaps the most somber and savage of them all. 

Dickens had separated from his wife in 1858—he had become involved a year earlier with a young actress named Ellen Ternan—and the ensuing scandal had alienated him from many of his former associates and admirers. He was weakened by years of overwork and by a near-fatal railroad disaster during the writing of Our Mutual Friend. 

Nevertheless, he embarked on a series of public readings, including a return visit to America in 1867, which further eroded his health. A final work, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, a crime novel much influenced by Wilkie Collins, was left unfinished upon his death on June 9, 1870, at the age of 58.

Excerpts from the original text 

For me, this day is the day of a lifetime because it caused a huge change in me. Whoever lives such a day will never forget it. Please put yourself in your shoes and think about it, if you have such an unusual day in your life, how different it will be from the usual one! Readers, please put down the book for a while and think about it, whether the long chain of life is made of gold, iron, thorns, or flowers, if it is not for you Get your hands on that first ring one day that you'll never forget, and you'll never live a life like this at all. -----Quoted from page 108

Pip, dear old chap, life is made of ever so many partings welded together, as I may say, and one man's a blacksmith, and one's a whitesmith, and one's a goldsmith, and one's a coppersmith. Divisions among such must come and must be met as they come. If there's been any fault at all today, it's mine. You and I are not two figures to be together in London; nor yet anywhere else but what is private, and be known, and understood among friends. It ain't that I am proud, but that I want to be right, as you shall never see me no more in these clothes. I'm wrong about these clothes. I'm wrong out of the forge, the kitchen, or of the meshes. You won't find half so much fault in me if you think of me in my forge dress, with my hammer in my hand, or even my pipe. You won't find half so much fault in me if, supposing as you should ever wish to see me, you come and put your head in at the forge window and see Joe the blacksmith, there, at the old anvil, in the old burnt apron, sticking to the old work. I'm awful dull, but I hope I've beat out something nigh the rights of this at last. And so GOD bless you, dear old Pip, old chap, GOD bless you!' ----Quoted on page 175

Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of the earth, overlying our hard hearts. I was better after I had cried than before - more sorry, more aware of my own gratitude, more gentle. -----Quoted from page 124

We are all human beings, so often, in order to guard against those we despise most, we end up committing the most despicable deeds. -----Quoted on page 242

Book Reviews of Great Expectations

A vast and exquisite picture of British society, a stack of heavy and complicated figures and relationships, and a field of fate full of bizarre coincidences, Dickens closely combines the grand theme with the meticulous narrative with his superb skills, thick brushstrokes, and agile thoughts, created a group of characters with distinctive personalities and unique temperaments, created various grotesque scenes and tense atmospheres, and revealed a clear understanding of society and profound criticism. 

Immersed in the witty and wonderful descriptions of the novel, wandering in the ups and downs of sorrow and joy, lingering in the mysterious and weird associations and images, I experienced the baptism of my heart in the storm of the times in a small boat. Perception is like a bouquet of clear springs, flowing slowly, calmly, and sad.

A disillusioned future

When a great future falls from the sky, and destiny is about to turn into a magnificent and splendid future, who wouldn't be moved?

Pip was fortunate to receive such a gift. He leaped from a low-class person to a high-class life circle. Changes in his heart and attitude towards life were inevitable. 

His heart was slowly eroded by wealth and superiority, and he began to ignore the kind Joe. and Biddy and began to pursue his love with the self-confidence of a gentleman. In the Victorian era, the concept of social class was deeply rooted in the hearts of the people. 

The fear and humbleness of the poor, the arrogance and pickiness of the upper class, and the flattery of the middle class are vividly displayed in the novel. As Pip's heart deteriorated and his attitude towards life changed, the cruel truth began to surface. 

When Pip learned that he was sponsored by the fugitive Magwitch to become an upper-class man, his inner gratitude and pride were completely shattered. He realized that he had no good luck or great prospects. 

The witch was a tool for retaliating against society and retaliating against the upper class, and he fell into deep contradictions and pain. 

On the one hand, Pip has squandered a lot of money after accepting Magwitch's funding, got used to the life of the upper class, and can never return to the original simple and happy life. 

As a person who has lost touch with the past, Magwitch must be helped out of danger to continue living in this world. 

