Great Expectations

Charles Dickens: "Great Expectations"

"Great Expectations" describes the life of Philip Perrip, called Pip. It is told by Pip himself (first - person narrator).
The story is of danger, exitement and adventure, but also describes relationships, characters, the feeling of love and differences between classes in society.

There are three stages of Pip's life throughout the story.
The first stage is of Pips childhood.

Pip who is brought up by his sister and her husband Joe, the local blacksmith, has got Great Expectations. This means that a secret benefactor pays for him to become a gentleman. Pip suspects Miss Havisham, a weird, old and rich woman to whose house he has been invited to play at a lot of times when he was young.
Pip is in love with Estella, a very beautiful but proud and self - possessed girl brought up by Miss Havisham, her mother by adoption.
The second stage is when Pip lives in London for being educated. He gets to know why Miss Havisham is so strange and Estella brought up so proud and cold - hearted.
"His convict" appears on scene. Pip had brought him food, whiskey and an iron file when being a child he met this fearful stranger out in the marshes.
In the third stage of Pip's life Pip gets to know who the secret benefactor was that provided him with money all the years. He learns about the family relations of Estella, the relations between Miss Havisham and the convict who do not even know each other and he finds out who had killed his sister when he was still living with her and Joe. All these discoveries make his life turn out very differnet from what he had hoped it to be.

Charles Dickens was born in Portsmouth, England in 1812. His father John was a clerk with the navy and was sent to prison because of dept. His family living in London was very poor. Charles was the second oldest of eight children and was taught to read by his mother.
Charles started writing for newspapers and had his first literary success with "The Pickwick Papers". At the age of 24 he was already famous. In 1836 he married Catherine Hogarth and they had ten children. "Great Expectations" was written while he and his wife were in process of seperating and life was hardly ideal. In 1859 he finally seperated from his wife. Because of many different activities such as work for charities his health suffered and he died suddenly in 1870.
Charles Dickens wrote about 20 novels which appeared in weekly or monthly parts. Some of the most famous books are "Oliver Twist", "Nicholas Nickleby", "A Chrismas Carol" (one of five Chrismas books), "Hard Times", "Great Expectations" and "David Copperfield".

Charles Dickens: "Great Expectations"

Chapter 7

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We went into the house by a side door, and the first thing I noticed was that the passages were all dark, and that she had left a candle burning there. She took it up and went through more passages and up some stairs, and still it was all dark, and only the candle lit our way.
At last we came to the door of a room, and she said, "Go in." She walked away and took the candle with her.
This was very uncomfortable, and I was half afraid. However, I knocked at the door, and was told from within to enter. I entered, and found myself in quite a large room, well - lit with candles. No daylight was to be seen in it. There was a fine lady's dressing table, and in an armchair, with an elbow resting on the table and her head leaning on that hand, sat the strangest lady I have ever seen, or shall ever see.
She was dressed in rich materials - all of white. Her shoes were white. And she had a long white veil hanging from her hair, and she had wedding flowers in her hair, but her hair was white. Some bright jewels shone on her neck and on her hands, and some other jewels lay beside her on the table. She had not quite finished dressing, for she had only one shoe on - the other was on the table near her hand - and her watch and chain were not put on.
Everything within my view which ought to be white had been white long ago, and was now faded and yellow. The old woman within the wedding dress had faded like the dress, and had no brightness left except in her sunken eyes.
She looked at me. I would have cried out, if I could.
"Who is it?" she said.
"Pip, madam."
"Mr. Pumblechook's boy, madam. Come - to play."
"Come nearer; let me look at you. Come close."
It was when I stood before her, avoiding her eyes, that I took note of the surrounding objects in detail, and saw that her watch had stopped at twenty minutes to nine, and that a clock in the room had stopped at twenty minutes to nine.
"Look at me," said Miss Havisham. "You are not afraid of a woman who has never seen the sun since you were born?" I answered, "No", but that was a lie.

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