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Great Expectations

3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  478,013 Ratings  ·  11,691 Reviews
Great Expectations tells the story of Pip, a poor orphaned boy who wishes to transcend his humble upbringing. He finds himself unexpectedly given the opportunity to live a life of wealth and respectability but learns as his life advances that his money is tainted and the girl he loves cannot return his affections. He is forced by circumstance to learn to seek happiness in ...more
Hardcover, Pocket Edition, 627 pages
Published January 1st 2003 by Barnes & Noble (first published 1860)
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Jennifer Cipri Good question! I think what made it wrong was how he came to have those expectations: He felt worthless being poor and many of the adults in his life…moreGood question! I think what made it wrong was how he came to have those expectations: He felt worthless being poor and many of the adults in his life treated him as if he were subhuman. They ingrained a sense of self-loathing in him.

I almost cried when he tried to rip his own hair out after Estella made him cry. It's one of the saddest scenes I've ever read in my life! :(

Dickens was really genius in showing how suppression and poverty have such a crushing effect on the spirit and how the true reality of happiness lies nowhere near material gains but in goodness, forgiveness and love. (less)
Nichelle Rohrbach I haven't read the abridged version so I can't say what all you're missing out on by just reading that but, I assume you're probably missing out on a…moreI haven't read the abridged version so I can't say what all you're missing out on by just reading that but, I assume you're probably missing out on a lot. The original is very long but, to me, it's completely worth it. Much of the really awesomeness of Dickens' (and any good classic/gothic writer) comes in the 700th page or so. That's just my opinion. But it's hard for me to imagine that anyone could successfully summarize the 500 pages of brilliance into a quarter the length.

The overall plot is very complex and drawn out over a long period of time. It took me a couple of months to read the book but that helped me understand how much time was passing in the book. The length of the book adds to the development of the characters. I read this book when I was about 15 and even though I live in a completely different world from Pip's character, it was one of the first times that I really related to a character and felt as though I knew him or as though I could have been him. That might sound weird but what I really mean is that there is a lot of worth in this book and I would definitely recommend reading the original. (less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Michael Kneeland
My students (and some of my friends) can't ever figure out why I love this novel so much. I explain how the characters are thoroughly original and yet timeless, how the symbolism is rich and tasty, and how the narrative itself is juicy and chock-full of complexity, but they just shake their heads at me in utter amazement and say, "What's wrong with you, dude?"

What's wrong, indeed.

I give them ten or fifteen years. Perhaps they'll have to read it again in college, or maybe they'll just try reading
Emily May
May 17, 2015 Emily May rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, favourites
“There was a long hard time when I kept far from me the remembrance of what I had thrown away when I was quite ignorant of its worth.”

I first read Great Expectations when I was thirteen years old. It was the first of Dickens' works that I'd read on my own volition, the only other being Oliver Twist, which we'd studied parts of in school. You know, I missed out on a lot when I was thirteen; by this, I mean that I didn't always understand the deeper meaning lying beneath the surface of my favo
Great Expectations…were formed...were met…and were thoroughly exceeded! Over-London-by-Rail-1 v2

The votes have been tallied, all doubts have been answered and it is official and in the books ...I am a full-fledged, foaming fanboy of Sir Dickens and sporting a massive man-crush for literature’s master story-teller*.

*Quick Aside: My good friend Richard who despises “Chuckles the Dick” is no doubt having a conniption as he reads this…deep breaths, Richard, deep breaths.

After love, love, loving A Tale of Two Cities, I wen
Bookworm Sean
"Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day."

That is such a quote. If there was ever a novel that shows us the dangers of false perceptions then it’s Great Expectations . Pip is such a fool; he constantly misjudges those around him, and he constantly misjudges his own worth. This has lead him down a road of misery because the person who he
Aug 20, 2007 Chicklet rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: classics
Boring, dull, lifeless, and flat. This is so drawn out and boring I kept having to remind myself what the plot was.
Best to get someone else to sum up the story rather than undergo the torture of reading it.
Apr 26, 2016 Matt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic-novels
Admittedly, I can be a bit dismissive of the classics. By which I mean that many of my reviews resemble a drive-by shooting. This annoys some people, if measured by the responses I’m still getting to my torching of Moby Dick.

