Great Expectations is a bildungsroman (‘coming of age’) novel about Phillip Pirrip, affectionately known as Pip. He is raised by his sister and brother-in-law Joe, the local blacksmith. As a boy from a low-class family, Pip receives a shock when he is told of an unknown benefactor who desires him to live as a London gentleman, worthy of great expectations. The rest of the novel follows Pip’s various exploits during his time in London.
It took me a while to appreciate Great Expectations, because some chapters overly long or had particularly verbose language. The story-line also took a while to advance.
On a more positive note, I really enjoyed reading scenes between Pip and Joe – Joe’s heart-warming affection towards Pip, the son he never had, and his ability to see the goodness in people was lovely.
My favourite character was, without a doubt, Miss Havisham because I found the melancholy atmosphere, in which she shrouds herself, absolutely captivating. Furthermore, the strong connotations of death and neglect reminded me of the Gothic genre, one of my favourite genres to read.
For this reason, I was enthralled by Gillian Anderson’s performance as Miss Havisham in the 2011 BBC television adaptation, which starred Douglas Booth as Pip. Despite my reservations about the story-line, after watching the TV drama, I found myself with a much greater appreciation for the characters and the novel.