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Great Expectations Themes
Little Words, Big Ideas
Society and Class
Notions of and obsession with society and class lead the protagonist of Great Expectations into self-destruction and a loss of dignity. In the world of this novel, society is divided among class li...
Dreams, Hopes, and Plans
Those characters in Great Expectations who dream the most, hope the most, and plan the most are ultimately wounded by their dreams, hopes, and plans. Likewise, when characters realize their dreams,...
Great Expectations's characters define wealth in different ways. Some solely consider wealth to be monetary. Others perceive wealth in more general terms and as the means by which one might access...
Friendship is closely tied to loyalty and is tested often in Great Expectations. Friendship is not found to be indestructible and immune to human folly. Friendship quietly and gradually disintegrat...
In Dickens's Great Expectations, love is closely tied to destruction, and it is the protagonist’s guiding light and reason for living. Love is defined and portrayed in many different ways: as...
Great Expectations is a novel about the loss and rediscovery of innocence. Innocence is lost when it is introduced to society and to a societal value system. This encounter establishes a habit of s...
Lies and Deceit
The world of Great Expectations revolves around the appearance of things: the appearance of happiness, the appearance of love, the appearance of beauty, the appearance of wealth, and the appearance...
Time is the force that weighs upon characters’ hopes and dreams in Great Expectations. These characters are fixated on the future, but are frustrated as the past haunts them and prevents them...
Contrasting regions in this novel allow readers to further contextualize each place. Each region informs its opposite and highlights the ways lies and deceit play into society. These disparate regi...
Criminality, closely linked to society and class, holds a constant presence in this story. Rules are broken in order to overcome a society that is inherently unjust and flawed, bringing into questi...
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