Wenxi Chen
Wenxi Chen asked:

What's wrong with having the "great expectations" Pip had? Obviously, everyone wants to be rich, famous and marry the beautiful woman you are obsessed with. Personally, I do not think there are anything wrong with that. So what's the significance of the title -- "Great Expectations"?

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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 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.
Ella Wagemakers I think it's the fact that expectations, in reality, never turn out to be all that 'great'. They are projections of what a person himself, or other people (around him), want. In fact, they can become downright dangerous and foolhardy if you are living by what everyone else expects of you; and by everyone might be meant 'society', 'family', circle of friends and acquaintances, anyone else. The coming of age of a person often centres around the realization that, in the end, he/she is solely responsible for what he/she wants his/her life to be -- the way it really is and not the way it is expected to be.
Charles Shepherd Everything in this book is centered around Pip's 'Great Expectations'!!!!! The first act is the reason he eventually gets his great expectations, the second act is his glimpse of what it is like to have great expectations, the third act is his receiving of his great expectations and transitioning to his new life, the fourth act is him being indulged and consummed by this new life of great expectaions, and the final act is him realizing that there's more to life then his great expectations .
Jerrod It's not the expectations Pip had for himself. The term is (I'm pretty sure) first used when Jaggers (the lawyer) notifies Pip that he will receive large sums of money. These sums of money are his "great expectations" (probably so termed because of the societal expectations that come along with money, and those expectations are to become a gentleman (which has a specific meaning in mid-19th century England)).
Chris Gager Dickens loves irony. The title is meant to be ironic. Pip starts out by being very impressed by his raised expectations. He is seduced by love and status. Then the frustrations(Estella! Trabb's boy!) begin and Pip's journey allows him to go from reviling and fearing Magwitch to compassion, love and understanding. For Dickens, "great expectations" have the allure of jewels. Pretty, but ultimately, spiritually worthless and best left behind. Pip becomes humble and then finds happiness(presumably).
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asherar yam Actually, the expectations refer to the "social expectations", that is, what society expects he will achieve in status.

Namely, "one's prospects of inheritance" (from the dictionary).

