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Great Expectations

Great Expectations

by Charles Dickens

Great Expectations Analysis

Literary Devices in Great Expectations

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

You will need a flashlight when visiting the world of Great Expectations. The novel is pretty much glued together by darkness. Even Pip’s apartment in London looks like it is weeping soot whe...

Setting

Okay, before we get into the details, let's zoom out: Great Expectations takes place in 19th century England. Pip is born in the early 1800s, and our narrator is telling his story in 1860. This is...

Narrator Point of View

This is no diary, folks. It's a memoir. It's Pip recalling his whole life's story at once. By our calculations, Pip the narrator is about 57 when he tells this story—which means that we're always...

Genre

Whew. Let's take this one at a time:Coming-of-Age: Well, this one's a freebie. Pip is a scared little six-year-old at the beginning of the novel; he's a grown-up man at the end, and the whole book...

Tone

Do you ever replay embarrassing or traumatizing moments from the past on the movie screen of your brain? If you do (and we do all the time) then you know how traumatizing it can be to re-watch thes...

Writing Style

Reading Great Expectations is like driving down the freeway, spotting some neat roadside attraction, taking the exit, getting out to explore the cute little town, and then suddenly realizing that y...

What’s Up With the Title?

If Charles Dickens were writing today, he'd … probably be writing for HBO.No, but seriously: if he were writing today (and in the U.S.), Great Expectations would probably be titled something like...

What’s Up With the Ending?

Brace yourselves: there are TWO different endings to Great Expectations. We know, we know. See, Dickens originally wrote a kind of downer of an ending, the kind that would have premiered at the Sun...

Tough-o-Meter

Dickens might be long, but (no matter what your English teacher says) he's not exactly high culture. He was a popular novelist—not exactly Stephenie Meyer, more like Stephen King—and he's meant...

Plot Analysis

A Stranger Comes to townSix-year-old Pip and his blacksmith brother-in-law Joe are the best of friends, chilling on the marshes and keeping each other safe from Mrs. Joe's temper tantrums. They go...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis: Voyage and Return

Booker says that when we first meet our protagonist in this stage, "they're likely to be in some state which lays them open to a shattering new experience." Hmm…shattering, just like that charmin...

Three Act Plot Analysis

Country BoyPip is innocent and cute and loves Joe ... until he meets Estella (bad) and inherits a fortune (good… except bad). Emo BoyPip is a moody, self-conscious teenager who loses his fortune...

Trivia

Dickens was sent to work in a blacking factory as a child when his father went to prison for bad debt. He experienced the terrible factory conditions he would later write about in novels. People wh...

Steaminess Rating

With the exception of a few tame smooches, there's not much action in Great Expectations. Miss Skiffins won't even let Wemmick put his arm around her waist. Shocking!

Allusions

William Shakespeare, Hamlet. Pip and Herbert go to see Mr. Wopsle in a production of Shakespeare's Hamlet. (31) Mr. Wopsle buys The History of George Barnwell. He, Pip, and Mr. Pumblechook read i...

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