Mills AP Lit and Comp discussion

54 views
July posts #2 & #3 Great Expectations

Comments Showing 1-50 of 94 (94 new)    post a comment »
« previous 1

message 1: by Mr. Eric Mills (new)

Mr. Eric Mills | 9 comments Mod
July post 2
Great Expectations was originally published in serial installments from Dec 1, 1860 to Aug 3, 1861. (Think of the “old” way we had to watch television, if you can remember that, where we would wait all week to see a new episode). Some argue that this publishing format is the reason for its tedious sentence structure and drawn out plot. Dickens sent the last chapters of Great Expectations to the printer in the middle of June 1861. To relax after his efforts, he then went to stay with his wealthy aristocratic friend Edward Bulwer-Lytton, a hugely popular crime and historical novelist (no longer read today) whom he greatly admired and respected. Dickens decided—we don’t know precisely why—to show his host the last chapters of Great Expectations in proof. Bulwer-Lytton was so adamantly opposed to the depressing ending that Dickens rewrote the ending of the novel to be more positive. Ever since, critics have debated with fervor the verisimilitude, veracity, and superiority of both endings. Locate the original, unpublished ending (Google can help with that). Then re-read the ending in your edition of Great Expectations. Which of the two endings do you find more aesthetically and/or emotionally satisfying? Decide which one you think is superior, and then develop an argument in defense of your choice. Use evidence in a well thought-out three-paragraph response.

July post 3: reply to another student's post commenting on their thoughts.


message 2: by Izzie (new)

Izzie Hicks | 7 comments Izzie Hicks period 2

Reflecting on changing his ending for Great Expectations, Charles Dickens writes in a letter: “I have put in as pretty a little piece of writing as I could, and I have no doubt the story will be more acceptable through the alteration”. Throughout the years, as the book has been widely read, critics have debated whether the original or published ending is better suited for the novel. Dickens’ reflection on his own work is accurate: the published ending is superior, acting as more emotionally and aesthetically pleasing for the reader.

In comparison to the original, the published ending is better written and feels less abrupt to the reader. The description of both the symbols of the mist and the garden at the Satis House leave the reader feeling as if they’re coming full circle; there is no mention of either of these in the original ending. Describing the day as “a cold silvery mist had veiled the afternoon, and the moon was not yet up to scatter it” (513-514) shows imagery that is fitting to the rest of the book, whereas in the original ending there is no description of the external. This technique feels jutting and unbelievable compared to the rest of the book, which is brimming with imagery. Similarly, the briefness of the original makes it feel rushed--the published ending is less abrupt and thusly more so fits with the writing style of the rest of the book. Additionally the second ending offers more closure. It hints that Pip ends up with Estella, while the original ending makes no suggestion of who Pip might marry, ultimately leading the reader to believe he will be alone all of his life. Estella and Pip ending up together not only makes sense and is emotionally satisfying to the reader, but it also opens up more potential character growth. The original ending leaves both Pip and Estella feeling stagnate, as if their character arcs have completely ended and they will cease existing as people--not what a satisfying ending should do. Dickens’ reflective way of writing the published ending also channels closure. We get to see both characters reflect on their past; for example, Estella discloses she often thought of Pip, saying “Of late, very often. 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” (514). The reflective attitude of this ending better summarizes the book and allows the reader to digest what they have read.

Finally, while the original makes no mention of it, the published ending includes the symbol of the decaying Satis house. Described as “There was no house now, no brewery, no building left, but the wall of the old garden. The cleared space had been enclosed with a rough fence, and, looking over it, I saw that some of the old ivy had struck root anew, and was growing green on low quiet mounds of ruin” (514) the reader is able to understand the full meaning of this symbol. Wealth is impermanent and always fluctuating, so the once-beautiful Satis house is now disintegrating into something ignored and uncared for. Wealth’s lack of importance is an idea Pip discovers throughout the book, but the published ending allows Dickens to really drive this point home.
In summary, although both endings have strengths, the edited and published ending of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations is superior to the original versions for an array of reasons, including its writing style, the closure it offers, and its inclusion of important symbols.


message 3: by Natalya (last edited Jul 20, 2016 12:05PM) (new)

Natalya Hill | 7 comments Natalya Hill period 2
An introduction written by David Trotter discussing Dickens’s Great Expectations, brings up the concept that the book “does not suppose that lost paradises can ever be regained” ( Trotter xviii) when mentioning the ending, and the meaning imparted in Pip’s return to his humble beginnings as a changed man in the final scene. It is because of this new layer of meaning that the second, published ending of Great Expectations by Charles Dickens is much more aesthetically and emotionally satisfying, in that it completes the story arc of Pip’s reconciliation with his origins, and transforms Estella into a developed character with her own story arc rather than just an object of desire.

As the origins of Pip’s adventure towards ‘expectations’ are revisited in the last volume of the book, it is only fitting to have him return to the site of where he met Estella and Miss Havisham. The catharsis of the story comes in the reader’s desire for closure, a solution (however dubious). “After so many years, it is strange that we should thus meet again, Estella, here where our first meeting was!” (Dickens 483). Even for the event to have taken place i in London (as it does in the original ending) does not drive home the recurring element of revisiting what set the journey into place. In terms of the structure of the story and the narrative pattern Dickens uses that matches Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, this ending allows Pip to return to the Known world having changed, able to see it in a different way. Critics of the published ending describe this possibility of a happy ending gimmicky, and inconsistent with the rest of the book, but it is Pip’s triumph over his enemy and his humble return home that brings him joy all along that drives the theme and rewards the reader, making the published ending superior in regards to story.
Moreover, the meeting in the published ending provides the reader more information about Estella, and does not condemn her to being an unchanging prop for unhappiness and regret, but able to finally accept that they will “continue friends apart” (Dickens 484). The reader, sympathizing with Pip, has so far seen Estella only as the unyielding figure that she and Miss Havisham have made her to be. She herself acknowledges her coldness as a “nature formed within me” (362), but Pip and the reader both yearn to see something beyond this part of her. In the first draft of the ending, Estella voices that her marriage has changed her mind from before, “I am greatly changed, I know;” (492), but it is implied that there is nothing to be done as they part ways. But the reconciliation of Estella acknowledging Pip as her friend demonstrates that change and offers the hope of further change. The reader seeks positive change, but beyond that, the ability to see Estella as a fully formed character with a potential for a future rather than a one-note plot device or moral prop. The character development for Estella, and the completed hero’s journey for Pip, found in the published ending allows the book to end in a satisfactory way, without promising an entirely happy future and at the same time giving the reader the necessary final scene for closure.


message 4: by Bridget (new)

Bridget (bridgeygelato) | 7 comments Bridget Galaty
Period 2

Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations is a tale of dreams recognized and dreams dashed. Throughout the novel, Pip gains much of what he had hoped for as a child, including wealth, friendship, and a general sense of gentlemanly refinement. The one thing he does not gain is Estella’s love. Both of the possible endings of the novel address this final yearning, but the published ending is superior to the original both emotionally and narratively.

By virtue of the fact that Pip is the book’s narrator, readers are asked to identify with his feelings and actions. As a result of this, we, too, come to love Estella and see her as Pip does: as a beautiful and majestic woman (379). The adoration we feel for Estella has us rooting for the bond between her and Pip, and, though we are told that he will never be able to be with her, we do hope for her happiness even if it must be found away from him. The original ending completely dashes these hopes, stating that she seemed to have suffered much since their parting. Conversely, in the published ending, it is revealed that though she has had some suffering, ultimately Estella feels she is better for it (380). The important difference between these endings is that in the original readers are broken from the vaguely fantastical world where dreams may come true, while in the published version they are allowed to maintain a sense of bliss and comfort in the characters’ happiness.

This directional difference means that the published ending is also more narratively and tonally believable. The rest of the novel’s final chapter has Pip reunited with Biddy and Joe, meeting their son, and having the opportunity to reconnect with his old home (377-378). While melancholy in tone, this shows that Pip has found closure to many of his final conflicts. It is therefore logical that this chapter should end with a conclusion to his relationship with Estella. Though both endings do provide this finality, the original persists in allowing Pip a happy reunion in which broken friendships are mended, as compared to the abrupt tone of the original in which the characters are not returned to amity. Thus, for its emotional consistency and narrative conclusion, the published ending serves as a better culmination to the book.


message 5: by Molly (new)

Molly Worford | 7 comments Molly Worford
Period 1
Controversy surrounding the novel Great Expectations argues whether the rewritten ending is really superior to the original one, and while Dicken’s thought that it made the story more acceptable, and therefore better, it is clear that the version is just that: an attempt to gain popular support through cliche and conventional means. The published version, changed only after a close friend’s urging, is forced and goes against the fundamentals of the book in order to make the readers and characters happy. While an audience commonly wants to root for their character to “get the girl” in the end, Great Expectations is not a trivially happy book and after years of not seeing Estella, who treated Pip coldly and heartlessly, it seems unlikely that the two would get together, as the second version suggests. The original is more aesthetically satisfying for its natural fit with the tone and themes of the story and the sense of finality and assurance it gives the reader. Not only is it more convincing, but it is more true to how Dickens viewed his characters and his novel. It was the ending that he felt worked, not one he felt pressured to write in order to satisfy his audience/peers.

