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Free Study Guide for Great Expectations by Charles Dickens-Book Summary


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1. What is the Bildungsroman genre and how well does Great Expectations fit into it? Trace Pip’s development under the definition of Bildungsroman using specific examples.

2. Identify the basic plot twists in each of the three stages of Pip’s great expectations.

3. Several of the characters’ names are a symbolic reflection of their personalities. Make a list of them, and explain the appropriateness of their names?

4. Trace the events that cause Pip to erroneously believe Miss Havisham is his patron. List specific scenes and events that support his assumption.

5. Discuss Mr. Wopsle as a comic foil to Pip.

6. Several of the characters seem transformed from bad to good, starting with Mrs. Joe. Make a list and explain how and why they are transformed.

7. Though “great expectations” seem to be the true antagonist in the novel, there are some characters who also provide conflict in Pip’s journey. Who are they? Comment on each of them as “villains”?

8. Dickens seems to be making a criticism of class differences in society in this novel. Discuss Estella as an example of Dickens’ social commentary. This discussion should include references to her parents as well as her upbringing under Miss Havisham.

9. How is irony used in the novel?

10. Compare and contrast the following characters: Estella and Biddy, Joe and Magwitch, Jaggers and Wemmick, Orlick and Compeyson





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