Sunday, 24 February 2013

Great Expectations

Title : Great Expectations
Writer : Charles Dickens
Number of Page : 460
Publisher : HarperCollins

The story began when little Philip Pirrip or "Pip" stood in front of his parents' tombstone. A filthy and crude man approached him. He threatened Pip, said that if Pip didn't bring him food on the next day, somebody would come and killed Pip. Scared of that threat, Pip stole food from his sister's kitchen and brought all of them for that man.

Pip was an orphan. He lived with his elder sister and her husband. His sister was a bad woman and she often humiliated Pip in front of other people, saying that Pip should thank her for saving him and accepting him in her house. She could have given Pip to orphan house but she didn't and she liked reminding Pip about that. Pip didn't like living in that house if not for Joe Gargery, her sister's husband. Joe was like a father for Pip. He was compassionate blacksmith, honest, humble, although he was very weak compare to his wife.

Pip's fate was already determined since the first time he came to that house. He would become a blacksmith like Joe and inherite his in-law's business. But one day he was invited to Miss Havisham's house. Miss Havisham was a rich lady who had a bitter past. She had an adopted daughter, named Estella. And Pip fell in love with her at the first sight.

Because now Pip knew about Estella and rich world which he didn't belong, he had an expectation. He wanted to be a gentleman and marry Estella. It seemed like a dream which wouldn't come true. Until a secret benefactor gave Pip a chance to become a gentleman. He went to London and experienced the world of the riches. He even forgot Joe who loved him and had so much hope that Pip would inherit his business.

Pip didn't know, it was not Miss Havisham who gave him the money to become a gentleman. It was the convict whom he saved in the graveyard years ago. 

Would Pip eventually get Estella, the girl that he wanted? Did being a gentleman give him a happiness?

In my opinion:
I understand why this book is a classic. It is the kind of book that lingers in your mind not because it has the coolest action scenes, beautiful/handsome characters, or thrilling mysteries. This book has meaning, subtly implied and made reader thinking how ordinary and wonderful life is. Great Expectations shows so many different characters from colourful and unique backgrounds. From Pip the softhearted hero, Abel Magwitch the faithful convict, Miss Havisham the revengeful woman, Estella the cold and beautiful lady, Mr. Jaggers the professional lawyer, and Joe the simple and humble blacksmith. I think Charles Dickens had talents in creating such ordinary characters and making them interesting and memorable. 

I love all the characters, especially Magwitch and Joe. I don't know why. I felt so sad if I remembered about them. I'd never expected that Magwitch was very thankful for what Pip had done in the cemetery that he saw Pip as his own son. It was a small good deed but yet it could change and gave a hopeless convict like Magwitch a new purpose. Maybe that is why we must always help people no matter how ridiculous or unimportant the problem is. It will come back to you in a good way. Like Pip. He became a gentleman because of Magwitch.

Pip hated that he had accepted money from a bad man. Well, he was okay accepting money from Miss Havisham, but not from Magwitch. Maybe Pip thought that those money were "dirty". 

I liked how Charles Dickens gave backgrounds for every characters that he mentioned. I understand why Miss Havisham became a bitter woman and I even felt sad for her. But, the saddest part was Magwitch's life. He was not smart and easily used by people. He became convict because of other people's faults and he couldn't do anything about it. Oh, life is not fair! And once Pip knew about this, he could slowly accept Magwitch.

For now, my repugnance to him had all melted away, and in the hunted wounded shackled creature who held my hand in his, I only saw a man who had meant to be my benefactor, and who had felt affectionately, gratefully, and generously, towards me with great constancy through a series of years. I only saw in him a much better man than I had been to Joe.   ~~pg. 398

Yes, I think Pip was a bit cruel to Joe for forgetting him. He rarely visited Joe. But, at the end he learned his mistakes from Magwitch. Gentleman was not a status or the amount of money you had, it was something achieved from the heart and attitude. Even Magwitch the convict and Joe the blacksmith were more gentleman than any other men Pip met in London. 

"And what's the best of all," he said, "you've been more comfortable alonger me, since I was under a dark cloud, than when the sun shone. That's the best of all."   ~pg. 410

Great Expectations is definitely a good book, except it is very "literature" that I spent veeeerrrryyy long time finishing it. It is boring, really. There are many parts which are not important to be mentioned in the book, like the sequences of Pip's activities everyday and flat conversations between Pip and some minor characters. Those should be mentioned in several sentences only. But, maybe that was just a typical characteristic of classic books.

Oh, I want to watch the movie next week maybe if I have time. Here is the trailer.

Woot, I believed the movie would be great :) Jeremy Irvine, kyaaaaa!!! ignore this, seriously


Additional Notes: This post was published as part of reading event "Celebrating Dickens" hosted by Fanda Classiclit.


  1. Ah ini adalah buku yang udah 2 kali aku coba baca tapi gagal. hahaha.. Mungkin karena edisi yang kubaca tulisannya terlalu kecil dan padat trus bahasanya juga jadul banget kali ya?? Tapi aku suka banget film adaptasinya yang versi Ethan Hawke dan Gwyneth Paltrow

    1. haha... iya aku aja ampir nyerah awal2, tapi makin ke blkg makin oke sih soalnya udah jelas maw dibawa kmn ceritanya...
      wow, film yg ethan hawke itu contemporary tnyata... boleh juga dicari filmya :)

  2. I watched the BBC miniseries (Gillian 'Scully' Anderson as Miss Havisham), and liked it very much, the setting is very similar to what I gathered from the book.

    "It was a small good deed but yet it could change and gave a hopeless convict like Magwitch a new purpose." << I like this, and it reminds me to do it more in life!

    About unimportant parts, I think, in a way, it helps us to delve deeper into the characters and the story (something that are missing in modern books). Besides that, we must consider that Dickens first wrote this as a weekly installment, not as a whole book. You know...when you must write for living, then you may perhaps write longer that it needs... :P

    1. yeah, we should do more good deeds! haha...

      it's true, modern books don't have details like classics have. I enjoy unimportant, little things in the books but i don't know why I couldn't bear the flat conversations that Dickens put in this book. And you're right, maybe it's because Dickens wrote it as weekly installment and money always comes first :)

      Anyway, classic books are always more memorable and contain deep meanings. Always happy after reading it, hehe...