Even though I should expect some blowback, I still get a little defensive. I mean, no one wants to be called a “horrendous” person just because he or she didn’t like an overlong, self-indulgent, self-important “epic” about a douche-y peg leg and a stupid whale.

I’m no phili


It is said that Satisfaction is equal to Reality minus Expectations.

I reckon then that my rating should be around Eight Stars since Reality would be Five Stars and as my Expectations were on the negative axis—with an absolute value of about three--, it has resulted in a positive eight. The Great Eight, I should anoint this book, then.

How and when were my expectations formed? If I depart on search of my forgotten memories, I think it all started with those black & white
Renato Magalhães Rocha
Excuse me for this infamous pun - which I'm sure has been wearily used since the book was first published -, but I had great expectations about it. Not only had I never read anything by Charles Dickens - who seems to be one of those polarizing authors that continues to inspire, decade after decade, a love/hate relationship with his readers -, but also because Great Expectations is regarded as one of his most important works. For someone as anxious as myself - I should really look into that - it ...more
Jeffrey Keeten
May 04, 2016 Jeffrey Keeten rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: victorian
”I saw that the bride within the bridal dress had withered like the dress, and like the flowers, and had no brightness left but the brightness of her sunken eyes. I saw that the dress had been put upon the rounded figure of a young woman, and that the figure upon which it now hung loose had shrunk to skin and bone.”

 photo MissHavisham_zps3f113031.jpg
How do you do Miss Havisham? She makes many lists of the twenty greatest characters from Dicken’s novels.

I hadn’t ever met Miss Havisham officially, although I knew of her. I have he
A Tale of Two Cities will forever occupy a special place in my heart because even though adulthood sensibilities often cause childhood adoration to vanish in entirety, no one forgets a precocious reading of that first classic which reduces one to a sobbing, sniffling mess. But my memories of a first reading of this are hazy at best - the absence of guillotines lopping off heads and swoon-worthy heroes who make larger than life sacrifices could explain my much younger self's lack of appreciation. ...more
Aug 30, 2016 Lyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great Expectations, Charles Dickens' 1860 first person narration centers on the formation and social development of the inimical English character Pip.

Set in and around London in the early 1800s, Dickens uses vivid imagery and his usual genius at characterization to build a story that has become one of English languages greatest and most recognized stories.

As always in a Dickens’ novel, his brilliant cast of intriguing characters takes center stage as the reader comes to know a parade of liter
Laurel Hicks
I see more in this book each time I read it. Class distinctions, friendships, character development, sin, repentance, forgiveness, redemption--all are explored and charted in this thirteenth novel of Dickens.

My favorite characters are Joe Gargery, the gentle and loving blacksmith; the faithful Herbert Pocket; and the helpful Mr. Wemmick and his Aged P.

I've been seeing a recurring theme in several of Dickens' novels--a degrading reliance on hopes of the future to the detriment of the duties and
sweet jane
"You are part of my existence, part of myself. You have been in every line I have ever read, since I first came here, the rough common boy whose poor heart you wounded even then. You have been in every prospect I have ever seen since – on the river, on the sails of the ships, on the marshes, in the clouds, in the light, in the darkness, in the wind, in the woods, in the sea, in the streets. You have been the embodiment of every graceful fancy that my mind has ever become acquainted with. The st ...more
The success is not mine, the failure is not mine, but the two together make me.

Many people consider „Great Expectations“ to be Charles Dickens‘ masterpiece, his greatest work with the most impressive cast of characters. And while I cannot comment on its quality in comparison to other well-known Dickens novels like „A Tale of Two Cities“ or „David Copperfield“, it certainly managed to live up to my expectations and even more: to make me feel part of Pip Pirrip’s life, of his relations to Miss H
Apr 18, 2008 Tiza rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Whew, it took me an incredibly long time to finish this book. Actually, this book kind of fell somewhere between 3 and 4 stars but I rounded it up because I liked it better than David Copperfield. While it's true that this book can be somewhat tiresome and contrived at parts, Dickens' dry humour, beautifully haunting descriptions and unforgettable characters made it a really fun read for me. One approach that best be adopted in reading Great Expectations (and Dickens' novels in general) is not t ...more
Probably my second favorite Dickens so far.