Dickens seeks to convey the idea that morality and integrity are more important than wealth; a lesson that Pip learns throughout his endeavors. A good part of his love for Estella stemmed from his romantic ideals of the upper class, and therefore dissolved with the realization that social status does not relate to one’s character. This is further shown when Pip makes up his mind to marry Biddy instead of going after Estella. Although Miss Havisham realized the wrong in her actions, it couldn’t change the fact that Pip never truly knew Estella because of her bitter and cold exterior. In the original ending, after running into Estella and then parting ways, Pip “was very glad afterwards to have had the interview; for...she gave [him] assurance that suffering had been stronger than Miss Havisham’s teaching, and had given her a heart to understand what [his] heart used to be.” This is emotionally satisfying because it gives their relationship closure in a realistic way without forcing anything.

The novel has a serious and almost remorseful tone, and unfortunate events occur more often than not. After being threatened by an escaped convict, abused by his sister, rejected by the object of his affection, and losing his fortune, it is clear that the story is not a happy one. Dickens focuses on conveying themes surrounding wealth and character, guilt vs. innocence, and hopes and expectations, and gives more depth than merely chronicling a love affair. The ending in which Pip parts ways with Estella is more aesthetically satisfying because it fits the tone of the writing and gives the reader closure.


message 6: by Veronica (new)

Veronica (veeleen) Because of his admittance to faults, readers of Great Expectations learn to forgive main character Pip from his constant emotional and moral dilemmas. The sympathy alone is enough to force a bonding relationship between the reader and Pip, and when a reader finds the characters they’ve come to know and love without their expected happy endings, that reader can learn to dislike an entire story. Pip and Estella are two of the most beloved characters in Great Expectations for various reasons: they’ve gone through it all and still remain attached, and they have gotten past realities that are hard to face alone. Pip’s love for her is hard to top with modern romance, as he says, “Once for all; I knew to my sorrow, often and often, if not always, that I loved her against reason, against promise, against peace, against hope, against happiness, against all discouragement that could be.” (Ch 29, p. 2) When Charles Dickens wrote Great Expectations, he decided the novel would be better off with a happier ending, superior to the original that held despair and no compromise, and this decision held together a book millions of people across the globe have cherished.

In the original ending of the book, Dickens writes that Pip and his love Estella do not end up together. In fact, Estella ends up married to an abusive husband who dies, and then a doctor with no money to his name. She’s unhappy and Pip is alone. The published ending holds some of the uncertainty and questions the reality of Pip and Estella. It suggests, but does not directly say, Pip and Estella end up together and live “happily ever after”, as most tales do. This ending is far more superior to the dark and disappointing original ending because it does not take away from the book as a whole and the reader ends the book satisfied. When watching a television show, many people get caught up in the final episodes of their favorite series. When they reach the finale and get an ending they were not hoping for, it can leave them questioning the series as a whole; it’s the same for books. If Dickens had chosen the sorrowful ending, people would not remember the adventure and language of the whole novel. In a BBC News article, author Finlo Rohrer addresses the obsession with happy endings. When humans see their favorite stories end with a positive message and the reader can envision the characters continuing their lives happily, the reader puts those subconscious expectations on their own lives. That’s why, when there are negative endings filled with death, grief, and depression, the reader naturally finds themselves perplexed and upset as they wouldn’t want that happening to themselves (or their favorite characters).

By using a mix of the reader’s emotions to channel a more indirect and pleasing ending, Dickens creates a monumental closing to a much-loved classic. While not necessarily overly-expected, the ending holds truth and hope without too much disclosure; it focuses on simplicity and does not take too much out of the novel as a whole -- and this is why the published ending is superior to the original.


message 7: by Veronica (last edited Jul 24, 2016 02:19PM) (new)

Veronica (veeleen) Molly wrote: "Molly Worford
Period 1
Controversy surrounding the novel Great Expectations argues whether the rewritten ending is really superior to the original one, and while Dicken’s thought that it made the ..."


Interesting thoughts on how the rewrite came to be. I would have to disagree with the published ending being forced and urged by his friend, as I think it was merely a good critique. In reality, humans like happy endings -- it's just the nature of our brains because we envision our lives as the characters we have read. I don't believe that, had the original ending been published, the novel would have been as successful or deemed a "great classic".

However, I do see your point. I agree that the novel is serious and remorseful, but I also think that Pip and Estella's relationship throughout the book gives a lighter tone to some of the darker parts. Pip's initial attraction for her was more of a lust than a love, but I would argue that it changed towards the end and became a more loving attraction than a sexual one. This makes the novel beg for a lighter ending, as now the reader is hoping for a more content reveal.

I think Dickens making Estella's life a lot harsher than it needed to be in the original ending is also hard to appreciate, as it's not what the readers would want. I do like your ideas, though and can see where you are coming from. I originally thought the darker ending was superior until I realized I wouldn't have liked it very much compared to the published ending. I believe the disclosure of the ending is actually more satisfying than an explicitly stated one because it gives more room for the imagination of the reader for the characters' futures.


message 8: by Ryan (new)

Ryan Freedman | 7 comments Ryan Freedman
Period 1
Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations was originally written with a different, less positive ending. One of Dickens’ contemporaries, Edward Bulwer-Lytton suggested that he change the ending to make it more positive. Of the two, the second is more emotionally satisfying because it shows that Pip is finally over both his heartbreak, and free from the emotional strain caused by Miss Havisham. One line in particular stands out to showcase this:”I took her hand... and we went out of the ruined place; and, as the morning mists had risen... when I first left the forge, so the evening mists were rising now, and... I saw no shadow of another parting from her.”(503). This illustrates the release of Pip’s emotional burden which, in this case, is shared by the reader, making the ending more satisfying. When pip mentions “seeing no shadow”, Dickens is attempting to show that Pip is finally able to cope with the heartbreak of being unable to woo Estella.

The other ending fails to conclude the story in a way that satisfies the reader or Pip. We are left with a rather melancholy ending that does not conclude the story very well. However, the last line of the first ending does close out the major plot of Pip’s struggle to win Estella’s heart, although it is not as effective: “in her face and in her voice, and in her touch, she gave me the assurance, that suffering had been stronger than Miss Havisham’s teaching, and had given her a heart to understand what my heart used to be.” (Alternate Ending). Therefore, while the original ending is interesting and does close out the story, the revised one is more emotionally satisfying and helps to close most of the plots and subplots of the story to some extent.


message 9: by Ryan (new)

Ryan Freedman | 7 comments Ryan Freedman
Period 1
Molly wrote: "Molly Worford
Period 1
Controversy surrounding the novel Great Expectations argues whether the rewritten ending is really superior to the original one, and while Dicken’s thought that it made the ..."


While I agree with your point that Dicken’s revised ending was brought about partially due to pressure from Bulwer- Lytton,it is important to note that art, especially literature, receives critique and constructive criticism very frequently. Bulwer-Lytton and Dickens were contemporaries and friends, so the concept of Lytton suggesting a different ending isn’t all that strange. I don’t believe that such criticism would negatively impact the story or the consistency of the story as you suggest. The genuinity of the story is not altered by this change.I feel that the revised ending was written by Dickens as a similar closing to the story, and simply serves to show that Pip has matured and gotten over Estella. The ending is still a bit melancholy, but less so than the original, thus serving to conclude the story in a way quite similar to that of the original while providing more emotional satisfaction to the reader. The basic idea of the endings are the same: Pip sees Estella for the last time and is saddened by their parting. The changes made are fairly minor and the biggest change is the last line, which adds a sense of positivity to the story.


message 10: by Josette (new)

Josette Axne | 7 comments Josette Axne Period 2

The different endings of Great Expectations have raised many arguments that discuss the merits of the two different endings since the novel's publication. In regards to which the most aesthetically and emotionally satisfying ending merely lies in the novel's overall theme of the story. The published ending concludes with Pip and Estella meeting again at the Satis House where they first initially met, after some conversation, Pip then grabs her hand and they walk into the mist leaving the story a happy ending implying that the pair were always made for each other. The original unpublished ending illustrates Estella and Pip basically running into each other on a street. Estella is happily remarried to a doctor and therefore this encounter gives Pip some closure about his affection towards her and leaves the ending at that. There are also a few critics who suggest that the end should’ve never have brought Estella back into the frame of the novel as she is no longer a significant character because of her marriage to Drummle. They state that the novel is mainly about Pip’s affection towards Estella, not the love itself. After reading both endings, the original unpublished version is more superior over the other because of the fact that the novel has an overall sad and melancholy theme to it and to keep the ending in the same perspective as the beginning and middle parts would require that it stick to the original ending.