On the other hand, Magwitch is an important fugitive. Pip harbors him and deports him. If he is caught, the consequences will be unimaginable. Pip will lose everything and his future will be completely destroyed. Disillusioned. Pip chose to repay and give back in a sense, helping Magwitch escape. 

In fact, no matter how he chooses, there is nowhere to put his inner expectations. He knows that the future can only be fragmented. 

If he continues to accept funding from a fugitive or returns to an inferior person, his poor self-esteem will be completely destroyed, but he He had no choice but to choose the more appropriate path of the two with his remaining selfishness and conscience.

In the end, great expectations are still shattered without a trace, Magwitch is arrested, Pip falls into great panic and anxiety, and he has a high fever. For Pip, this high fever is a return, with a strong symbolic meaning. 

This high fever burned his fantasy and burned the decadent and vulgar ideas of high society in his mind. After the high fever subsided, Pip woke up from the dream of "great expectations" he pursued and returned to the living reality from the castle in the air. 

The high fever is like an external destructive force, tearing off the vines that grow around Pip so that he can restore the freedom and liberation of his original mind, obtain the return of kindness, and his spirit can be liberated and sublimated. 

Returning to his hometown, the duckweed-like Pip finally had a sense of belonging and found his spiritual home - the small village where he was born and raised, the simple and kind Joe, and the real life.

Disillusioned love.

When he was a blacksmith, Pip kept his love for Estella hidden in his heart. This kind of love existed only as a fantasy and extravagance. When he entered the upper class, he bid farewell to the rude old days. 

His temperament, conversation, and appearance have taken on a new look. He has successfully found his own position from the huge changes. He has no doubt that he will be a person with a bright future, so he sublimates his love into equality, a natural existence, and Sincerely believe that the combination of him and Estella is destined. 

As the intricate truths are dissected one by one, this emotion runs through the entire novel as the lifeline that appears and disappears from time to time. Just looking at the development and final outcome of this emotion can dig out the huge influence and contradictions of the social environment. difficult choice. Pip's love for Estella has always been sincere and warm. 

When he was a teenager, he had low self-esteem, and when he was an adult, he was not confident whether Estella could fall in love with him, so he always had humble sensitivity and delicate care. 

Emotions are completely controlled by Estella, and the little warmth she bestows on him is regarded as a treasure by him. As the years went by, seeing that his love still had no results, Pip began to jump out of the fanaticism of love and think about the reasons for his failure. 

He saw Estella who didn't know how to love, who was distorted by revenge, From this, he knew that his love for Estella was futile, so he gave up struggling.

The most tragic truth is that Estella is actually the daughter of Magwitch, a prisoner and a desperate person who abandoned the blood of time. Her noble pride and humble origin form a strong contrast, which makes people unable to help Shocked by this fact. 

The most wonderful technique of Dickens is to connect the huge intertwined links into a perfect sea route map. The fate of every character is closely related, and the joys and sorrows of every life are by no means accidental. 

When Pip learned about Estella's birth and heart, he was undoubtedly involved in the core of the vortex of contradictions. His emotions towards the Magwitch father and daughter were extremely complicated. 

They changed his life and gave him hope. and destroy all things. After a storm, people cherish the calm more than anything else. Kindness, simplicity, simplicity, these are the ones that can withstand the washing of the wind and waves, and these are the ones that shine brightly after the ups and downs of a lifetime. 

Although love is disillusioned, Pip found himself and became friends with Estella. He deeply realized that everyone is facing countless problems, and they are lonely and painful.

Remaining warmth

In the vicissitudes of the world, the edges and corners of many people are constantly being worn away, tending to be smooth and soft pebbles. 

No matter how much resistance screams in the heart, the arc of the smile at the corner of the mouth is always appropriate. People have learned the game of the world Rules, if not all-in, are dressed up.

In Britain in the 1850s and 1860s, social problems were constantly beating people's lives like dense drums. The decadent capitalist system swept people's consciences, lazy parliament, complicated ruling institutions, complacent bourgeoisie, and money The ruling power of the people is lost in this terminally ill society. 

In such a decadent age, Joe and Biddy, Herbert, and Wemmick also experienced washing, but they gave us the last warmth and comfort with their kind character and rich heart. 

