‘Great Expectations’ still relevant to youth today

Cover of Great Expectations

Cover of Great Expectations

Great Expectations is one of the most popular novels ever to be written. Though it was published over two centuries ago, its themes about life are still relevant to youth today.  The themes in combination with the strongly developed characters, powerful descriptions, and suspenseful plot make the novel an excellent read.

Cover of Great Expectations

The plot follows orphaned Pip Pirrips through the changes of his life from boyhood to adulthood. He experiences relatable life issues, like an abrasive adult figure, a low self-esteem, and an unattainable love interest.

Pip seems completely average until something spectacular happens to him. He is transformed from a coarse, common boy into a gentleman of society when a mysterious man brings news of an anonymous benefactor.  The book focuses on this transformation in Pip because of his “Great Expectations.”

The plot, while dull at certain points, will leave readers’ jaws on the floors at others, with interesting twists and turns in the climax. Unexpected events unfold to develop a plot that reels you in and then hooks you instantly.

The characters are complex but well developed. Charles Dickens reveals the characters through not only their words but also their actions. This method of characterization is extremely successful, allowing readers to truly get a sense of each character’s thoughts, feelings, and views. Readers will fall in love with characters like Herbert Pocket and despise others like Mrs. Joe.

Dickens’ strong use of figurative language and other literary devices contribute both positively and negatively to the novel. Some descriptions are redundant and irrelevant. In contrast, certain descriptions are so clear the reader can place their self in the novel.

Dickens’ writing reveals more than characters, plot, and setting. There are strong and inspiring messages about love, wealth, and social classes in between the lines. The novel’s teachings seal the deal and create an almost perfect piece of literature.

There are some flaws to the work, however. The novel’s biggest pitfalls are its vocabulary and length. Many of the words in the novel are so uncommon in our society today that reading it required the use of a dictionary and thesaurus. The novel is 59 chapters, totaling to more than 500 pages. A novel of that size requires an extended amount of time to read, comprehend, and get the full experience. Such a large novel also seems to drag on at certain points, like the climax and plot leading up to, and rush through the conclusion, leaving the reader with unanswered questions about the ending. This is the case for Great Expectations. The first part of the novel could have been less detailed and a stronger emphasis could have been placed on the ending.

But the novel’s strengths overpower its pitfalls and create a classic novel that is a must-read for any and everyone.