The original ending is emotionally satisfying because it sticks with the draft of the novel and the natural working out of the tale. Writer George Bernard Shaw favors the original ending because he states that the novel “...is to serious a book to be a trivially happy one. Its beginning is unhappy; its middle is unhappy and the conventional happy ending is an outrage to it.” The melancholy unhappiness in the novel merely revolves around Pip and the sympathy the reader has towards him. Pip’s ingratitude to Joe, fears and insecurities about his great expectations, and his affection and hopeless yearning toward Estella all combine to make him unhappy and this ultimate theme is threaded throughout the novel. Pip’s unhappiness is why we have a strong feeling of sympathy for him, and without that sympathy, the novel could not be able to then express its darker purpose, which is why the original ending fits more with the theme of unhappiness and the sympathy towards Pip in the novel. Pip’s unhappiness makes the published ending give him much more that he deserves which therefore confuses the moral meanings of the story. The published ending gives an artificial ‘happy ending’ since it throws away the ultimate meanings and themes to then give a purpose to ‘please an audience’. The original ending matches the tough message that life does not neatly deliver one's dreams which is why the original ending is truer to the novel.

One thing to also keep in mind that the story of Pip was never about marrying Estella or living happily ever after with her. Great Expectations is about Pip’s quest for love and what he is willing to sacrifice for it. The story has nothing to do with the couple as Dickens chooses to show Estella mostly as only a part of Pip’s thoughts but their interactions are at a minimum to keep the readers focused on the main plot at hand. In the original ending, it is known that Pip remains single but is delighted in knowing that Estella is now a different person from the way Miss. Havisham had raised her to be. The original last sentence confirms that Pip discovered that “...suffering had been stronger than Miss Havisham’s teaching, and had given her a heart to understand what my heart used to be.” (541) In the revised ending, there is no convincing logic about Estella’s improved personality and Miss Havisham and the way she raised her. The original ending allows Estella to remain the lady with the same superiority and a hint of being slightly condescending towards Pip. So when Great Expectations comes to an end, the original version truly captures the whole theme of the book and lets Pip gain closure and accept his fate.


message 11: by Gianna (new)

Gianna Neathammer | 7 comments Gianna Neathammer Period 2

In the novel Great Expectations, Charles Dickens contradicting endings spawn an ongoing debate. Personally, I emotionally connect with the more positive outcome of the ending because of the release of suspense that continues throughout the book, because it is more positive, and it fits the character of Pip more efficiently. I concur with Edward Bulwer-Lytton on the fact that the original finish was incredibly depressing and unsatisfying. In the first ending Pip says, “I had heard of the death of her husband (from an accident consequent on ill-treating a horse), and of her being married again to a Shropshire doctor.” This ending is unquestionably more sad than the one Dickens wrote in the book.


First of all, the connection between Estella and Pip would have been an unknown if Dickens didn’t use the more positive ending. There is a sort of love triangle that occurs in the novel whether it includes Bindy or Estella. This goes on and on after Pip is disappointed over and over. If the more negative ending was used, the love triangle wouldn’t have been resolved and the readers would be left unsatisfied. “I took her hand in mine, and we went out of the ruined place...I saw no shadow of another parting from her” (466). This happy ending might also be more likable because society is used to reading books and expecting something good to come out of the story. This ending is what readers are used to, which makes it more acceptable in the audience's eyes.


Pip, being a sensitive character, fits better in an ending that has a positive outcome. He’s romantic and unrealistic at heart which can reflect this ending. This ending may seem unrealistic after reading the original because of how romantic is it, but it seems to link the story and characters to the overall theme which is the thought of affection and loyalty over social situations (class). The romantic ending shows this affection and loyalty greater than the original. On the other hand, the original ending supports the theme of hopelessness and suffering which does not follow Pips originally written character. The current ending is superior to the original because it fits the entire novel more effectively.


message 12: by Kyle (last edited Jul 27, 2016 04:39PM) (new)

Kyle | 7 comments Kyle Friesen
P1

Literary worth boils down to audience interpretations and reactions. Since authors won’t be around forever to explain every choice they make, reader interaction is all that matters when it comes to evaluating this medium. In this way, the original ending to Great Expectations works better in the larger context of the story. Not only is it more consistent with the rest of the final chapter and the whole book, it also creates a resolution that leaves the reader in a place of understanding of the world that Pip inhabits.

The story exists in two arcs, one where Pip is living with and to his expectations and one where everything goes wrong. After Provis gets introduced, Pip never gets what he wants, so an ending in which it is implied he will never be together with Estella is consistent. Ending on a down note like that gives the audience a feeling of failure, like Pip’s journey was pointless, which is arguably the point of the story, but in the published ending, none of that gets communicated. Now, it could be said that a more hopeful ending provides the audience with a sense of relief to counteract the negativity of everything else that just happened, making it a better ending. The thing is, aesthetically pleasing art does not have to be satisfying to have worth. Some of the best and most well liked musicals, for example, do not end with everybody being happy, like the endings of Hamilton, or Wicked, or Into the Woods. The published ending being a happy ending does not automatically make it superior over the original. In fact, because it is happy, it gives the reader nothing. There’s no meaning to be had because all that’s apparent is Pip’s happiness. Additionally, the original ending works because it subverts the idea that everything must have a happy ending; the reader doesn’t expect the book to end by throwing the last hope that Pip had out the window, making it a more effective final blow.

The only way to know if something tastes sweet is to taste something sour. Dickens’ original ending makes a complete story, but more importantly will probably make the reader look at their own lives and see their own shortcomings and unrealistic expectations. A book, or any other art form for that matter, is in the end only what we take away from it. In the case of Great Expectations and the original ending, it’s not a cheery thing, but it is effective and it is satisfying in the sense that its greater meaning can be applied to our actual lives.


message 13: by Mara (new)

Mara Osterburg | 4 comments Josette wrote: "Josette Axne Period 2

The different endings of Great Expectations have raised many arguments that discuss the merits of the two different endings since the novel's publication. In regards to whi..."


I do agree that the original version of the ending shows a more realistic point of view that follows the themes of the book; however, I would have to argue that the revised version of the book installs a sense of hope in the reader. The melancholy themes that have been creating a sad tone throughout the book make the revised ending even more special for the reader. I also see your point of view about how Pip and Estella getting married was never the main intention of the novel, but I think that the original ending where we only get one line of how Estella feels, “...suffering had been stronger than Miss Havisham’s teaching, and had given her a heart to understand what my heart used to be” (541) is not enough. The revised ending tells us that she became more than what Miss Havisham taught her, “the same rays touched the tears that dropped from her eyes…‘now, when suffering has been stronger than all other teachings, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be’ ” (484). In the revised version, Estella is saying this quote (instead of Pip interpreting the closure he wants) but I do like your point about how you see that the original ending created a sense of finality within the reader as did the revised version.


message 14: by Taylor (last edited Jul 27, 2016 07:08PM) (new)

Taylor Page | 7 comments Taylor Page period 1

There has been controversy surrounding the topic of the ending of the novel, Great Expectations. Charles Dickens had originally wrote an ending for Great Expectations that is very different from the one that is in many of the novels sold today. Dickens had decided to change his original ending to the one that we know of because of a suggestion from one of his friends, Edward Bulwer-Lytton. There are critics who argue that the original ending is more aesthetically pleasing, some argue that the revised ending fits the story better, and then there are a few who have taken a third position; the novel should end before Estellas final appearance. In my opinion, the revised ending of Great Expectations is happy ending that concludes the novel with the reader being emotionally satisfied.