Although Joe is a little cowardly and inferior as an inferior person, he keeps his duty, takes good care of Pip and his wife, and gets along with others with the gentlest heart and kindest words. 

He is the most natural and lovely person. Biddy is hard-working, studious, kind and honest, and good at listening. There is a continuous maternal breath in her body, which makes people feel warm and stable. 

Although Joe and Biddy's social status is not high, they are not pessimistic and disappointed. After Pip became a superior person, they did not ask Pip to be grateful and repay them. 

Mental ability, living a simple and gentle life, glowing with vitality like a green sapling in a turbulent social environment, unobtrusive but joyful.

Herbert, the delicate image of a young boy in white clothes is deeply rooted in the hearts of the people. He embodies piety to ideals, loyalty to friends, and an understanding character. 

He pursues free love, devotes himself to his career, and treats people gently, even if he cannot He does not compromise with the rules of society, and always has a sense of beauty. It is his own unique nature that makes Pip willing to get close to him, trust him, and help him. 

And Wemmick, his fairytale-like back garden, wonderful castle, all kinds of interesting small mechanisms, and long suspension bridges are really fascinating. In a materialistic society, he still maintains his love for handicrafts and closeness to nature. 

He makes utensils, designs organs, and grows plants and vegetables with his own hands. He has a simple heart and a beautiful pastoral temperament, without any luxury and Signs of impetuousness. 

At work, he has to face complex entanglements, disordered human nature, hovering on the edge of morality, and making some choices that violate justice. Perhaps because of the complexity of the nature of his work, he completely separates his private life from his work. 

The mask of work is a rigorous and intelligent face, wandering in the human relationship and the law, trying to be considerate, but the nature in life is free and carefree, open-minded and simple, even with child-like curiosity and exploration consciousness, Very commendable.

Remaining regret

The fate of Havisham and Estella reveals a strong sense of tragedy in the novel, and one can't help but feel an indelible melancholy after reading it. 

Havisham's gloomy gothic room and her grotesque bridal attire all make people shudder, and the paranoia and gloom in her character are like a blooming mystery that attracts people to discover. 

When her life experience slowly surfaced, her eccentricity was able to be matched with the source of fit. From a woman who was madly pursuing love to an old woman who was abandoned and neglected, and her heart was full of resentment, people could not help but understand and sympathize with her. 

The target and the tragic victim released by the greedy nature of human beings in the capitalist society, all made her no longer believe in love and men and fell into the endless psychological cycle of revenge and hatred. 

Havisham's life has always been full of unspeakable pain, so she adopted Estella, used her as a tool for revenge, and trained her in a cruel way, trying to make her a tool for revenge on the dude in the upper class. 

Teach her to absorb and snatch, never teach her to love and appreciate sincerely. Estella became what Havisham expected. She rejected Pip's love, shuttled among the noble children, and finally married a lazy noble boy, who was abused and tortured.

In the end, Havisham expressed remorse for her behavior and felt remorse and pain for her ruined Estella. Estella's heart was restored to kindness, and she became friends with Pip, but such an ending is not pessimistic. 

And helplessly, the best years have passed, regrets have been deeply injected into their lives, and it is too late for everything to happen again in a trance. 

The decadent capitalist society distorts human nature, and the greed and endless desire inspired by money are also the executioners after the tragic love of two women. 

Finally, after the manor burned down, the ruins full of gray dust symbolize the occupants of the house and the whole world. The decadence and depravity of the upper class.

The novel is paved with the sense of vicissitudes of disillusionment of chance. However, when all the magnificence is gone, the most authentic things in life can be revealed. 

In that decadent and harsh era, the remaining goodness and reflection are the precious gifts of the paralyzed society. Everyone has the possibility of a great future, and what is handed out is always not as good as what you create, and the luck and hope you wait for are easily disillusioned.

Book Summary of Great Expectations

A well-known novel always has the charm of attracting people to read on. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens is certainly one such novel. 

As one of the masterpieces that I plan to read carefully this year, I appreciate this work in four steps.

Step 1: Simply read and feel the splendor of the novel itself

The little man Pip had no parents since he was a child, and was brought up by his sister. Two accidental events created the ups and downs of his life. 

One is that he accidentally ran into the fugitive and was forced to assist him; the other was that he was taken to Havisham's house to meet the beautiful and arrogant Estella. 

