Great Expectations (Great Illustrated Classics (Abdo))

Great Expectations (Great Illustrated Classics (Abdo))

By Charles Dickens

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Interest LevelReading LevelReading A-ZATOSWord Count
Grades 4 - 8Grade 6n/a5.618470
The orphaned Pip is serving as a blackmith's apprentice when an unknown benefactor supplies the means for him to be educated in London as a gentleman of "great expectations."
Publisher: Abdo Publishing Company
ISBN-13: 9781577656876
ISBN-10: 1577656873
Published on 1/1/2006
Binding: Library Binding
Number of pages: 240

Book Reviews (1)

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Pip, a young orphan living with his older sister and her husband, longs for a better life, one that would make him eligible for marrying the woman of his dreams, Estella. After he is finally given a chance to become a true gentleman, Pip learns important lessons regarding the influence of money and how it can change a person, for the better or for the worse….Great Expectations begins with seven-year-old Pip, a young orphan boy living with his ill-tempered sister and her kind husband, Joe. An aspiring blacksmith apprentice under Joe, Pip yearns for the moment when he and Joe can work in the forge together. But his dreams are quickly erased upon being introduced to Miss Havisham. An eccentric individual who hopes for nothing more than ruining the lives of men as her life was ruined by a man, Miss Havisham invites Pip to her home. Curiously enough, all Miss Havisham wants to watch Pip play with Miss Havisham’s beautiful adopted daughter, Estella. Estella, despite her beauty and charisma, is spoiled and crass much like Miss Havisham. However, despite her poor treatment toward Pip and her undeniable dislike for him, Pip is immediately taken by her beauty and dreams of marrying her. Unfortunately for Pip, he knows that such dreams are far out of reach unless his circumstances change and he becomes an honorable man. An opportunity comes when Mr. Jagger, a lawyer from London, reports to Pip that an anonymous benefactor has given him a large sum of money and hopes for him to create a good life for himself in London. The only conditions are that, one, Pip always is referred to as “Pip”, and two, the identity of the benefactor must remain a secret. Agreeing to the terms, Pip sets out to London for a better life. In London, Pip immediately adapts nicely into his new living conditions. Pip enjoys the pleasures of wealth and the respect and honor that comes along with the large allowance. Unfortunately, Pip, becoming too used to his life and forgetting to live within his means, falls into exponential debt. His wild and expensive life seems to be unraveling as quickly as it began until the arrival of Abel Magwitch. Magwitch, an old convict that once forced Pip to steal as a young boy, is Pip’s generous benefactor. It soon becomes clear, nevertheless, that Magwitch is in severe trouble and must leave London before authorities are notified. Now, Pip must think of a plan that will allow for Magwitch to escape while still keeping Pip’s name clear of any association with the former convict. Along with the predicament involving Magwitch, Pip’s notion that all he had to do to get Estella’s affection was to become a gentleman, is quickly foiled upon meeting Estella once again in London. Engaged to be married and looking at Pip as no more than a chauffeur, Pip realizes that any chance he might have had with Estella have vanished. The book concludes with Estella and Pip meeting once again after about eleven years. Estella, humbled but still exuding beauty and grace, admits to Pip that she threw away his love for her because of her ignorance and pride. The book ends emotionally with the two walking with the shadow of Miss Havisham behind them. Through this story, applications for our lives include the importance of keeping money in check but not an idol and the importance of not thinking ourselves better than others because of our fortunate circumstances. Pip realizes that “Miss Havisham and Estella, their riches and refinement, has changed me permanently!”. The importance of money and the consequences of making it an item for worship is clearly illustrated in this book and warnings are pronounced evidently. Not thinking ourselves higher than other people is also a clear lesson from this story. Estella, seemingly well-to-do and beautiful, had a repulsive attitude towards those she deemed below her. However, at the end of the book, the reader is able to see that, through the challenges of life, Estella had a change in perspective and was humbled. She stated towards the end of the book that “My suffering all these years has come to be a stronger teacher to me than all other teachers. I have been bent and broken, but I hope into a better shape." Her honest and moving words are perhaps the hallmark of this entire book. With its many twists and turns, I would strongly encourage one to not write off this book as an old, non-relevant to modern times story, as I did before I read it. Despite being written in the 1860s, however, Charles Dickens masterfully captures a timeless issue in today’s society: money. Although perhaps not as exciting as a twenty-first century novel, this book has stood the test of time and after reading it, it will become clear why. With that being said, Great Expectations is most definitely a must read because of its important lessons and creative characters. Happy reading!