‘Life is made of so many partings welded together’ – Excerpt from Dickens’ book – Great Expectations
What would be life without expectations? Expectations, aspirations and hopes for a better life. Everyone craves for it. Charles Dickens’ classic novel – Great Expectations is reflection of the unfulfilled expectations. Even after so many years Dickens’ novel is widely read and relevant to the present times. I must say Dickens was way ahead of times in his thinking that reflected in his books – Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, Hard times and David Copperfield. Essentials like I-Phone, Credit Cards, Multiplex movie tickets, Expensive holiday trips and Luxury cars are expectations of present generation. If you don’t have these privileges, you are as poor as Pip the protagonist of book ‘Great Expectations’. Today’s young women are cold hearted, cynical, ambitious as Estella the female protagonist who know how to play with the emotions of their loved ones.
“One should never be ashamed to cry. Tears are rain on the dust of earth.” – Excerpt from Great Expectations
A sudden, unexpected meeting with a runaway convict changes the life of a little boy named Pip. The little Pip offers food to the convict as gesture of humanity. A strange bond forms between Pip and the convict. Though Pip tries to protect the convict from the public eye, the convict is ultimately arrested. After the turn of these events, Pip seeks apprenticeship to become a black smith under the guidance of his brother-in-law. Like everyone, even Pip craves for a better life full of luxury and privileges. One day an enigmatic benefactor offers to fulfill Pip’s expectations of leading a privileged life. Pip’s luck changes overnight with the arrival of this mysterious benefactor. Now that he has all the monetary privileges, Pip craves to win the heart of his childhood love – the cold hearted Estella. Though Pip’s expectations of a rich life are fulfilled, Pip becomes more boastful and self-conscious. One fateful day, the secret benefactor arrives at Pip’s house and asks for help in return for the privileges he had offered to Pip. Pip gets the shock of his life when the benefactor reveals his true identity. The expectations of Pip for a better life are put at stakes. Will Pip’s expectations of a better life be fulfilled? Who is this secret benefactor and how he is he related to Pip? Expectation is the thread that keeps people tied to each other. Like Pip, every character in this book has expectation with life – The old lady Miss Havisham, the escaped convict, the mysterious benefactor and Estella, the heartless love interest of Pip.
What connects you to the book is the powerful storyline backed by unforgettable characters. Though Pip is the main protagonist in this novel, the supporting characters are the one who take the events forwards in the story of expectations. Dickens highlights on the cold heartedness of aristocratic class and the fascination of wealth which corrupts the mind of a humble boy like Pip. What stayed in my mind is the character of the escaped convict – Magwitch who plays a significant role in life of Pip. My heart reached out for Pip who is shown cold response by the girl whom he loved the most. Estella the cold hearted female protagonist is the reflection of 21st century ambitious women who are sensitive only towards money. The role of Estella was played by Hollywood actress Gwyneth Paltrow in the 1998 movie adaptation of Dickens’ novel. The 1998 movie adaptation was a modernized version where Pip is a painter craving for attention of the beautiful yet immoral Estella. Great Expectations has been adapted into motion pictures and TV movies countless times, each version showing a different shade according to its times.
If you want to enjoy classic literature, I personally recommend Great Expectations which is a gem in the career of Charles Dickens and is hailed as a masterpiece by both the critics and the readers.