Great Expectations

Great Expectations
Image source: Google

Rating: 4.3/5

Author: Charles Dickens

Paperback: 482 pages

Publisher: Amazing Reads (2010)

Language: English

Genre: Classic fiction

ISBN-10: 9788193387665

ISBN-13: 978-8193387665

ASIN: 819338766X

Cost: Rs. 118 (Paperback), Rs. 143 (Hardcover)


When seven-year-old orphan Pip meets Estella, the adopted daughter of the wealthy spinster Miss Havisham, he falls in love with her despite her cold and contemptuous ways. Pip is determined to escape poverty and become a gentleman to win Estella’s affections. Miss Havisham, however, arranges for him to become merely a common labourer in his brother-in-law’s business, disappointing Pip greatly. But the arrival of a lawyer from London gives Pip hope when he learns that he has a secret, wealthy benefactor. Pip travels to London to begin his education as a gentleman, still hoping to endear himself to Estella. Then, one day, a boyhood kind deed returns, altering the course of Pip’s life when he learns the identity of his benefactor… Great Expectations is one of Charles Dickens’s finest and most well received novels – a coming-of-age story about social ambition, love, crime and the disappointment of expectations.


Great Expectations contains a variety of literary genres, including the bildungsroman, gothic novel, crime novel, as well as comedy, melodrama and satire; and it belongs—like Wuthering Heights and the novels of Walter Scott—to the romance rather than realist tradition of the novel. Great Expectations is not an autobiography but a novel, a work of fiction with plot and characters, featuring a narrator-protagonist. In addition, Sylvère Monod notes that the treatment of the autobiography differs from David Copperfield, as Great Expectations does not draw from events in Dickens's life; “at most some traces of a broad psychological and moral introspection can be found.”

According to Paul Davis, Great Expectations is in many ways a poetic work built around recurring symbolic images.

Dickens possess a singularly wide, clear, and minute power of accurate observation, both of things and of persons; but his observation, keen and true to actualities as it independently is. The humorous characterization is joyously exaggerated into caricature,--the serious characterization into romantic unreality.

The themes that are highlighted in this book includes- Wealth, Gentility, Moral regeneration, Conscience, Imperialism. One of the most important themes of the novel is Pip’s uneasiness about social class. This gives Dickens the opportunity to comment on the socio-economic issues of Georgian and Victorian England, and how the different classes were affected by the same. The novel is rooted in the social realities of Dickens’s times.

This book can be a entirely new experience, for it has all the shades: moments of suspense, passion or realization.


Film and television

  • 1917 – Great Expectations, a silent film, starring Jack Pickford, directed by Robert G. Vignola. This is a lost film.
  • 1922 – Silent film, and the first adaptation not in English, made in Denmark, starring Martin Herzberg, directed by A. W. Sandberg.
  • 1934 – Great Expectations film starring Phillips Holmes and Jane Wyatt, directed by Stuart Walker.
  • 1946 – Great Expectations, the most celebrated film version, starring John Mills as Pip, Bernard Miles as Joe, Alec Guinness as Herbert, Finlay Currie as Magwitch, Martita Hunt as Miss Havisham, Anthony Wager as Young Pip, Jean Simmons as Young Estella and Valerie Hobson as the adult Estella, directed by David Lean. It came fifth in a 1999 BFI poll of the top 100 British films.
  • 1954 – the first television adaptation shown as two-part television version starring Roddy McDowall as Pip and Estelle Winwood as Miss Havisham. It aired as an episode of the show Robert Montgomery Presents.
  • 1959 – BBC television version aired in 13 parts, starring Dinsdale Landen as Pip, Helen Lindsay as Estella, Colin Jeavons as Herbert Pocket, Marjorie Hawtrey as Miss Havisham and Derek Benfield as Landlord.
  • 1967 – BBC television serial starring Gary Bond as Pip and Francesca Annis. BBC issued the series on DVD in 2017.
  • 1974 – Great Expectations – a film starring Michael York as Pip and Simon Gipps-Kent as Young Pip, Sarah Miles and James Mason, directed by Joseph Hardy.
  • 1981 – Great Expectations – a BBC serial starring Stratford Johns, Gerry Sundquist, Joan Hickson, Patsy Kensit and Sarah-Jane Varley. Produced by Barry Letts, and directed by Julian Amyes.
  • 1983 – an animated version, starring Phillip Hinton, Liz Horne, Robin Stewart and Bill Kerr, adapted by Alexander Buzo.
  • 1989 – Great Expectations, a Disney Channel two-part film starring Anthony Hopkins as Magwitch, John Rhys-Davies as Joe Gargery, and Jean Simmons as Miss Havisham, directed by Kevin Connor.
  • 1998 – Great Expectations, a film starring Ethan Hawke and Gwyneth Paltrow, directed by Alfonso Cuarón. This adaptation is set in contemporary New York, and renames Pip to Finn and Miss Havisham to Nora Dinsmoor. The film's score was composed by Patrick Doyle.
  • 1999 – Great Expectations, a film starring Ioan Gruffudd as Pip, Justine Waddell as Estella, and Charlotte Rampling as Miss Havisham (Masterpiece Theatre—TV)
  • 2000 - Pip, an episode of the television show South Park, starring Matt Stone as Pip, Eliza Schneider as Estella, and Trey Parker as Miss Havisham.
  • 2011 – Great Expectations, a three-part BBC serial. Starring Ray Winstone as Magwitch, Gillian Anderson as Miss Havisham and Douglas Booth as Pip.
  • 2012 – Great Expectations, a film directed by Mike Newell, starring Ralph Fiennes as Magwitch, Helena Bonham Carter as Miss Havisham and Jeremy Irvine as Pip.
  • 2012 – Magwitch, a film written and directed by Samuel Supple, starring Samuel Edward Cook as Magwitch, Candis Nergaard as Molly and David Verrey as Jaggers. The film is a prequel to Great Expectations made for the Dickens bicentenary. It was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival and the Morelia International Festival.
  • 2016 - Fitoor, film adaptation by Abhishek Kapoor, starring Aditya Roy Kapoor and Katrina Kaif.

About the Author:

Charles John Huffam Dickens (7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. His works enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime, and by the 20th century, critics and scholars had recognised him as a literary genius. Great Expectations is the thirteenth novel by Charles Dickens and his penultimate completed novel. It is Dickens's second novel, after David Copperfield, to be fully narrated in the first person. The novel was first published as a serial in Dickens's weekly periodical All the Year Round, from 1 December 1860 to August 1861. In October 1861, Chapman and Hall published the novel in three volumes.