The latter ignites the flame of Pip's love, making him dislike his origin for the first time and long for change. And the former dramatically gave him hope of realizing his dream. 

Of course, the story finally reveals the true meaning of life, and unrealistic fantasies will eventually be shattered. Only down-to-earth efforts and peaceful harvests can gain inner peace. 

The dream or goal that I longed for when I was young and thought it was the only dream or goal gradually became blurred and beautiful with the passage of time and the precipitation of the soul, but it turned out to be not so important.

Step 2: Get to know the author and experience the influence of the background of the times and the creative mood on the work

Charles Dickens (February 7, 1812-June 9, 1870) was born in a family of minor employees in the navy. When he was a teenager, he could only attend school intermittently due to poor family life and was forced to work as a child laborer in a factory. After the age of 15, he successively worked as an apprentice, recorder, and court reporter in a law firm.

In 1830 Dickens fell in love with Maria Bidner, the daughter of a banker. He thought that the two sides were in love with each other, and in 1833 he mustered up the courage to confess his love to Maria, but he was met with cold rejection. This experience carved a deep imprint on Dickens' soul so that he despised real women and liked fantasy ideal women.

In 1834 he met Catherine Hogarth, daughter of George Hogarth, editor of the Evening Chronicle, and married two years later. After marriage (1836-1852), a total of 10 children were born. Although this marriage healed the hurt he suffered from his first love, it did not bring Dickens happiness. Their husband and wife are very different in thought, character, and aspirations.

In February 1855, reunited with Maria Beadnell, who was by then Mrs. Wind. In May 1858, he officially separated from his wife Catherine. At the end of 1860, "Great Expectations" began to be serialized in "All Seasons".

The author's description of Overseer Jaggers, his assistant Wemmick, and the law firm in "Great Expectations" undoubtedly owes to his own experience in his youth. Estella, whom Pip loves, has more or less the shadow of the banker's daughter Maria Bidner. 

And Dickens's wife, Catherine, always reminds me of Biddy in the novel—gentle, virtuous, and considerate of reality, which can make Pip feel at ease but cannot arouse his love and passion.  

Dickens lived during the period of Queen Victoria (May 24, 1819-January 22, 1901). When she was in power (1837-1901), it was the strongest "Empire on which the sun never sets" in Britain. "Victorian Era". At this time, Britain stepped up its colonial expansion and established and occupied many colonies within a certain range. The decades of her reign coincided with the transition period of British liberal capitalism from the fledgling to the top, and then to monopoly capitalism, with unprecedented prosperity in economy and culture.

The shadow of the Industrial Revolution in London can also be felt in "Great Expectations". What kind of business did the fugitive Magwitch do in the land of exile? Is it related to colonial expansion and the slave trade? The happy ending at the end of the article is also known as a unique pattern of Victorian culture.

Step 3: Find related film and television books, and use the power of famous artists to deepen the appreciation of the works

As the saying goes, "There are a thousand Hamlets in the hearts of a thousand people." The more famous the book, the more people pay attention to it. We can read it purely for entertainment, or we can read it to increase our knowledge and combine it with the background of the author's time. 

Or, as the British writer Bacon suggested, "Reading is not to challenge or refute, nor to believe and take it for granted, nor to find words and talk, but to weigh and consider. " It helps to improve the depth and height of seeing problems.

Film and TV category:

Of course, those who don't like reading or have limited time can choose to watch the film and television versions. The novel gets a movie remake every once in a while. The TV series is the 2011 version. 

Of course, due to time constraints, it is inevitable that there will be some choices and adaptations in the plot of the film and television. Party members of the original works may choose to watch according to the preferences of the actors. Personally, I just pick on how cute little Pip is.

Interpretation class:

How to Read and Why? (Famous Literary Forum)" [US] Harold Bloom (Bloom, H.)

According to different literary forms such as poetry, drama, and short stories, the author gives examples of representative writers and works for interpretation. Among them, the work "Great Expectations" was chosen when explaining the representative figure of the novel, Dickens. 

As the philosopher Emerson mentioned in the book once said, the best books are "written with one nature and read with one nature". If this work has something close to the reader and touches the reader's heart, the reader will naturally have a certain resonance and understanding when reading it.