The novel has an overall sad and melancholy theme to it. With the revised ending, Pip and Estella can finally be happy after we read about all of the pain they have suffered and challenges that they have faced. The revised ending of the story concludes in the exact same spot as their first encounter, so it gives a sense of closure to the novel. Meanwhile, in the original ending, Estella marries an anonymous "Shropshire doctor". As for Pip, he is still unmarried and likely to remain so . So not only does he not get Estella, he doesn't get anyone else either? The first ending's final words are "suffering had been stronger than Miss Havisham's teaching, and had given her a heart to understand what my heart used to be." The original ending is also much shorter than the revised ending and it doesn't really feel like a true ending to the story. The second ending continues the patterns of union, separation and reconciliation, and Pip and Estella's meet at the Satis House one last time.

Over 150 years since their publication, the two endings continue to inspire debate based on how different they are. The original ending has Pip and Estella part as swiftly as they meet with no hope of reconnecting. And with Estella finding love with someone else and Pip continuing to live in solitary. I prefer the second ending, which continues the love story between the two characters and seems to be better written. It is appropriate that Magwitch's daughter finds happiness with Pip. And they both deserve to have a happy ending together. Both endings are unique and have their own strengths, however the revised ending seems to bring more closure to the story, is better written and leaves the reader feeling happy and emotionally satisfied.


message 15: by Kyle (new)

Kyle | 7 comments Natalya wrote: "Natalya Hill period 2
An introduction written by David Trotter discussing Dickens’s Great Expectations, brings up the concept that the book “does not suppose that lost paradises can ever be regain..."


(Kyle Friesen P1)

Let's say an audience of theatre-goers didn't know anything about the plot and ending to Romeo and Juliet. If they want Romeo and Juliet to be together and get a happy ending, would you say that the actual, tragic ending is ineffective because it doesn't deliver happiness?

A lot of your argument is based on the assertion that Pip getting what he wants, or even maybe getting what he wants, makes the published ending emotionally satisfying and therefore better than the original. What about happiness is inherently better than anything else? If happy endings automatically have more artistic value than sad or melancholy endings, then why do artists even write tragedy? The answer is that no singular mood, tone, or ending is better than all the rest. So even if the published ending is effective at eliciting positive emotions, it doesn't matter if the original is more effective, and therefore better at its job. I agree that in general, as an audience we want and maybe even expect happy resolution for our protagonists. For this exact reason, the original ending hits home harder because it doesn't meet those expectations. Subverting expectations has been immensely effective in literature for the longest time. If it wasn't, plot twists wouldn't be nearly as effective as they are, and stories wouldn't be interesting because we would know exactly what's coming. It's the basis for get vs. expect comedy and dictates the ways in which (good) authors create high stakes and conflict.

So when you say that the published ending is superior because it aligns with the Hero's Journey, I disagree with your analysis. I agree that the story looks and reads like Campbell's archetypes, but like I said, the fact the fact that the original subverts the ending of the journey makes is more effective in its goal. Additionally, using certain literary techniques is not somehow mean a work is a great work of art. It's all about how the work effects the reader, and like the book's central theme, sometimes our expectations do not live up to reality, and isn't that more impactful than anything else?

I also disagree with your analysis of Estella's character. (For the sake of argument let's put aside endings for now.) You say that Estella is more or less a plot device , and I get your reasons for saying so, but I think it's important to delve deeper into the purpose of her character. Everything that happens to Pip, everybody that he meets and that he talks about is there for a reason. One interpretation is that Estella is there to make painfully real to the audience that Pip will never fully realize his expectations. From this point of view, the original ending works better to drive home the point of the plot, because we see that Estella still represents the inevitable hopelessness of Pip's ambitions. The original ending drives the last nail into the coffin of Pip's expectations, and gives the audience the impression that Pip never stood a chance. This ending actually uses Estella's character to do more than incur emotion in the reader. On top of that, I don't buy that before either ending Estella is a, "one-note plot device." For one, Estella is not very present in the plot, so of course the reader won't see as much growth in her as we do in Joe, for example. Even then, she goes through dramatic changes, and you even allude to this in your response, but you gloss over the fact that we do actually see her become the person she is in either ending. Her character never gives Pip a full account of how marriage changed her of course, but the reader and Pip do hear from others, and that is still development. We see Herbert develop in the same way in terms of his relationship with Clara, and if that isn't character development, then it could be said that Herbert is a, "one-note plot device" whose entire existence is to make Pip aware of the reality of his own goals and expectations.

So in the end, your argument seems flawed to me because it rests on assumptions about artistic worth that cannot be proven given that artistic worth is extremely subjective. Artistic worth is not defined by positive emotion or character development, but rather by the meaning that can be taken from it, with which the original ending has more of.


message 16: by Jackson (new)

Jackson Ripley | 7 comments Jackson Ripley, period 2

Through all of Pip's great adventures across Victorian England, the bitterness of Estella's heart has always been a source of despair and loss. Pip's fondness for her had burdened him from the day he met her and, and the contest between her and Biddy did nothing to lighten the load. However in the alternate ending, despite the villainy and malice Estella had once commanded, she found herself not above Pip, nor even as his equal, but in a lowly, fragile state. In this unused ending it is proven once and for all that Estella does indeed have "... a heart to be stabbed in or shot in, I have no doubt." (140), and as such that heart had been broken. It was as if Pip had gotten his revenge, and Estella now was in his debt. Conversely, the ending Dickens chose was not only happier, but also left Estella and Pip on better terms.

If nothing else, I feel that the alternate ending at least makes for better writing and better storytelling. After all he'd been through with Estella, it makes sense that Pip would feel some sense of vengefulness, or find some satisfaction in the knowledge that Estella had come to suffer just as he once had. With regards to the storytelling aspect of this ending, the idea that Pip would presumably live out the rest of his life having forgiven Estella for all the pain and heartache she caused simply isn't believable. It diverges from Pip's original story arch and makes him out to be some sort of morally-sounded gentleman, which of course what he aimed for but arguably never achieved.

Despite its faults, one of the most important aspects of the ending used in the final draft is that it ties up loose ends. In the alternate ending it is unknown whether or not Pip really hates Estella, whether he forgives her, or whether he will forever hold a grudge against her. All the reader knows is "…that suffering had been stronger than Miss Havisham's teachings," and that this satisfies Pip. At least with the ending Dickens used the reader knows all is forgiven, and that "[Pip and Estella] are friends," (242). Again though, this does not make the ending used more powerful, or stronger, or give it any significant advantage over the alternate ending.


message 17: by Bella (last edited Jul 28, 2016 02:08PM) (new)

Bella Speelman | 7 comments Bella Speelman, Period 2
One of the most interesting aspects of Dickens’ Great Expectations is the existence of two endings; one in which Estella has remarried after the death of her abusive husband, with Pip remaining a bachelor, and the other a more people pleasing ending which suggests Pip and Estella will spend the rest of forever with one another. Upon writing to friends about the revision, Dickens says “I have put in as pretty a little piece of writing as I could and I have no doubt the story will be more acceptable through the alteration” going on to say, “Upon the whole I think it is for the better.” There has been however much debate about which ending better suits the novel, and although the alternate ending may be more emotionally pleasing to the reader, it does not fit with the rest of the book.

No matter the character in a book, a reader will almost always find a happy ending to a book more emotionally satisfying because we all love to believe everything will turn out the way we want it to in the end. But, life doesn’t always have a happy ending. To make every book end in that way not only limits our ability to think and write truthfully about real life, but also serves to create false hope. Dickens’ entire novel is full of loss and heartbreak, so a happy ending to the novel feels too good to be true. Estella was fairly heartless throughout the entire novel, so her sudden conversion in the end seems a bit unconvincing, and diminishes the moral meaning behind the story, as it is only made to satisfy the reader.

