Free Study Guide for Great Expectations by Charles Dickens-Book Summary
Dickens, being a much loved author, started the public reading of his works in 1853; this activity continued until 1870, when he gave his final public reading. He suffered a stroke on June 8, 1870, at Gad's Hill, the estate he had bought. He died on June 9, 1870. He was buried in Westminster Abbey, and his unfinished work, The Mystery of Edward Drood, appeared in September.
Dickens, who addressed social issues and historic events with penetrating insight, is regarded as the greatest British author of all times. The power of his novels, which are rich, diverse, and intense, lies in his ability to report accurately and to transform the ordinary into something magical. His concern for modern society is evident in all his novels. He emerges as a social reformer with a deep compassion for the working class. His works, which are complex, deep, and perceptive, are also marked with melodramatic intensity and humor. Many of his themes and images are recurrent. The image of a corrupt judicial system, especially the condition of prisons, occupies a central spot in both Bleak House and Little Dorrit. At times, Dickens exposes the humorous face of a sadly comic world with which he has gradually become disillusioned. He presents the failures of both business ethics and revolutionary zeal. In A Tale of Two Cities, he depicts both the excitement and the chaos of revolution.
Charles Dickens was a prolific writer of quality works that have remained popular through the years for their intensity and social conscience. In spite of his lack of formal education, he reveals in his novels a mastery of the English language and a sophisticated depth of thought that has endeared him to many generations of students and readers.
Great Expectations was published serially in Dickensí weekly periodical, All the Year Round, from December 1860 until June 1861. This serialization was done in order to restore the dwindling readership of the magazine and was a wonderful success. There have been countless adaptations of the novel for the stage and screen and it is often credited as Dickensí greatest work.
Some critics and historians suggest that Dickens wrote Great Expectations from an autobiographical perspective, drawing on his own experience as a discontent child. As well, two literary terms are commonly used in describing the style and development of Great Expectations. First, the novel is picaresque. This term applies to plots that are episodic in nature. As a serial novel, Great Expectations is necessarily picaresque. Pipís story is told in small portions, each chapter having a self-contained event or situation that combines with the others to form the greater plot. Second, the novel is in the Bildungsroman genre. This means the main characterís self-development comes about as a result of trying to find his place in society. Some common elements of the Bildungsroman genre are the following: discontentment with society and oneís lot in life, a long and difficult maturation period in which the discontented lashes out against the world, and a resolution in which he is restored to the world and renewed or invigorated with his place in the world.
All Content Copyright©TheBestNotes. All Rights Reserved.
No further distribution without written consent.
570 Users Online | This page has been viewed 3863 times
This page was last updated on 5/9/2017 8:50:26 AM
Cite this page:
TheBestNotes.com Staff. "TheBestNotes on Great Expectations".
. 09 May 2017