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Kid reads: ‘Great Expectations’

March 2, 2009

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Few of us grasp the meaning of life during our early years. Our existence, the very factor controlling us, draws its veil to shield us from dark secrets and lessons. However, what happens to one whose life has turned upside down? Charles Dickens’ “Great Expectations” illustrates the struggle, disappointment, wrath and jealously of one youthful soul, Pip.

Dickens sets the novel in 19th-century England. The author introduces Pip, the protagonist, by having him wander the southern English marshes on a late, winter day. Pip, unconscious of a convict spying on him, finds himself observing the tombs of both his parents. Suddenly, a starving, limping, ragged man seizes Pip and demands food, water and a file. Pip delivers the materials, and the convict disappears.

Not long after that incident, Pip starts entertaining Miss Havisham, an arcane, heartbroken woman. Miss Havisham lives in Satis House with her proud, adopted daughter, Estella. Estella’s incredible beauty enthralls Pip, but the vixen will not heed the country boy. Pip keeps company for Miss Havisham and Estella for a few months. Not long after he stops, Pip receives news that a benefactor bestowed an enormous amount of money to support and educate Pip in London.

In London, Pip encounters an aberrant barrister, a debonair companion and a churlish adversary. Suddenly, a mysterious man appears at Pip’s door. A couple of days later, Pip finds out that an escaped prisoner wants to harm him. Who could want to kill Pip? Will Pip survive the challenge?

“Great Expectations” ties together drama, adventure and romance to conjure the ultimate classic. This novel express-ively illustrates one person’s journey from boyhood to manhood and offers a unique view on the secrets of life. After all, the paths exist. You just need to choose the one you want to take.

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