In the original ending, the last lines of the novel are “suffering had been stronger than Miss Havisham’s teaching, and had given her a heart to understand what my heart used to be.” This does show that Estella has changed, however, she was never in love with Pip in the first place, and walking off into the sunset suddenly in the end is unrealistic. She is capable of understanding how in love he was with her from her own suffering, and how he felt when she broke his heart, but that does not mean that she completely changed her character and is capable of spending forever with him. The original ending to the novel, though not as elegantly written, wraps up the novel much more than the published ending, as it does not serve merely to make readers happy, and holds onto the social and moral meanings behind the rest of the story.


message 18: by Nadia (new)

Nadia Stoker | 7 comments Nadia Stoker
Period 1
Whether or not Dicken’s changed the ending of his novel to please his readers with a happier ending, the altered conclusion has received much criticism and there is continued debate over which ending was the correct one that properly completes the novel. One positive aspect of the original ending is it’s alignment with the tone of the novel. It is also favored because Pip’s growth and development as a character would prevent him continuing to love Estella like the revised ending implies. Part of the critical message of the novel is displayed through Pip’s change in personal values showing maturity and humility. Some critics agree with Dickens decision in that the original ending was too abrupt and didn’t fulfill the true purpose of the novel which they believe a happy conclusion to Estella and Pip’s romance would provide. The two became destined through the interwoven nature of their pasts in such a way that can only be satisfied by love. Compromises had to be made by each of two in order for their love to become real and mutual. The revised ending is more emotionally satisfying because it provides a final scene that allows the love story aspect to come full circle. Estella and Pip find each other where they first met, where Pip first realized his love for her, where she finally realizes that the feeling is mutual. In the initial finale, Pip and Estella meet briefly by utter coincidence. The pair does not discuss the past which leaves the novel inconclusive and the reader is left without a sense of closure or finality. The casual nature of this final scene downplays the entirety of their relationship and doesn’t portray the ongoing idea that Pip was in some ways significantly shaped by Estella, his love for her, and the life she taught him to desire. In chapter 59 when Pip returns to England, he expresses that he has learned how to work and earn.
“I lived happily with Herbert and his wife, and lived frugally, and paid my debts. And maintained a constant correspondence with Biddy and Joe...We were not in a grand way of business, but we had a good name, and worked for our profits, and did very well,” (462)
Pip is satisfied with the humble life and modest materials he has achieved through the mercantile firm. This illustrates that Pip has developed significantly as a character and has grown away from his incessant obsession with wealth that began with Estella. Estella’s own life experiences, proving rather tumultuous, helped her grow as well. The hardships she lived through gave her strength, and though Pip recognized that there “was the saddened softened light of once proud eyes” (465), he also experienced that he “had never felt before the friendly tough of the once insensible hand” (465) illustrating that she has been humbled by her experiences. Now the two are on an equitable level of humility, finally able to love each other which effectively illustrates the growth of characters, closure to central themes (classicism, unrequited love), and conclusion of the novel.


message 19: by Brynn (last edited Jul 28, 2016 06:14PM) (new)

Brynn Gauthier | 7 comments Brynn Gauthier
Period 1
In composing the final installment of Great Expectations, Charles Dickens was faced with quite a big responsibility. He could find truth in an ending the gave the eventual novel a very sardonic and very appropriate title. Or, he could seek to appease his audience in an ending that would perpetuate faith in such great and grand expectations. But only the final ending could maintain a sense of continuity, of reconciliation and finality and change, that is emotionally satisfying.

The initial ending demands too much of its characters. It asks them to be black and white. And since Dickens has already given them so much black, he seems to refuse the possibility of growth and the importance of narrative integrity. He trades them for indifference, particularly to the pattern of possibility he had previously actualized. Many will argue the originally penned must be more real because it is more melancholy. That we cannot accept what has the audacity to be neat. Yet I cannot believe that neat would ever be associated with the decided ending. And that is what makes it great. It is a summation of the eccentricities and understandings and lack of understandings that have pervaded the novel that suggests that the author, too, has abolished many of his great expectations. It is amicable and endearing and can be summed up in “the friendly touch of a once insensible hand” (283).

In this ending, Estella isn’t the only one coming “to take leave of it before its change” (283). Great Expectations became about acceptance. Acceptance on a great scale that has previously only been associated with expectations. And here are our acquaintances and friends and evening mists acknowledging and understanding and giving such acceptance. Pip is not betrayed with wedding bells. Estella is not reduced to an emotionally distant prop. Biddy is not condemned to be simply “matronly” (282). Dickens gives each character lyrical justice to their narrative. He lets them grow. We feel that he wishes them well. Yet he does not expect anything more of them than what they want (and have gained) for themselves. Here we get continuity in imagery and reconciliation and even ambiguity. And the biggest continuity of change. Everything they knew before was wrong and everything they acknowledge now might be wrong too. But there is magic. It may be elusive but so Estella thought of the garden, of her supposedly “last determined resistance”, in which indeed the “old ivy root had struck anew, and was growing green on low quiet mounds of ruin” (282). There is nothing more satisfying and truthful and real than certain uncertainty.


message 20: by Hannah (new)

Hannah | 7 comments Molly wrote: "Molly Worford
Period 1
Controversy surrounding the novel Great Expectations argues whether the rewritten ending is really superior to the original one, and while Dicken’s thought that it made the ..."


I totally agree with this point. Although his published ending may be more well written and polished, the original ending stays true to the themes that Charles Dickens was trying to implement in Great Expectations in the first place. The published ending, with it's round, almost fairy-tale like conclusion seems extremely unrealistic, and almost as if it disregards Estella as a symbol for all the bad parts of admiring material wealth. The original ending makes the story come full circle, while allowing Pip to reap the consequences of his earlier judgements and obsession with social class, without leaving the reader unsatisfied.


message 21: by Hannah (new)

Hannah | 7 comments Hannah Patrick
Period 1

It is highly debated which ending of Dickens' Great Expectations is stronger relating to the piece as a whole. Many argue that the published ending is better because the writing is much more polished and it gives the story a circular effect whereas the original ending seems abrupt and dissatisfying. However, despite these arguments, the original ending holds much more merit than it's given credit for, when taken in context of the themes and morals Dickens is trying to portray through Pip's story arc.

The main reason that the original ending is stronger is because it holds true to the theme that often times people disregard their important and genuine relationships in pursuit of wealth and a higher social class, which comes from an idyllic view of the wealthy that is, in many cases, overly simplistic and untrue to real life. When reading the published ending, the reader gets an overwhelmingly idyllic scene. "A cold silvery mist had veiled the afternoon, and the moon was not yet up to scatter it. But the stars were shining beyond the mist, and the moon was coming, and the evening was not dark. I could trace out where every part of the old house had been...and was looking along the desolate garden walk when I beheld a solitary figure in it"(449). This imagery, while undeniably very beautiful, gives the whole scene a fairy-tale like quality. This is mirrored in the conversation between Pip and Estella, "'...I have given [your rememberance] a special place in my heart.' 'You have always held your place in MY heart,' I answered"(450). While this scene is very beautiful and well written, and leaves the reader with a sense of the story having come full circle, it blatantly disregards Dickens' earlier critique of the idyllic, fairy-tale like view of the wealthy. It is ironic that Dickens would choose to end his social commentary in this way, and seems to be heavily contradictory.

When reading the original ending, it comes across as abrupt, with language that is notably less polished and poetic than the published ending. However, in all it's abruptness, it leaves the reader with a sense of satisfaction, as well as staying true to the cultural commentary aspect. The last line says, "I was very glad afterwards to have had the interview; for, in [Estella's] face and in her voice...she gave me the assurance that suffering had been stronger than Miss Havisham's teaching, and had given her a heard to understand what my heart used to be"(452). This ending effectively lets Pip reap the consequences of letting the pursuit of wealth consume his life, but still gives him a reconciliation with Estella, and by doing so, a reconciliation with his past self. This ending demonstrates Pip's true growth as a character, gives satisfaction to the reader through that reconciliation, and stays true to Dickens' cultural commentary by showing an ending that is more realistic and less idyllic, the idyllic portion being what he was trying to condemn in the novel. Despite the fact that it is not as beautifully crafted, the original ending finishes Great Expectations as a whole-hearted cultural commentary, and allows the reader to take it seriously as such.


message 22: by Jackson (new)

Jackson Ripley | 7 comments Taylor wrote: "Taylor Page period 1

There has been controversy surrounding the topic of the ending of the novel, Great Expectations. Charles Dickens had originally wrote an ending for Great Expectations that is ..."


I like the idea that everyone deserves a happy ending, and that being said there is some merit to the ending Dickens used. However the fairytale-like ending in which all is well is simply not consistent with the relative realism of the rest of the novel.

The important thing about the more depressing ending is that it is more real and more raw. It exposes the flaw in Pip, of course that being his inability to forgive Estella for her past mistakes, as well as his desire for vengeance. In the original ending, both characters are cleansed of any past grievances or wrong-doings, tying up any loose ends and effectively drawing the story to a clear end. Though this may have its advantages, I feel that an ending that may leave some interpretation up to the reader would have more merit as the conclusion to a narrative.

Great thoughts!


message 23: by Brynn (new)

Brynn Gauthier | 7 comments Josette wrote: "Josette Axne Period 2

The different endings of Great Expectations have raised many arguments that discuss the merits of the two different endings since the novel's publication. In regards to whi..."

