As I mentioned in a previous post I started Great Expectations by Charles Dickens several months ago. Being frustrated by my chosen media, and at the interest of reading the book through with my sister, I recently started it once again.
Getting past volume one made it quite clear that I would need to break my review into parts accordingly. The review that follows is for Volume one only, and may include information that may somewhat spoil the volume for those of you who are looking to read it yourselves.
The most appealing part of Great Expectations for myself is Charles Dickens’ writing style. I was first and foremost drawn by his use of language, the way he describes a setting and character, and the intensity I felt in the print.
Chapter one begins with the account of young boy in which he is being reared by his older sister. Sitting in a graveyard he explains his living situation as a result of the deceased family he had come to visit. Pip is shortly visited himself by a convict who frightened him, and demanded Pip bring him food and a metal file the following morning lest mishap should purposely occur to the youngster.
I enjoyed reading through volume one waiting for the next stressful thing to take shape in Pips life, though I must say I caught myself on several occasions wondering when the poor child was going to get a break. Not much farther into the story you get the opportunity to meet Pip’s older sister and her husband. This encounter leaves you wanting nothing more than to rescue both Pip and his sister’s husband Joe.
Still later Dickens introduces his readers to a couple more characters that seem to have similar disregard for Pip that his sister does. Likewise Dickens helps you to appreciate cattle in an entirely new light. Although Pip is able to squeak away from what seemed inescapable danger in a turn of events he finds himself in a completely new predicament.
Pip finds himself trapped in a position that he is to express graditute for his “good fortune” however the turmoil that “good fortune” stirs in Pips young chest is nearly more than he can bare. There were moments I myself wondered if I could handle anymore excitement. Pip makes the introduction of a couple of new characters that completely changes his life, the turmoil they both create is enough to send him into a desperate look at himself. This rapid coming of age that Pip enters gives you hope that he may indeed start to cope with the difficult hand he has been delt, but in reality it seems that it creates more pain and confusion for our main character.
Another startling mishap later and another character is brought into the light. Biddy is a sweet young lady that seems to have a genuine compassion for Pip and their misfortuneate turn of events. Pip seems to be settleing into life as it is now, forming a good bond with Biddy, and trying to share some of his educational experiances with Joe. However, there seems to be a fire inside of him that he cannot quite put out. Although I found myself wanting Pip to achieve his dreams part of me hoped that he would finally get to settle into a comfortable life for awhile, however as it turns out it does not seem to be the case at all.
Upon finishing volume one I realized that there were many more changes coming for our young focal point. I look forward to learning how he copes with those changes and if he finally gets the life I have been dreaming up for him. I still appreciate Dickens’ writing style and appreciate it more now that I did even at the beginning and I am most anxious to see what he has instore for me in the future.
Beginning this review I had some mixed feelings on what it was that I wanted to share. Part of me wanted to focus on some of the reviews that I had read and combat them to the death. However, although I do not share their dislike of this particular book I felt there was little to be gained by saying so, rather, I think sharing the excitement I had going through this volume was a much better use of my personal time. I do hope if you have ever had any desire to read this book that you will dive into it.
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