How to Read Literature [British] Terry Eagleton

When Eagleton explained literary criticism in the fourth chapter "Interpretation", he emphasized that it is not easy to distance yourself from literary works and examine work in an all-round way. Many literary critics simply retell the story and add some comments of their own. 

The author chooses Dickens's "Great Expectations" as an example. Story retelling is inevitable, but the role of alternate parents, family, and society described behind the story are all worth savoring carefully.

The reason why the novel "Great Expectations" lasts for a long time is that apart from the author's lofty literary and social significance such as focusing on the people at the bottom and exposing the essence of capitalist economic wealth accumulation, the most grounded thing is that the characters in the novel are close to A true portrayal of our lives. 

Aside from bizarre opportunities and coincidences arranged to satisfy story creation, we will compromise when we meet people who are afraid, we will choose to hide because of fear of being blamed, we will also be disturbed because of our conscience being blamed, and we will get rich overnight Wait for unrealistic fantasies. 

And the ending of the book has brought us enlightenment, preventing us from going astray when encountering temptation, allowing us to examine ourselves with a peaceful mind, and cherish the seemingly ordinary but peaceful life in front of us.

Step 4: Jump out of the storyline and learn Dickens' writing techniques from the perspective of literary creation

In addition to Dickens's humorous, witty, and satirical writing techniques mentioned in most of the reviews, there are several other features worth learning from.

1. About the characteristics of characterization

  • Each character has specific actions or mantras, which can be clearly positioned through simple descriptions.

For example: "Maybe" Pampoch, "My Old Partner" Joe, "Time Stopped" Havisham, "Whispering" Estella, "Public and Private" Wemmick, if you use the characters in "Great Expectations" as a Guessing game, probably only use a short word to make readers guess the person they refer to with a smile.

  • Reveal the character of the character through repeated action description

About Pip's loyal partner, his brother-in-law, Joe the blacksmith, there is a description in Chapter Four: Whenever Pimp, Mrs. Joe, Woofsey, and others embarrass Pip, Joe always scoops up Four times he spooned broth to comfort Pip, which time Jo said nothing. 

Only through such repeated descriptions of actions, Dickens portrayed Joe's honest and dull image thoroughly.

Similarly, in Chapter 19, after Pip received funding from the mysterious man and was about to make a fortune, Pumptree would stand up and ask "May I?" every time he said a word, and then shake Pip's hand to show respect, repeating More than 20 descriptions of "is it possible" have been described, and the image of Pan Boqu's flattering and flattering villain is fully revealed.

2. Writing skills

  • The design is suspenseful and appetizing

In the beginning, Pip, the people around Pip, and even Havisham himself deliberately misled everyone, making people think that the person who helped Pip was Havisham. 

And the real answer "Abel Magwitch" only appeared for the first time in Chapter 40. It can be said that the reader's appetite has been whetted, and a big reversal has come.

  • Difficult to translate, the author’s careful thinking can only be reflected in the first language of the work

For example- The English name Pip ( pip ) is written in palindrome, which indicates that everything will go back to the beginning and start over. 

And Havisham's name is a combination of "have " and " sham ", implying the desire to have, but in the end, everything is empty. It is a pity that these small thoughts are difficult to be reflected in the translation.

A Brief Analysis of the Practical Significance of "Great Expectations"

"Great Expectations" has extremely important reference significance for today's society, especially the society that is undergoing accelerated industrialization and urbanization. 

The development of the material world has led to people's pursuit of materials to the point of fanaticism. People have become realistic and utilitarian, and money and material satisfaction have become the driving force behind all pursuits. 

So we were surprised to find that the most popular major is always the most profitable major; the principle of "three hundred and sixty lines to get the number one" was abandoned; the principle of "following the heart" is difficult to put into practice; "reality" It is very popular, but the "ideal" is struggling. 

Driven by the social environment, people are desperately rushing forward for the so-called "great future", fighting for a "broken head" but never stopping to explore their inner spiritual needs and pursuits. 

At the same time, although the hierarchical system has been eliminated, the concept of inequality caused by differences in status in today's society is still rooted in some groups. 

Vulnerable groups are not valued and respected frequently, and people with power and status are exalted and flattered. This kind of abnormal social value orientation will lead to the birth of countless "Pip".

