Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, John Bowen (Introduction and Notes), F. W. Pailthorpe (Illustrator), Paperback, 423 pages, Published 2007 by Wordsworth (first published August 1861)
Considered by many to be Dickens' finest novel, Great Expectations traces the growth of the book's narrator, Philip Pirrip (Pip), from a boy of shallow dreams to a man with depth of character. From its famous dramatic opening on the bleak Kentish marshes, the story abounds with some of Dickens' most memorable characters. Among them are the kindly blacksmith Joe Gargery, the mysterious convict Abel Magwitch, the eccentric Miss Havisham and her beautiful ward Estella, Pip's good-hearted room-mate Herbert Pocket and the pompous Pumblechook. As Pip unravels the truth behind his own 'great expectations' in his quest to become a gentleman, the mysteries of the past and the convolutions of fate through a series of thrilling adventures serve to steer him towards maturity and his most important discovery of all - the truth about himself.
S1: E2 Initially mentioned during Rory's first day at Chilton in her English Literature class, the teacher discusses Russian literature, and how it was influenced by both English and French culture. He references Russian author Count Leo Tolstoy being inspired by Dickens' novels.
TEACHER: Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities, Little Dorrit, all major influences on Leo Tolstoy. Tomorrow we will focus on writing styles of these two literary masters, Tolstoy and Dickens. Class dismissed.
S6: E12 Logan is trying to win Rory back after a miscommunication where Rory assumed the two were on a break and Logan thought they were broken up. He attempts to win her back by visiting Lorelai and asking her to use her influence with Rory on his behalf. Lorelai writes a letter to Rory, sealed from Logan's eyes, which he delivers to Rory's doorstep in an attempt at another chance for their future together. She agrees to dinner at an ambiguous date.
Dickens' work has an ambiance of being intimidating and inaccessible to the average reader. The succession of novels and discussion topics being used in Rory's English class are a wake-up call to the level of difficulty in academia that is expected in the preparatory school, the school work will be a challenge even to Rory. She was to understand the influence of American and French culture from a multitude of authors behind the famous works of Russian Literature and complete a test on the material simply to catch up to her peers. Just as Pip found in the pursuit of becoming a gentleman, Rory finds that Chilton will require personal growth, coming with its own set of obstacles from which you will be changed. After all, this is a school of "great expectations". Welcome to Chilton, Rory!
As always, one of the most beloved features of Gilmore girls is the rapid-fire dialogue and the input of an intelligent reference used in daily life. It is remarked from Amy Sherman-Palladino herself that these are women that take in a lot of information and like to absorb whatever they're involving themselves in, from reading literature to keeping up with current events in politics and daily cultural news. Therefore these types of remarks were commonplace for the girls and used humorously between themselves as shown above in the letter concealed from Logan.
"My sister's bringing-up had made me sensitive. In the little world in which children have their existence, whosoever bring them up, there is nothing so finely perceived and so finely felt, as injustice." - Chapter 8
"It is the same with any life. Imagine one selected day struck out of it, and think how different its course would have been. Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day." - Chapter 9
"Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlaying our hard hearts. I was better after I had cried than before - more sorry, more aware of my own ingratitude, more gentle." - Chapter 19
I quite enjoyed the humor involved, with witty quips and the mixing up of expectations and overall message. It was especially funny in Chapter 4 when Pip relates himself to a medium for being the mover of the spirts and tar-water. The very ending of the novel also picked up in the conclusion of adventures and romance.
WHAT THE WHAT?:
After 22 years of marriage and 10 children, Charles Dickens famously dumped his wife, Catherine Dickens, in 1858. Using his influence and celebrity, he proclaimed that Catherine was mentally unbalanced and an unfit wife and mother. He then led a life with Ellen Ternan, whom Estella is based upon.
Being that there are two versions of a conclusion to the book, it makes me wonder which ending best fit Dicken's life with Estella, did either participant learn their lesson of suffering? It was said that Dicken's editor believed his audience wanted the current happy ending, but a modern critic will tell you the original tone fits the novel more completely.
CARO'S RATING: 2 of 5 STARS
This novel was particularly hard for me to voluntarily pick up and continue reading. It took too much effort to get to the heart of the story, and I found many of the side-stories and multitude of characters distracting. The beginning of the book I found to be more enjoyable than when he became a man of means, which I imagine relates to sympathizing with a young Pip. The message of suffering was thorough, however, but I think the overall trope of the main character learning to "be careful what you wish for" was somewhat disheartening. Had it ended with Dicken's original conclusion, I believe that the message would have been better adapted and fit more closely with the mood of the story.
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