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Original Essays | August 21, 2014

Richard Bausch: IMG Why Literature Can Save Us



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Great Expectations (Bantam Classics)

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Great Expectations (Bantam Classics) Cover

ISBN13: 9780553213423
ISBN10: 0553213423
Condition: Standard
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Excerpt

Chapter I.

My father's family name being Pirrip, and my christian name Philip, my

infant tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit than

Pip. So, I called myself Pip, and came to be called Pip.

I give Pirrip as my father's family name, on the authority of his tombstone

and my sister - Mrs. Joe Gargery, who married the blacksmith. As I never saw

my father or my mother, and never saw any likeness of either of them (for

their days were long before the days of photographs), my first fancies

regarding what they were like, were unreasonably derived from their

tombstones. The shape of the letters on my father's, gave me an odd idea

that he was a square, stout, dark man, with curly black hair. From the

character and turn of the inscription, "Also Georgiana Wife of the Above,"

I drew a childish conclusion that my mother was freckled and sickly. To

five little stone lozenges, each about a foot and a half long, which were

arranged in a neat row beside their grave, and were sacred to the memory of

five little brothers of mine - who gave up trying to get a living exceedingly

early in that universal struggle - I am indebted for a belief I religiously

entertained that they had all been born on their backs with their hands in

their trousers-pockets, and had never taken them out in this state of

existence.

Ours was the marsh country, down by the river, within as the river wound,

twenty miles of the sea. My first most vivid and broad impression of the

identity of things, seems to me to have been gained on a memorable raw

afternoon towards evening. At such a time I found out for certain, that

this bleak place overgrown with nettles was the churchyard; and that Philip

Pirrip, late of this parish, and also Georgiana wife of the above, were

dead and buried; and that Alexander, Bartholomew, Abraham, Tobias, and

Roger, infant children of the aforesaid, were also dead and buried; and

that the dark flat wilderness beyond the churchyard, intersected with dykes

and mounds and gates, with scattered cattle feeding on it, was the marshes;

and that the low leaden line beyond was the river; and that the distant

savage lair from which the wind was rushing, was the sea; and that the

small bundle of shivers growing afraid of it all and beginning to cry, was

Pip.

"Hold your noise!" cried a terrible voice, as a man started up from among

the graves at the side of the church porch. "Keep still, you little devil,

or I'll cut your throat!"

A fearful man, all in coarse grey, with a great iron on his leg. A man with

no hat, and with broken shoes, and with an old rag tied round his head. A

man who had been soaked in water, and smothered in mud, and lamed by

stones, and cut by flints, and stung by nettles, and torn by briars; who

limped, and shivered, and glared and growled; and whose teeth chattered in

his head as he seized me by the chin.

"Oh! Don't cut my throat, sir," I pleaded in terror. "Pray don't do it,

sir."

"Tell us your name!" said the man. "Quick!"

"Pip, sir."

"Once more," said the man, staring at me. "Give it mouth!"

From the Trade Paperback edition.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

alyssaarch, January 8, 2012 (view all comments by alyssaarch)
Of all the works I have read by Dickens so far, Great Expectations is the best, hands down. The plot is interesting -- Pip falls in love with Estella when they are very young and develops "expectations" to be a gentleman so he can be worthy of her. Later on, he gets a sponsor who pays for him to become a gentleman. It's a typical coming of age story, focusing on Pip's growth and development and his realizations about the mistakes he's made in life. What makes this novel extraordinary is the characters. Each of them is complex and multi-dimensional, with full backgrounds and oddities that make them unique. Pip's brother-in-law Joe is by far one of my favorite characters of all time. Because the characterization is incredible, I was completely involved with this story, my emotions changing along with the novel's progression.

I'm not a fan of the tacked-on ending. All the characters got what they deserved, which I appreciated, but the last chapter felt especially rushed. However, the pacing for the rest of the novel was perfect, so I would say that this is a minor complaint.
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Emily Keeling, December 12, 2009 (view all comments by Emily Keeling)
Very possibly the most endearing novel ever written, this will delight readers.
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(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780553213423
Introduction:
Irving, John
Author:
Irving, John
Author:
Dickens, Charles
Publisher:
Bantam Classics
Location:
New York ;
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
Classics
Subject:
Novels and novellas
Subject:
British and irish
Subject:
Young men
Subject:
Bildungsromane.
Subject:
England Social life and customs.
Subject:
Young men - England
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
fiction;classic;classics;literature;19th century;novel;england;victorian;british;dickens;british literature;english literature;english;coming of age;charles dickens;london;orphans;bildungsroman;classic literature;romance;historical fiction;britain;orphan;
Subject:
fiction;classic;classics;literature;19th century;novel;england;victorian;british;dickens;british literature;english literature;english;coming of age;charles dickens;london;orphans;bildungsroman;classic literature;romance;historical fiction;britain;orphan;
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Mass market paperback
Series:
Bantam Classics
Series Volume:
v. 1
Publication Date:
19820831
Binding:
MASS MARKET
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
560
Dimensions:
6.9 x 4.1 x .9 in .55 lb

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Product details 560 pages Bantam Classics - English 9780553213423 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , "Great Expectations" is at once a superbly constructed novel of spellbinding mastery and a profound examination of moral values. Here, some of Dickens's most memorable characters come to play their part in a story whose title itself reflects the deep irony that shaped Dickens's searching reappraisal of the Victorian middle class.
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