Brynn Gauthier
Period 1
I suppose my question is not of your preference for the published ending, but the assumption that reconciliation is synonymous to romance. The final exchange between Pip and Estella is marked by tranquility. They leave a “ruined place.” They have nothing and that is something. And they are friends. And eventually, as Estella says, they “will continue friends apart” (284). These final moments are marked by acceptance, the repetition of a pattern of acknowledgement and growth and understanding. The last time they spoke, Estella was animated in her own aloofness. “When you say you love me, I know what you mean, as a form of words; but nothing more. You address nothing in my breast, touch nothing there. I don’t care for what you say at all.” She reacted to Pip’s profession of love with an “unmoved countenance” (212). Yet here is Estella, more than 11 years later, reaching out to Pipp with “the friendly touch of the once insensible hand” (283). And that is hardly trivial. I don’t know really if it is triumphant either. It is just real. Pipp can’t be the only one affected by experience. And here Estella isn’t condemned to be simply an object of Pipp’s thoughts and affection. She becomes a product of her own experience, and subsequently a product of her own great expectations. The way the characters change gives them dimensionality, truth, universality to their stories.
There are definitely themes of disappointment and hopelessness and regret. There is lots of darkness. I agree that the story of Pip was never about marrying Estella or living happily ever after with her. And I think that is precisely why I think the published ending is so convincing. They have both grown up and moved on and figured it out, no matter how impermanent.


message 24: by Mara (new)

Mara Osterburg | 4 comments Mara Osterburg
Period 2

When debating between the original and the revised ending in Charles Dickens book Great Expectations, the revised version of the ending is more aesthetically and emotionally pleasing because it captures the book better. It gives a sense of closure to the character’s stories. The reader can see the connection that they have, and it gives you a three dimensional look into what the characters wanted all along and leaves you with a sense of hope.

When reading the original ending it does fit with the overall sad themes of the book, but it is rushed and creates a sense of false closure for the reader. This is not true to the intent of the book, which is filled with imagery and elongates the story. When the reader looks at the revised version of the ending, it seems more true to the character of the book because it takes the time to explain, as in “A cold shivery mist had veiled the afternoon, and the moon was not yet up to scatter it” (482). This fits the style of the book and emotionally leaves the reader ready to absorb the book. The revised ending also offers the reader a sense of closure with the characters. By having Pip and Estella, “[take] her hand in mine, and we went out of the ruined place...I saw the shadow of no parting from her” (484), establishes hope for them and their future. It is also a plot choice that makes the reader emotionally happy with the ending and is seemed to be inevitable in the mind of the reader once given the idea.

In the original ending Dickens has Pip and Estella meet in the street. This is very impersonal, showing that one of Pip’s greatest expectations not coming true is the moral of the story. It also gives the reader the sense that Pip will not end up with anybody, and by only having Pip confirm that Estella has changed. “I was very glad afterwards to have had the interview; for, in her face and in her voice, and in her touch, she gave me the assurance, that suffering had been stronger than Miss Havisham's teaching, and had given her a heart to understand what my heart used to be” (original ending). This is not enough for the reader to feel emotionally satisfied. In the revised ending, the reader comes full circle with the Satis House. This is where Pip and Estella met, and when they did, they were completely different people than the characters they end up being. The two different endings are still debated, but the revised version that was published provokes a better response in the reader emotionally, stylistically, and aesthetically.


message 25: by Natalya (new)

Natalya Hill | 7 comments Kyle wrote: "Kyle Friesen
P1

Literary worth boils down to audience interpretations and reactions. Since authors won’t be around forever to explain every choice they make, reader interaction is all that matters..."


(Natalya Hill, P.1)
Responding To Both Your Initial Analysis And Your Comment on My Argument (Which I Am Reading As An Extension Of Your Analysis)
Regarding your comments on my piece being disagreeable because it “rests on assumptions about artistic worth,” I at no point use the term worth (neither artistic nor literary), similar vocabulary, or imply the idea that my arguments are determining artistic worth. The prompt does not ask about what we consider the literary or artistic worth of Great Expectations to be, and I replied in response to the prompt. I do not believe artistic worth relies upon a happy or even hopeful endings. I do believe that better written novels have the capacity for better character development, portraying humans not props. I do believe worth is subjective, and I find your comment that “literary worth boils down to audience interpretations and reactions” interesting. I find that healthy literary debates such as these prove your point concerning audience interpretations (or Reader Response): that we are both audience to Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations and we respond to it in very different ways. And you are correct, the author will not be around forever to interpret or clarify their piece to readers. But in regards to your comments on my analysis, I am (thankfully) alive and willing to clarify and defend my argument.
Firstly, let me clarify the context of my discussion surrounding, as you say, “Pip getting what he wants”. I begin my argument with the idea of lost paradises never presumed to be regained, and conclude mentioning that the ending is successful “without promising an entirely happy future”. I do suggest that Pip finds more closure and resolution in his humble origins rather than among the high society and expectations, and in this way discuss the setting of the ending scene’s significance to overall format and meaning, never in any way suggesting that a happy ending is a better ending. On this subject, I disagree with your point that the original ending fits more consistently with the lead up to the end of the book-- even before the split in endings, Dickens is returning Pip to his home in the country, and the cityscape of the original ending is jarring, with an epilogue-type feel to the shift in time and location.
I do not believe that artistic merit comes from the obedience to a structure (such as the Hero’s Journey) and I wholeheartedly agree that subversion is powerful, but as far as I can tell our disagreement comes down to a differing opinion over the message of the book. From what I understand of your piece is that the reader should receive the message that Pip’s expectations are pointless, and thus, the journey is pointless-- this message conveyed by Dickens “throwing the last hope that Pip had out the window”. I believe the message is that Pip’s expectations are pointless (and terribly comedic) and thus his journey in attempting to achieve them is also ridiculous, but necessary in order for both the protagonist and reader to realize that what he was looking for was not to be found in his ‘Expectations’ but in his origin all along. In my interpretation of Dickens’s message, the closure found back in the place of origin reinforces that Pip’s true joy could be found in his home. You on the other hand believe that the original ending conveys that “Pip’s journey was pointless, which is arguably the point of the story”. You mention that it is 'arguably the point of the story’, yet I hear no articulated argument. I use the lens of the Hero’s Journey not as a cut and dried formula to evaluate literary merit but rather as an entrypoint to discuss why Pip must transform as a character to see his home in a drastically different way. The journey is not pointless, but rather, essential to this transformation, thus why it is the fabric of the story. Pip’s happiness does in fact contribute meaning to the piece.
As to Estella, what I am arguing--for the novel to bear witness a transformation from merely ‘representing’ a concept to a fleshed out and fully vested character--is the language even you use in reference to her. You say “the original ending works better to drive home the point of the plot, because we see that Estella still represents the inevitable hopelessness of Pip's ambitions”. What I am arguing is that Estella is a more fully fledged character in the final scene of the published ending as opposed to the original, and you are agreeing with me-- the original ending does have her represent inevitable hopelessness (emphasis on the word represent). The open-endedness of the published ending does allow for discussion of pandering to audience, and happiness, but also that of a progression of character for Estella, whereas the distance created by her departing from Pip in the original ending by no means condemns her, but closes her from the audience’s imagination for the most part (thus no opening for the investment of an individual storyline). Being frank and somewhat pessimistic, I am sure that she is being used as an emotional crutch in the published ending, but I am also sure that in equal measure her revelation of a bad marriage as told to Pip can be used as a morality tale in the original ending. Herbert, however, I had not considered as a plot device (to my own failing, I admit-- I am much more on the lookout for aloof angelic female characters written shallowly than young male companions). I really enjoy your mentioning Herbert as a device to emphasize Pip’s own desires, and fully agree with it, but as it does not relate directly to the ending I won’t go off into a tangent about it.


message 26: by Molly (new)

Molly Worford | 7 comments Gianna wrote: "Gianna Neathammer Period 2

In the novel Great Expectations, Charles Dickens contradicting endings spawn an ongoing debate. Personally, I emotionally connect with the more positive outcome of the ..."


While it is true that the happy ending is more socially acceptable and fits with what the readers are used to, one could argue that any author setting out to write truthfully should not cater to what will be most widely liked. The best art is often that which questions its boundaries and attempts to make an unexpected statement. Pip’s unrealistic expectations are often disappointed, making the unpublished ending depressing and hopeless, but all the while truthful to the unfortunate themes which have already played out through the novel. A romantic might hope that Estella would be loyal to Pip in the end, showing the true importance of relationships and moral character, but it is unlikely that after being raised with a cold heart she would be able to open up emotionally. Dicken’s does not tell a story where the unlikely, more fortunate scenarios often play out, so this ending does not fit well with the rest of the novel.


message 27: by Izzie (new)

Izzie Hicks | 7 comments Gianna wrote: "Gianna Neathammer Period 2

In the novel Great Expectations, Charles Dickens contradicting endings spawn an ongoing debate. Personally, I emotionally connect with the more positive outcome of the ..."