What is remarkable about reading this novel is that while it begins with a lot of archetypical characteristics of a Dickensian novel, mostly all of the characters defied what I expected of them. Not only are they entertaining and expertly written, but also incredibly realistic. Miss Havisham, Pip, Estella, and more start off in their tiny little boxes of stereotypes but grow into layered characters with more complexity then I would’ve imagined.

I also ha
MJ Nicholls
It is frustrating being slapped around the head by classics that leave you trouserless in a lukewarm puddle. Because the failure, as Mr. Gass points out, is never with the book. You are to blame, always. I am to blame for not embracing Great Expectations with the same open-armed ever-lovingness with which I embraced Little Dorrit and David Copperfield and so on down the line. My reasons, thus: the second act loses the momentum and powerful perspective established in Part One, as Pip becomes a pr ...more
Jan 21, 2008 Debbie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of wordy prose
It's the book that turned me off of Dickens. I still shudder when I think of being forced to read it in high school. The descriptions just go on forever...make it stop!

Pip, an orphan, meets an escaped convict and treats him kindly. This simple action will change Pip's life forever. Pip falls in love with Estella, a cold-hearted girl, who, thanks to bitter Miss Havisham, has been well-trained as a heartbreaker. She is wealthy and looks down on Pip, a poor boy with no expectations.

When a mysterio
Raya  Ka'abneh
Jan 12, 2017 Raya Ka'abneh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

"I must be taken as I have been made. The success is not mine, the failure is not mine, but the two together make me."

تعرّفت على روايات تشارلز ديكنز في سن مبكّر نسبياً، فهي أولى الأعمال التي أدخلتني إلى كلاسيكيات الأدب الإنجليزي خاصةً والعالمي عامةً. كنت أستعير رواياته من مكتبة المدرسة وأضعها في مكتبتي الصغيرة في المنزل، وأبقى أنظر إليها لحين انتهاء فترة الامتحانات لألتهمها في عطلة الشتاء. كانت أجواء الشتاء ترتبط بذهني بأوليفر تويست وديفيد كوبرفليد وپيب بيريب وشوارع لندن الضيّقة ومجتمعها المُخم
Brendon Schrodinger
Sep 03, 2014 Brendon Schrodinger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
To me Great Expectations was like an iceberg in that I knew, through some osmosis effect of years of cultural references, the plot of the first 20% of this book. It's been referenced and rehashed so many times that Miss Havisham can be visualised by most people and they all know her as a crazy old lady in a wedding dress who owns a big house. Everyone knows that Pip meets a convict out on the marshes also. But what of the latter part of the story? Is it just my exposure but the remaining 80% of ...more
Jan 20, 2009 C. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone having trouble getting into Victorian literature
I have a confession to make. It's shameful and disgraceful and I barely want to own up to it. But I just can't hide it no more! *sob*

I thought Dickens was boring.

And worst of all, I based this assumption on... nothing. I'd read not a single word of his prose. I don't think I'd even watched a TV adaptation of one of his books. I have no idea where I got it from, but its pernicious influence prevented me from even trying a Dickens novel until now, and even now I thought I'd had to force my way thr
K.D. Absolutely
Jul 21, 2014 K.D. Absolutely rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2012)
When I was a lot younger, I tried reading several works by Charles Dickens (1812-1870) but I was only able to finish one: David Copperfield (4 stars) and then during my first December as a Goodreads member, I read and finished the whole The Christmas Books (4 stars) that includes his, I think, most famous work, A Christmas Carol (4 stars).

With the many other books, especially those that are easier to read, competing for my attention, classics can always be put aside. However, the literary landsc
Jul 18, 2016 Madelyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics

"The agony is exquisite, is it not? You think you will die. But you just keep living. Day after day, after terrible day."