Wouldn't it end up being nothing like Pip? Don't you realize that your original self has been lost, and the most precious value has been "buried"?

For personal development, the reference significance of this book is the same. When have we not been like Pip, from the carefree state of nature of childhood into the complex social melting pot? How can the colorfulness of real society and the temptation of interests not challenge our hearts? 

We are ambitious and strive to be recognized by the world, but we are also unknowingly assimilated by secular society. 

Have we ever thought about whether what the mainstream of society advocates is really valuable and what we are really pursuing? Are you "washed" by society's materialistic desires, and are you still the original you?

In fact, what "Great Expectations" warns us is nothing more than a return or persistence. For society, it is necessary to cool down the material and impetuousness, and prevent the material from encroaching on our original and natural spiritual world; for the individual, it is necessary to have independent thinking to distinguish the authenticity and uphold the original intention. 

This process is very difficult because the two themselves are a contradictory cycle. Individual ideology comes from social education, and an awakened society comes from awakened individuals. 

The burden of breaking this vicious circle, in my opinion, falls on intellectuals. Intellectuals who have received a good education can break free from the shackles of the environment, penetrate into the essence of problems, and be able to judge things independently. 

Intellectuals' exploration and awareness of the true value of human beings and the meaning of life can spread through their influence on the world, thereby changing the overall development of society step by step. 

Of course, the role played by society is also very important, that is, to develop the economy steadily and provide prerequisites for the sublimation of people's spiritual world.

We call for the awakening of people. Just as Dickens suggested, Pip walks out of the vain "dream" and returns to the fullness of his heart. We don't need to pursue social regression but seek a change, a kind of progress. No matter how rough the road is.

How far we can go in the pursuit of spiritual wealth and equality will ultimately determine people's happiness.

Short comments: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

At the beginning of human beings, nature is good. However, under the temptation of material and desires, people will gradually decay and degenerate, especially when stepping into an environment that is completely different from the previous life, it is inevitable to compare the two, but the superiority seen by the naked eye is not necessarily the real superiority, and may even gradually lose the excellent soul that you really have. 

What's more frightening than doing something you're ashamed of is not thinking it's shameful. The protagonist has an unattainable goal, but he doesn't make steady progress toward the goal step by step. 

Instead, he takes shortcuts based on opportunities that come by chance, but shortcuts are not necessarily shortcuts, and may even be dangerous ones, which make you lose your way. 

You paid more than you said you could give, and by the time you realize it, it may be too late. The protagonist lives in a class society that is not suitable for him lost his true heart and lost his excellent character that cannot be bought with money. But the ending is gratifying. 

At the last moment, people grasped their own goodness and returned to their own world.

ConclusionGreat Expectations by Charles Dickens

The literary work entitled "Great Expectations" is a masterpiece with an intricate and multifaceted structure, deeply rooted in themes like social hierarchy, identity, love, guilt, and redemption.

The novel features a coming-of-age story that traces the journey of a young orphan named Pip, who desires to ascend the social ladder and win the affection of Estella.

The narrative style is complex and intricate, demanding an astute and diligent reader.

However, the payoff is enormous, as the novel is a thought-provoking masterpiece, exploring timeless themes that continue to reverberate in contemporary society.

Dickens crafted the novel as a commentary on the insatiable Victorian society, which was obsessed with wealth and status.

It was his opportunity to share his own personal experiences, having pulled himself up by his own bootstraps.

The novel boasts strong female characters who defied traditional gender roles and societal expectations, providing a fresh perspective to readers.

Despite being considered a classic of English literature, the novel has faced criticism for its overly melodramatic aspects and portrayal of women and marginalized groups.

The novel's conclusion sees Pip finding redemption, discovering that genuine happiness is not from material wealth or status but comes from within.

To conclude, "Great Expectations" is an engaging and well-crafted story and one that is well worth the effort to read, for it offers a lot to the attentive reader.

Muhiuddin Alam is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of He serves as a consistent contributor to various websites and publications, including Medium, Quora, Reddit, Linkedin, Substack, Vocal, Flipboard, and Amazon KDP. Alam personally read numerous books and, for the past 10 years, has been providing book recommendations and reviews. Find Me: About Me & Google Knowledge Panel.

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