Great Expectations


I don't know if this was my first time through or if I have merely forgotten a great deal of the plot, or if I only made it part way on one of my reads.

I don't think I need to recap the plot or provide any real detail. Most of you know it through direct acquaintance, or nodding acquaintance with one of the many films that have come from it.

In Chesterton's overview of Dickens's works, he remarks that Great Expectations is a work of Dickens's afternoon. I would say closer to late afternoon or evening. Chesterton also points out some of the charms of this book. He says it has a older, softer, rounder cynicism, a quality practically unknown in Dickens's works. He also points out that Pip is unique among Dickens's characters in being an anti-hero (although he did not have that word to use.)

My impressions--the story of maturing, and of the great loss suffered by those who choose to snub on the basis of some snobbery. A story in which the anti-hero ultimately rises to be a hero, but we hear nothing of his heroic exploits.

Beautifully written, Dickens at his very best--round, mature, fully ripened prose--not a sentence or description out of place. Dickens' may have written to be paid by the word, but he did not pad this work. Every word carries its weight and the end result is exceedingly weighty indeed.

If you have missed this work somehow, make it a point to take it up at the next opportunity. If you have read it before, set aside some time to reacquaint yourself with it. It is prose that rewards rereading and a story that has surprising depth and direction.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on October 6, 2005 6:29 PM.

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