I agree with the fact that the published ending is emotionally superior to the original ending and I liked the way you were able to draw these connections to the rest of the book. As a whole, I would have to disagree with you that Pip better fits into this "romantic" ending because of the fact that he is a sensitive character-- I think the whole idea behind what makes the published ending so controversial is that in it of itself it doesn't fit with Pip as a character. Dickens wrote the original ending to better fit with Pip's character arc and expectations that were shown throughout the novel, and I would argue that the original goes better with the ideas the author previously established. However, all of your other points about how the published ending was more emotionally and aesthetically satisfying to reader were completely valid.


message 28: by Ray (new)

Ray Hootman | 7 comments Ray Hootman
Period 2

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, a novel written in 1860, tells the tale of a young man named Pip who endeavors to find love and wealth and in doing so rejects his "common and coarse" life in favor of an action filled life of debt and criminal activity. In an effort to find relaxation after writing his last novel, Dickens traveled to Edward Bulwer-Lytton's home; Lytton was a friend and fellow author. Dickens showed him the ending of Great Expectations and because Lytton was opposed to it, Dickens decided to rewrite the last pages. The second ending of Great Expectations is preferable to the original because it is more emotionally satisfying, where the first copy seemed abrupt and unfinished.

The published ending is a more fulfilling ending to the story because it puts the reader at ease. It answers questions that have sustained the narrative like, what will become of Pip's love for Estella? It also answers questions that have recently surfaced like, what will happen to the Satis house after Miss Havisham's death? By traveling to the ruins of the Satis house, Pip finds Estella and they discuss their relationship and Estella's inheritance of the property. Estella says, "There was a long hard time when I kept far from the remembrance of what I had thrown away when I was quite ignorant of its worth. But since my duty has not been incompatible with the admission of that remembrance, I have given it a place in my heart...Be as considerate and good to me as you once were, and tell me we are friends" (515). This is very emotionally satisfying to the audience because it acknowledges Estella's indifference towards Pip's love for her, and establishes a relationship between them that has "no shadow of another parting" (516). This ending also uses familiar imagery to return the reader to the beginning of the novel. Dickens writes, "the morning mists had risen long ago when I first left the forge, so the evening musts were rising now" (516). By returning to the beginning the audience is assured of a reconnection between Pip and his common life. The published ending brings the story in a full circle.

The original ending of Great Expectations is less satisfying because it does not answer many of the questions that the reader has and doesn't come to a complete stop. Dickens tried to conclude Estella and Pip's relationship in a more simplistic way by writing, "she gave me the assurance that suffering had been stronger than Miss Havisham's teaching, and had given her a heart to understand what my heart used to be" (518). This does acknowledge Estella's hard heart, but doesn't establish a lasting relationship with Pip. She believes him to be married and have a child in the end. The ending also speaks of Estella being abused and remarried, which saddens the plot even more. The published ending brings the reader to an tranquil end in which one is brought back to the beginning and is promised friendships between the characters. The original ending does not do this. One thing that this ending does do is stay true to Dickens' writing style. This novel can be easily compared to Estella's heart because the writing is hard and quick witted, and very rarely romantic. Dickens' stays true to himself by keeping the ending real, gritty, and without a sugar coating. That being said, the rewritten ending is much more emotionally satisfying and brings the book in a complete circle which makes it the better ending to Great Expectations.


message 29: by Ray (new)

Ray Hootman | 7 comments Estee wrote: "Estee Dechtman
Period Two

When debating the two endings of Charles Dickens’s novel, Great Expectations, I find the revised ending to be the most aesthetically and emotional satisfying. Dickens le..."


What you have presented in your argument are some really interesting thoughts. I do agree that the original ending is a more realistic interpretation of unrequited love, and the published ending is much more emotionally pleasing. I disagree with your thoughts on Pip and Estella "walking off into the sunset" and "living happily ever after" because Dickens never explains the extent of their friendship. He wrote, "And we will continue friends apart" (516), which shows that their friendship is undetermined by Dickens. He in fact does leave the reader to come up with their own ideas with Estella and Pip, and what she will do with Miss Havisham's property. I also believe that Estella's heart softening in the original ending also stayed true to Dickens' writing. I do agree that this ending is much more compatible with the overall writing style, but I disagree that Estella's heart should have stayed tough. Throughout the novel all the women have softened. Pip's sister has softened through injury, Miss Havisham has softened through heartbreak and loss of Compeyson and Estella, and Miss. Skiffins has softened through trial and service to Mr. Jaggers. Estella's heart softening actually stays true to reoccurring themes throughout the novel. Even though I preferred the published ending over the original, I see where you're coming from and agree with most of your argument.


message 30: by Elise (last edited Jul 30, 2016 10:27AM) (new)

Elise | 8 comments Elise Todd
Period 2

Taking all aspects of the two scenarios into account, the published ending is superior to the unpublished in that it is more pleasing emotionally, it is very dramatic, and it matches the rest of the book with the mindsets of Pip and Estella. They meet at the runes of Satis House which is where Estella learned her ways of manipulating men and Pip had his first lessons in demeanor. The circumstances make the encounter just FEEL right to the reader. Whereas their meeting in the unpublished ending is very nonchalant. Of course, every reader likes seeing something like destiny play a role in the narrative they are experiencing and one could almost say that it is present in the published ending.

The published ending also continues the dramatic flare that is constant throughout the book. The setting is so vivid we can practically see it in our minds. He describes the "old ivy" that had "struck root anew and was growing green on low quiet mounds of ruin" (511). The air was full of "silvery mist" that had been "touched with the first rays of the moonlight" (512). These images are perfectly placed here because Dickens constantly uses striking scenes like this one throughout his book: the marshes, Satis House, London, The Thames. It fits perfectly into his framework.

Another aspect of this final scene that fits with the rest of the book that the other version does not have, is the feelings of Pip and Estella toward each other. Pip wants to marry Estella throughout most of the book and his feelings continue in this manner in this ending when he says: "I saw the shadow of no parting from her" (514). This implies that he will, or at least wishes to, marry her. Contrariwise, Estella's last words in the book are: "And will continue friends apart" (514). These word show her aloofness toward him even at the end of their struggles. In the alternate ending, Pip seems to have no interest in Estella anymore and Estella seems to have a softened heart for Pip, or so he thinks, as he says that suffering "had given her a heart to understand what my heart used to be". These mindsets are completely different from the ones in the published ending, but those are the ones that fit Pip and Estella's characters the most. The ending published with the book is more cohesive and provides the reader with the most closure therefore making it the superior ending of the two.


message 31: by Bridget (new)

Bridget (bridgeygelato) | 7 comments Izzie wrote: "Izzie Hicks period 2

Reflecting on changing his ending for Great Expectations, Charles Dickens writes in a letter: “I have put in as pretty a little piece of writing as I could, and I have no dou..."


(Bridget Galaty, P 2)

I really enjoy your analysis. Something I think is particularly interesting in your writing is your final paragraph assertion on the return to Satis house as a symbol. I feel that most of the discussion we are having is over the emotional merits of one ending over the other with some argument over consistency of plot. While I respect that that was the main directive of the prompt, I appreciate that your response brings in a slightly more concrete reason for why this ending is a better conclusion to the novel.

I do have a question on the house as a symbol. I would agree with your analysis of this final scene showing the decaying and often fluctuating state of wealth, but I do struggle a little with the extension of the symbol throughout the novel. From Pip's first arrival at Satis house, it is clear that it is already in disrepair. Estella talks about how the brewery has been long disused and Pip notes that much of the house is overgrown and falling to pieces. At this point in time Pip is still enamored with the idea of wealth and its grandeur. It seems to me that the two do not equate. This brings me to my main question: in your analysis of the symbol, do you see it as a statement on wealth that the reader will come to understand or do you feel it is actually in holding throughout the entire novel? Furthermore, as a more philosophical question, do you think a symbol should follow the plot and change with it or is it better for it to foreshadow the end?

I personally hold that symbols that trace the thematic progress of the novel are stronger overall. By serving as an almost simplified version of the plot, they reinforce a message throughout the book. This generally strengthens a message and may even make it more clear to readers. I can't quite surmise which you would argue for and am interested to hear your thoughts.


message 32: by Elise (new)

Elise | 8 comments Bella wrote: "Bella Speelman, Period 2
One of the most interesting aspects of Dickens’ Great Expectations is the existence of two endings; one in which Estella has remarried after the death of her abusive husban..."


