Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (Book Review)

2623Title: Great Expectations

Author: Charles Dickens

Genre: Classics

Publication Date: June 25, 1998 (First Published in 1861)

Date Read: January 09, 2016

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

Format: ebook

Pages: 505

Ratings: 5 out of 5 stars


In what may be Dickens’s best novel, humble, orphaned Pip is apprenticed to the dirty work of the forge but dares to dream of becoming a gentleman — and one day, under sudden and enigmatic circumstances, he finds himself in possession of “great expectations.” In this gripping tale of crime and guilt, revenge and reward, the compelling characters include Magwitch, the fearful and fearsome convict; Estella, whose beauty is excelled only by her haughtiness; and the embittered Miss Havisham, an eccentric jilted bride.


“Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but – I hope – into a better shape.”

Great Expectations was written by Charles Dickens and it was first published in 1861. It is a classic novel that starts with a young seven-year-old Philip Pirrip, also known as “Pip”, who happened to be in a churchyard on a Christmas eve for he was visiting his parent’s tombstones, was threatened by a man smothered in mud, an escaped convict named Abel Magwitch. The convict demands Pip to bring him food and a file. In early chapters, we can say that Pip is a very brave and a kind protagonist because he obeyed Abel’s demand. Maybe he done such thing because he is just an innocent boy and wants to be generous with everyone or maybe because he’s afraid of what the convict said, that if he doesn’t obey the man’s order, the convict will have his heart and liver out.

“Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts. I was better after I had cried, than before–more sorry, more aware of my own ingratitude, more gentle.”

At first I thought that I will not like this book because it has a high standard words but I ended up loving it. Charles Dickens’ writing style is a great one and even though there are words or phrases that is a little bit hard to understand, you can comprehend it eventually and realized that it makes sense after all.

Great Expectations accompanies Pip, an orphan being raised by his elder sister known as Mrs. Joe who was a strict woman and a stern figure to both Pip and her husband Joe Gargery, they lived in Kent, England. Joe is not just Pip’s brother-in-law but he is also his good friend. Then, Pip was introduced to Miss Havisham, a wealthy woman who lives in a manor called Satis House still wearing her old wedding dress, with clocks stopped at twenty minutes to nine and a banquet set, decaying from age. Miss Havisham was jilted by her fiancé on her wedding day, and now she hates all men because of this. That is why she raised her adapted daughter, Estella, to break men’s heart, as a revenge.

 “I loved her against reason, against promise, against peace, against hope, against happiness, against all discouragement that could be.”

When Pip first met Estella, he already fall in love with her. Though Estella sometimes consider him as a good friend, she is usually cold and doesn’t show interest in him. Pip did have a character development throughout the book. He goes through things that force him to be mature, be a great gentleman and he also wants to improve himself. Pip actually had a chance to be a gentleman in London, England at the age of 21 by the help of his “secret benefactor” which happened to be Abel Magwitch, the convict that he helped by giving him food.

“We need never be ashamed of our tears.”

I love this book so much. It’s more than just a story of love; it is a story about the power of conscience and loyalty and that wealth is not really the important thing in this world. It is a story that will stick with you forever. Great Expectations is the first classic book that I have ever read and this is the first novel that I read that was written by Charles Dickens and I am so looking forward to reading more classic books and Dickens’ other literary works. I gave this book a solid 5 out of 5 stars.


About The Author

A prolific 19th Century author of short stories, plays, novellas, novels, fiction and non-fiction; during his lifetime Dickens became known the world over for his remarkable characters, his mastery of prose in the telling of their lives, and his depictions of the social classes, morals and values of his times. Some considered him the spokesman for the poor, for he definitely brought much awareness to their plight, the downtrodden and the have-nots. He had his share of critics, like Virginia Woolf and Henry James, but also many admirers, even into the 21st Century.

7 thoughts on “Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (Book Review)

  1. The quotes are amazing! I read Great Expectations back in high school and because of the writing I couldn’t really appreciate the wonderful story (the words were too what you mentioned “high standard” for me *.*)

    Great review! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s