Author: Charles Dickens
How do we know who we are? What makes us who we are? These are the questions which crosses our minds when we read Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens. Written in 1860-61, it is a book full of classic Dickensian humour mixed with the typical touches of tragedy which this writer excels at. It is a story about rich and poor people, about good and evil people, and about how these terms are often mistaken.
When the main character, Pip, inherits a small fortune, he is sent to London to study and become a gentleman, though he does not know who his benefactor is. He soon neglects his former friends and family, thinking he is now superior to them because he has money and manners. When he finds out who it is that gave him the money and after suffering a series of unfortunate events, Pip finally gets to know who he really is.
Pip starts off his story as a good boy who changes drastically when he becomes rich. His psychological and emotional journey makes the reader feel embarrassed sometimes, sad at other times, and proud in the end, when Pip redeems himself for his mistakes along the story. The author writes him in a very human way, which means that, despite being so flawed, you can empathize with him and understand him.
Apart from being the main character, Pip is also the narrator of the story, his own story. He tells it as if it were his auto-biography. The writing feels very natural and honest, though sometimes it is a bit difficult to understand because some of the vocabulary dates back from the 19th century. Fortunately, there is a glossary at the end of the book to help us.
Some details of the narrative made me angry because I didn’t agree with them. For a few days I’ve been mad at Mr Dickens for taking some of the characters in directions I wouldn’t have done, and yet I can see why he did so. This is a realistic story and therefore actions cannot take place without consequences. However, I cannot help but think that those consequences were a little too much. All in all and despite my initial anger, I must recommend you this book, for it is a good story of morals that really touches your heart.