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June 22, 2024
Book Reviews

After reading “Great Expectations”, I finally know why Dickens is Dickens


In a sense, Dickens is the spokesman of the world’s famous works. When I was in college, I read a part of Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. Unfortunately, I didn’t know the meaning of reading at that time, and I was not so obsessed with books as I am now. Although I read them, I did not have a brain and forgot all the contents. To be careful, “Great Expectations” should be the first book that I read Dickens carefully.

I have read this book for more than a month. On the one hand, the work pressure increases, and there is almost no time to read. On the other hand, “Great Expectations”, like many world famous books, has some characteristics: they are not as attractive at the beginning as some best-selling books, and the plot is compact, with a lot of “burdens”, and sufficient materials. World famous books often give people the feeling of high and cold, “keep people away from thousands of miles”. For example, “One Hundred Years of Solitude”, “For whom the Bell tolls” and “Wuthering Heights” all have the same feeling. Without some patience, I’m afraid I just read the beginning and want to press it to the bottom of the box. However, if you can persist in reading one third, it will be difficult for you to stop.

After reading “Great Expectations”, I finally know why Dickens is Dickens. Although many of the details in front of you can’t remember clearly by the time you read the last page, it’s not important. What’s important is that after reading these words, you suddenly feel that the whole world has become pure, as if all the dust has fallen, and time slowly flows through your eyes. It seems that you have just experienced a life, and then open your eyes again, all the good and evil of life you have experienced before have become the past. This feeling is wonderful, which other books can’t bring to me. This is enough to prove the magic of Dickens’ writing, which is absolutely amazing!


The Great Future is Dickens’ masterpiece in his later years. The background of the story has been from Christmas Eve in 1812 to the winter of 1840. It tells the three life stages of the protagonist Pip from the age of 7. The book is also divided into three parts. I like the third part most. This is almost the summary of Dickens’ efforts to understand life and human nature. The story has thus moved from apathy to warmth. The ending part is deeply moving.

Pip, Havisham, Estella, and McGovery are the key figures in the author’s weaving of the whole story. Dickens skillfully designed a complex story with these characters. “Cut and cut”. The development and turning point of the story is quite unexpected. The four characters have experienced a reversal from evil to good. The author reveals the profound philosophy of life through the story’s progression.

Pip will leave it to the next part for a moment. The first thing I want to say is Miss Havisham.

Even after reading the whole book, I still remember this scene: Miss Havisham was wearing the bride’s wedding dress, sitting in a wheelchair, still facing the wedding cake covered with spider webs. Decades have passed, and Miss Havisham’s clock will always stay at that moment – she is looking forward to the groom, just as people are waiting for Godot who will never come

This scene is also the root of Miss Havisham’s inner abnormality. After she was abandoned by the groom on the wedding night, she hated the men in the world. Instead of putting down the history and looking for new happiness, she chose to graft her hatred on her adopted daughter, Estella, and tried to let her revenge more men who loved her by virtue of her beauty. Pip was one of the victims.

“I know clearly that she did a grievous and terrible mistake, teaching an innocent girl the same as her, with hatred in her heart, repressing her love and hurting her self-esteem, as a means of revenge; I also know clearly that she kept the sun out, leaving more things out forever; she was isolated from the world…”

Such a resentful woman has not only harmed her own life, but also the life of Estella. However, on the day when people finally woke up, Ha Weixiang chose to burn herself to end her life. Unexpectedly, Pip, who had been regarded as a tool by her, saved her; Estella also woke up after a tragic life, and finally became friends with Pip, who loved her dearly.

However, McGonagall, the “evil” in the eyes of the world, is actually sincere, kind and considerate. He was forced to do illegal things, but he did not lose humanity and love after all. He, the person Pip hates most and wants to escape most, created Pip at all costs and pulled Pip back from the edge of good.


In the preface of the translation, there is a sentence: “Vanity and laziness gain without work, just like building a tower on the sand, but ultimately a void.” This short sentence can almost be seen as a condensed summary of the large part of more than 500 pages, which is too classic. Pip’s experience was changed by a sudden property, which once made him proud and indifferent, and lost part of his humanity. But when he lost everything and became destitute again, it seemed like a nightmare. He finally understood sincerity and love, and what was the most precious wealth of life.

The reality is as described by Dickens. The extremes of things will reverse. The rich are not necessarily happy, and the poor are not necessarily unhappy. As Pip said, “When I was tired, I often thought that if I had never met Miss Havisham, but had grown up in that honest and old blacksmith’s shop as Joe’s partner, I would be happier and better than I am now. In the evening, when I sat alone by the fireplace and looked at the fire, I didn’t know how many times I thought that there would be no blacksmith’s shop or old kitchen fire anywhere.”

After experiencing this baptism of fate, Pip missed the “great future” that he had dreamed of, but it was a blessing in disguise. He learned that happiness and wealth can only be achieved through his own efforts. “I felt in a trance that since I left the kitchen in my hometown, have I just had a high fever and suffered from mental distress for many years, and now I have recovered as usual?” Pip finally woke up from that luxurious dream.

There are a few sentences in this novel that I like very much. The excerpts are as follows:

1) Honesty and kindness are the foundation of a person, and self-improvement and pragmatism are the source of success; Vanity and laziness are like building a tower on the sand, but ultimately nothing but emptiness.

2) If you can’t sustain an unusual person by taking the right path, you can’t take the wrong path for an unusual person. You can’t lie again, Pip. Live decently and die happily.

3) In our life, the most weak and despicable things are often done for the people we most despise.

4) Any cheater in the world is not worth mentioning compared with those who cheat themselves.

5) The imminent death is terrible, but the fear of being wronged after death is more terrible than death.


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