Maybe it's just because it was my first Dickens's novel, but I thoroughly enjoyed Great Expectations. It's easy to understand how this novel gained its reputation as a timeless classic. The endearing characters, detailed and intriguing setting, and plot twisting events label it as a literary masterpiece, and I'd say
Jason Pettus
Jul 09, 2007 Jason Pettus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Credited by many as the inventor of the modern novel, there are actually a number of books by Dickens I've read and enjoyed over the years; this one, however, is the latest I've re-read, which is why I'm doing a review of it and not the others. A master storyteller of the Victorian Age, someone imminently readable today as well (unlike so many of those 'olden' authors), Dickens had a magical ability to scoop up every detail of his time's zeitgeist, and spit it back out in a series of thrilling c ...more
Stacey (prettybooks)
This post is part of the 2015 Classics Challenge.

WHEN I Discovered This Classic
Great Expectations is another one of those classic novels that I feel I've always know about. But I didn't reallyfeel the needto read the book until I watched the 2011 BBC miniseries and really enjoyed it. I adored the story and vowed to pick up the novel soon(ish)!

WHY I Chose to Read It
I haven't read Dickens since I studied A Christmas Carol in school and Great Expectations had been on my list sincethe 2012 Classics
It's hard to review a classic. People have been reviewing Great Expectations for 150 years. I found out not all the original reviews were positive but sometimes time is in your favor when it comes to reviews.

The only other Dickens novel I have read is A Christmas Carol. I have read that book a million times. I have started, but not finished, other books by Dickens. I was hesitant to start this and I wondered if I could finish it. For some reason, Dickens has always intimidated me and I'm not sur
Is there a way to give negative stars?

Let's see, hmmmm, boy is poor. Boy falls in love with well-to-do girl. Boy reforms well. Girl is manipulated to dump boy in a predictable fashion. Lot's of words in between. Boy is chopped up by a meat cleaver and his cadaver is launched into space by hot aire balloon. Space chimps reconstruct boy and send him back to Earth. He lands on miss Havisham. Her toes curl up like a wicked witch... admit it this review is already better than the book.

Why is Charles
Feb 18, 2013 ·Karen· rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
+++SPOILERS! - but this is Great Expectations - surely you'll have seen at least one of the 17 film versions, even if you weren't forced to read it at school? ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways

When I was a child, and read as a child, I read thee as a fairy tale. The forlorn orphan boy who knows in his heart that wicked dark forces have deposited him in the wrong house and doomed him to drudgery that he does not deserve; a wicked stepmother beats

I doubt so many would have children, or adopt even, if they really looked at their motivations in the long run. This isn't about a lack of belief in human love, or decency, or ethical parenting. This is about what inevitably happens when socioeconomics controls all, the metaphors of criminality and debt getting tied up with child rearing in such a way that being blamed from one's own birth becomes a matter of course. What with people still being executed for being poor, children dying on th
هل سنكون سعداء عندما تتحقق امالنا العريضة؟؟سؤال مرعب قد يدور في أذهان المتفلسفين منا..

طلاب مدارس اللغات يعلمون ان هناك 4تعاونوا على تعذيبهم..شكسبير.. والأختين برونتي ..و تشارلز ديكنز..
و لكن تظل لامال عريضة مكانا في عقلى و قلبي ..فمن خلالها تعرفت على أسلوب النقد البريطاني المنظم..وأيضا تعرفت على جزء كبير من حياة تشارلز ديكنز. . فهو مثل البطل فيليب بيريب. .عرف الفقر طويلا في طفولته بسبب سجن والده

مع فيليب عرفت مشاعر اليتم والفقر بدون مبالغة
و لم يحرمنا من الأكشن. .فنجد بيب يقابل مجرما هاربا..و يساعد
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Charles John Huffam Dickens (7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. His works enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime, and by the twentieth century critics and scholars had recognised him as a literary genius. His novels and sho ...more
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“I loved her against reason, against promise, against peace, against hope, against happiness, against all discouragement that could be.” 3483 likes
“Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but - I hope - into a better shape.” 3041 likes
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