Update
Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD REFERENCE (www.oxfordreference.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single entry from a reference work in OR for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 19 May 2022

Great Expectations 

Source:
The Oxford Companion to English Literature
Author(s):
Dinah BirchDinah Birch

A novel by Charles *Dickens, which first appeared in All the Year Round 1860–61, in volume form 1861. It describes the development of the character of the narrator, Philip Pirrip, commonly known as ‘Pip’, a village boy brought up by his tyrannical sister, the wife of the gentle blacksmith Joe Gargery. He is introduced to the house of Miss Havisham, who, half‐crazed by the desertion of her lover on her bridal night, has brought up the girl Estella to use her beauty as a means of torturing men. Pip falls in love with Estella, and aspires to become a gentleman. Money and expectations of more wealth come to him from a mysterious source, which he believes to be Miss Havisham. He goes to London, and in his new mode of life meanly abandons the devoted Joe Gargery, a humble connection of whom he is now ashamed. Misfortunes come upon him. His benefactor proves to be an escaped convict, Abel Magwitch, whom he, as a boy, had helped; his great expectations fade away and he is penniless. Estella marries his sulky enemy Bentley Drummle, by whom she is cruelly ill treated. Taught by adversity, Pip returns to Joe Gargery and honest labour, and is finally reunited with Estella, who has also learnt her lesson. Other notable characters in the book are Joe's uncle, the impudent old impostor Pumblechook; Jaggers, the skilful Old Bailey lawyer, and his good‐hearted clerk Wemmick; and Pip's friend in London, Herbert Pocket. ... ...

Access to the complete content on Oxford Reference requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.