Great Expectations is an exceptional novel by Charles Dickens. It was written in 1860-61 and was published in monthly installments. It proved to be a huge success at the time, which led to it being published as a book. Even before Great Expectation was written Dickens had already become a popular writer and was a major Victorian public figure, but this had not always been the case for Dickens. He was born in 1812, his father worked as a clerk at the Navy Pay Office.
They lived in Portsmouth, and then in Chatham near the Thames marshes where Dickens spent some of his childhood, interestingly this is also the place where Great Expectations is set. Dickens’s father John Dickens got in severe financial troubles, which led him to being imprisoned at Marshlea Prison. Due to the difficult circumstances Charles Dickens had to leave school and work in a blacking warehouse where he earned 6 Schillings per week to help the family. This was a very embarrassing experience for Dickens and he never forgot it.
He alter worked in a law firm before changing on to be a journalist. He then published “The Pickwick Papers” which didn’t take long to get popular; it was at that time Charles Dickens’s family fortunes started to change, although his private life wasn’t that successful. His marriage with Catherine Hogarth came to an end, despite the fact that it brought him ten children; on the other hand it also delivered unhappiness and frustration. How ever Dickens managed to buy Gad’s Hill, the mansion he used to admire as a kid and also thought to be the original of Satis House in Great Expectations.
The novel Great Expectation is about a young orphaned boy called Philip Pirrip, also known as Pip. He lives with his sister and brother in law (a blacksmith) Mr. ; Mrs. Joe Gargery. One day he meets a run away criminal in the churchyard, who makes Pip steal different objects from his own house. Pip also hopes to become a blacksmith when he grows up and for this purpose he used to help Mr. Gargery in his work. Pip is then invited to “play” at a very rich women’s house, who is Miss Havisham, the lady who got abandoned by her groom on her wedding day.
The house was called Satis House, Pip also met Estella there and fell in love with her. Pip had thought that Miss Havisham would help him become a gentleman but she only helps him get an apprenticed as a laborer with Mr. Joe. How ever when the news of a mysterious benefactor who had great expectations of him and had given him a large fortune arrives by Mr. Jaggers (a lawyer), Pip thinks that it’s Miss Havisham who is his secret benefactor.
Pip then travels to London to study as a gentleman; there he also starts to work in Mr.Jaggers’s law firm. This is about the time from where Pip’s own fortunes start to change. Furthermore, when Pip goes to Satis house he is offered apology by Miss Havisham for her improper behavior and seeks forgiveness from Pip, and he does that. Later that day Miss Havisham is burned by accident. After several years he finds Estella has been married and widowed. Pip is also made aware of the fact that it was Magwitch the runaway convict who had been his secret benefactor by Magwitch himself.