The guy rises from his old life with no expectations and because of the support of the old lady seems to gain higher "social expectations".
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Lindsay Macdonald I think this reflects the standard notion of what "great" really is. Pip wouldn't have thought his life was anything less than great if it weren't for looking at how "great" everyone elses lives were. He seen the way others lived and he thought that was the only way he could be happy. Dickens really captured what it was like for a person trying to make their way in the world but felt disgusted by their own poverty and lack of money. He wasn't listening to what he wanted for himself, he let everyone else decide his "great expectations" for him. What you think of yourself is the most important thing and what you do with your life doesn't need to be justified to everyone else, the "great expectations" are your own choices in life, not society's.
Isabel Alcuaz It's wrong to have Pip's great expectations because they weren't really his - they were planted in his mind by the various adults in his life who should've known better and advocated something far less shallower for a working-class person like Pip, who internalized those ideas and stubbornly stuck to them, even when he realized that Estella may be beautiful but she makes him miserable, and that it doesn't take money or an old bloodline for someone to be "great" and good (see the financially poor Mr. Pocket and the noble-blooded Mrs. Pocket). Basically, it's good to have expectations as long as they are your own and they are sincere, which Pip's were not.
Boni Aditya I read this book in Class 6, Our English teacher had this great tradition of asking the class to compose the answers to the questions at the end of the Chapter. I thank her for that, I could only remember her face now, can't even remember her name! But, she crowd sourced the answers, only a few people would come up with the answers, if nobody came up with the answer then she would dictate the answer from the previous year, which was also obtained by the crowd sourcing effort of our seniors. It took roughly between half an hour to two hours to compose a "good" answer i.e. the one that would win the heart of the English Teacher. I was ambitious, I wanted the praise of delivering the best answer to every question. I put in tons of hours into English, went to local library after hours and became strong in English, read every damn english book in that small local library in a semi-town. Many of my Answers got picked up. Often I went to her with multiple answers to the same question. She guided me through a list of English Books i.e. Novels, that kept me busy for the next three years, one novel after another one book after the other, one night after another. I became stronger and more experienced, gained knowledge with each book I read. The ambition of mine multiplied over and over. She had "GREAT EXPECTATIONS" for me! My MATH teacher saw a solution that i wrote in the book, out of sorts, and she said "you my boy, will become an engineer, work hard! math is important for engineers" She also had "GREAT EXPECTATIONS" for me. My Physics teacher in class 9 asked a question about magnets - I had three different answers and he said "Give me your hand and shook it fervently" - He had "GREAT EXPECTATIONS" for me. They did not want me to become rich, they did not want me to become famous, they did not want me to be uber successful in life. I had no clue that people ran after money wine and women. The great expectations are about your ability and your capacity to leave a mark in the world. The firm belief that the work you do will have greater impact on the world than yourself. That is the GREAT EXPECTATION. My MOM had GREAT EXPECTATIONS about my career. She wanted me to explore and learn! These expectations were the FUEL to my ambition, knowing that there are people who want you to do something, knowing that there are people who expect you and depend on is the GREAT EXPECTATION. Now, I have no such expectations - Gone are all the expectations, I have no expectations about myself, and I took care that nobody ever has any expectations, I broke off all the relations, or the slight human touch that would build some form of expectation. It is a perfect barren land now. There is often no reason for me to wake up in the morning, except that I had to do it to survive, there are no goals, there is little or no ambition except to keep myself alive. Without GREAT EXPECTATIONS the world would not exist in the first place. It is these people with GREAT EXPECTATIONS that take the pain, trouble and suffering to realize their expectations. People without any expectations will become SANYASIS and meditate in the HIMALAYAS waiting for NIRVANA (Death i.e. one with GOD). Such people existed in India for over 4000 odd years, the longest continuous civilization on earth. Yet, they produced nothing valuable, they rotted in suffering, because as singular culture India never had GREAT EXPECTATIONS! Take The Americas to contrast,everybody who reached the banks of America and migrated came there with a stable sense of purpose, i.e. GREAT EXPECTATIONS, leaving behind everything. Thus removing the people without any expectations an ocean away! Thus a nation of people with great expectations became one of the most powerful and greatest nations on earth that could dictate the language that we speak, decide the currency that we use and fix the prices (sitting in a white building) of the chocolates that we eat! and create a box with a button, when pushed would leave Earth Barren. So please tell me - what drives a man? IT IS HIS GREAT EXPECTATIONS that drive him towards a purpose. GREED, LUST, SURVIVAL can only drive a man so far, after your stomach is full you can only eat so much, your lust is not infinite neither is your greed, after you make a 100 billion dollars you don't have a reason to run after money any more. Without GREAT EXPECTATIONS your life will become a servile attempt to survive without any justification. A writer with GREAT EXPECTATIONS isn't writing to make billions by selling books, she is not a sales man, she wants to produce the best work she can produce, that is her expectation and so do the readers expect to consume the greatest book. A chef with GREAT EXPECTATIONS would want to learn every recipe and be able to cook every dish in the world, and will go to any lengths to get it done, a chef without any expectations would throw in whatever he finds and call it a dish. Often had to each such stuff. A coder with great expectations would want to write the best code. A construction worker with great expectations would want to build a cathedral. An artist, a painter, a scientist when they stop having any expectations and start doing thing for the sake of doing them or just because it BAU (Business as Usual) will be of no great use to the world as a whole! Try to understand the difference between Expectations, Desires (Wants) and Needs; Maslows hierarchy states needs must be fulfilled before you start chasing your desires and desires need to be overcome i.e. met with before you can start delivering on the expectation that the world/society/friends/lovers/your kids/siblings/family/spouse along with your own expectations can be embarked upon. Your state being RICH, FAMOUS, LOVE & MARRY are not expectations, they are NORMS, that society forces on a person to conform. But does the society force you to make a movie? Make a painting? Does it force you to become great? NOPE it does not. Those are the dreams that you have to work strenously to build on your own.
Tharuka I think it is not just about Pip's expectation, and also it is about Magwitch's and Miss. Havisham's expectations. Biddy & Joe did not have great expectations but they had life fill with spirit. So I believe it is not just about Pip's expectations. It is about having expectations as a human being ( young boy, broken heart or hatred heart), how people achieve their expectations (like Magwitch) and the way expectation effect them and their soul. Every single character has something that goes with an expectation.
Iris I think the title is meant to be relatable. As you've stated, everyone has their own "Great Expectations." Going into it you want to know what his 'expectations' are and coming out of it you're supposed to see how 'expectations' can give or ruin happiness, and how it can change people for the better or worse.
Huck Flynn Jaggers, the lawyer, announces that Pip has "great expectations" and thus begins the misunderstanding about the identity of his benefactor and the journey to try to realise his wildest hopes of higher social status, money and the trappings that attend it. Estella is the "star" attraction who symbolises Pip's ambitions, characterised as immature infatuation and puppy love and not grounded in realism or experience. Pip learns that the important things about expectations are your motives for wanting them and about the superficiality of social pretension as a veneer for our more base desires. It is arguable whether the final resolution leaves Pip a richer person morally and emotionally even if his situation hasn't turned out as "expected". It's a masterpiece as a novel and feat of storytelling. Totally gripping and engaging.
Greg I recall that early in this novel, a character in Pip's small town actually referred to him as a person with "great expectations." Perhaps it was his benefactor. I'm not sure how the actual line went, but it was something like: "Our Pip is a person with great expectations." I don't recall that Pip actually thought of himself that way, but at least a few people thought Pip had a great future and helped him along the way. I think this book is fantastic, but Nicolas Nickleby is my favorite Dickens (so far, as Bleak House is next).
Clari great illusions
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Lori I know this is an old question, but I wanted to put a thought or two out there. I don't think there is anything wrong with having Great Expectations or goals and desires. The entire book was dedicated to Pip chasing those dreams, but during the chase, he lost sight of some very important things. I think you chase your dreams, but those dreams can't change or replace the connection you have to others and perhaps those others who were judged to be so low were much greater than those expectations.
Emeliaquaye can you please search for a romantic book for me?.i really need a book to read.
OneFootInHellAlready It wasn't the Great Exceptions he had of himself but the Great Exceptions he thought Miss Havisham had of him. He was raised to believe that he was below most people, his sister, Joe, Miss Havisham, Estella. He was lead to believe that he should fulfill the Great Exceptions and become more than said people.
However his Great Exceptions were to be a good man and friend, he didn't become that.
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