Elise Todd Period 2
In my three paragraph response I personally wrote in favor of the published ending. I would say in response to your writing that you make a very strong point in that the book is "full of loss and heartbreak" and the unpublished ending goes along with that theme. I agree that the more abrupt ending does fit the melancholy mood of the book. However, I might point out that in the published ending, it never quite says that Pip and Estella "walk off into the sunset". I can definitely see how this is implied though. Estella says "and will continue friends apart" (514). She doesn't seem to see things the way that Pip does. I think in her mind, they weren't going to marry. I applaud your taking the work as a whole into account when deciding which ending fits though. Good job!


message 33: by Taylor (last edited Jul 30, 2016 11:41AM) (new)

Taylor Page | 7 comments Mara wrote: "Mara Osterburg
Period 2

When debating between the original and the revised ending in Charles Dickens book Great Expectations, the revised version of the ending is more aesthetically and emotionall..."


Taylor Page period 2
I completely agree with your argument on how the revised version ending of the novel is superior to the original version. I also think that the revised ending leaves the reader feeling emotionally satisfied and gives them a sense of hope for the future of Pip and Estella. I really like how you said the "original ending fits with the overall sad themes of the book, but is rushed and creates a sense of false closure for the reader." I thought the same thing when I was reading the original ending. However, I have to disagree that in the original ending when Pip and Estella meet in the street, it is impersonal. I think Dickens' was trying to say something about the future of the two characters and where they will go with their lives. I really enjoyed reading your response!


message 34: by Chiara (new)

Chiara | 7 comments Chiara Walz
Charles Dickens’ novel Great Expectations has two different endings; the original ending is dreary, while the second ending is more fulfilling. In the initial ending Pip and Estella see each other again, but she was married to an abusive man and now was married to a poor doctor. She had changed quite a bit since they knew one another, and they parted as two people who barely knew each other. In the second ending Pip returns to the Satis House to find out it has been torn down. Out in the horizon Pip sees Estella and the readers are to assume they end up together. Dickens printed the original ending in 1861, but his good friend Edward Bulwer-Lytton suggested that he rewrote the last chapter to be more pleasant; he believed that the readers would respond better to a happy ending. Dickens trusted Edward’s judgement and wrote a whole new outcome. “The lady whom I had never seen before, lifted up her eyes and looked archly at me, and then I saw that the eyes were Estella's eyes. But she was so much changed, was so much more beautiful, so much more womanly, in all things winning admiration had made such wonderful advance, that I seemed to have made none. I fancied, as I looked at her, that I slipped hopelessly back into the coarse and common boy again. O the sense of distance and disparity that came upon me, and the inaccessibility that came about her!”

I find the second scenario to be much more emotionally satisfying. It is human nature to be optimistic for a happy ending, because it gives people hope. I want to believe that Pip and Estella went through all the hard stuff because they deserved to live a decent life in the end. It was obvious that Pip was enamored with Estella and deserved the chance with her. “The unqualified truth is, that when I loved Estella with the love of a man, I loved her simply because I found her irresistible. Once for all; I knew to my sorrow, often and often, if not always, that I loved her against reason, against promise, against peace, against hope, against happiness, against all discouragement that could be. Once for all; I loved her nonetheless because I knew it, and it had no more influence in restraining me, than if I had devoutly believed her to be human perfection.” While reading the novel, I was rooting for Estella and Pip to end up together in the end. If Dickens chose to keep with his original ending I would have liked the book much less, and would be truly disappointed. I think that it was a wise decision to change the ending, in order to make the book a classic that has lasted many decades.

Overall, I feel like Charles Dickens made the best choice rewriting the final chapter. While the original is possibly more realistic and leaves a long impression, readers, me included, prefer to see that all the troubles in the characters’ journeys meant something in the end. There is more closure in the final version. We get to see what happened to the Satis House, and in a way the end of the house was the beginning of Pip and Estella’s fresh start.


message 35: by Josette (new)

Josette Axne | 7 comments Gianna wrote: "Gianna Neathammer Period 2

In the novel Great Expectations, Charles Dickens contradicting endings spawn an ongoing debate. Personally, I emotionally connect with the more positive outcome of the ..."


Josette Axne Period 2

You say how the revised ending of Great Expectations fits the character of Pip more efficiently. I personally see it a different way. As I said in my earlier post, the reader I think has a strong sympathy towards Pip and his unhappiness. The original ending of the novel concludes his story. I don't think he was ever meant to be happy, I believe he was meant to be content, and start over with his life without Estella in it.

I also think that there is a connection with Pip and Estella in the original ending. Yes it may not be romantic but, there's a connection that lies in the closure of their relationship. Estella is remarried and is happy, she can finally open up and love and break all the teachings that Miss Havisham has given her. I do agree with you that the published ending resolves the love triangle that occurs in the novel which to me got quite confusing sometimes.

Your theme of the published ending makes sense but, I happen to disagree with your theme of the original. Pip’s character embarks a journey of his identity and his goal of his great expectations. The original ending encaptures the theme of fate and what Pip is truly made out for. Also the original ending provides closure to him as well for him to move on with his life and not be stuck in the past. That's why I think the original ending is more superior to the novel because Pip’s fate and closure is what truly embarks that his journey is complete.


message 36: by Caitie (new)

Caitie Smith | 5 comments The first ending Dickens composed for his novel Great Expectations was a much more depressing approach to finish his novel. When staying with his good friend Edward Bulwer-Lytton Dickens decided to show him the ending to this great novel. Lytton then went on to convince Dickens to change the ending to a happier approach to please his readers more. Though, the published ending leaves the readers more pleased/satisfied, it clashes with the aesthetic of, basically, the entire novel.

Great expectations was written in a dark and remorseful tone. Throughout the entire novel unfortunate things seem to happen to Pip, making it quite obvious that this is not a happy story. Pip is abused by his sister, is rejected by the focus of his affection, loses his money, and is threatened by an escape convict; this story is far from happy. Dickens focuses more on the wealth and character of the characters inside the book compared to innocence and what everyone is expected to believe. The published ending contrasts with this because of the way Pip ends up getting full closure with Biddy, and actually ends up with Estella when reencountering with her at their place of meeting. Yes, staying with Estella makes the reader content, it is a love story after all, but this published ending, in a way, ruins the tone and ways of the entire novel all together.

Dickens novel gives off the idea that morality and integrity are more important than wealth, and lesson Pip learns through loving both Biddy and Estella. Pip shows this idea through marrying Biddy over Estella. Pip was in love with the idea of Estella's elegant wealthy lifestyle, but was not so in love with her bitter and cold outside, even though he knew inside she was lovely. Dickens also conveyed the idea that social class does define a persons character. Again, this idea is conveyed through Pip deciding to marry Biddy (who has less money) over Estella. The original ending gave the reader satisfaction of getting the full closure from Estella. "I was very glad afterwards to have had the interview; for, in her face and in her voice, and in her touch, she gave me the assurance, that suffering had been stronger than Miss Havisham’s teaching, and had given her a heart to understand what my heart used to be," (from original ending). The published ending gives Pip someone to spend the rest of his life with, something that the original did not give us, and this leaves the reader happier due to the fact that the novel is originally a love story. Although, the original ending matches with the tone and ideas of the entire novel all together much better than the published, therefore making it a better choice for his novel despite what Edward Bulwer-Lytton had to say.


message 37: by Caitie (new)

Caitie Smith | 5 comments Chiara wrote: "Chiara Walz
Charles Dickens’ novel Great Expectations has two different endings; the original ending is dreary, while the second ending is more fulfilling. In the initial ending Pip and Estella see..."


Caitie Smith
I definitely agree with you when you say that the published ending leaves you more satisfied as the reader, because its a love story and we, as the readers, want to see Pip being with the one he loves, which is Estella. I also agree with you when you say that the original ending goes with the theme and tone of the novel as a whole. The novel was more on the dark side with reoccurring unfortunate, tragic events, and the original ending kept these events going when Pip had to really say goodbye to Estella. I do, though, have to disagree with you when you say that the published ending was the right choice for Dickens to make. I personally feel that the published ending changed the ways of the novel, and through of the tone, leaving me unsatisfied with the ending; it felt weak in a way. I believe that the original ending kept Dickens tone strong and finished the story right, due to all the other tragic events that occurred. Overall loved your response, good job!


message 38: by Bella (new)

Bella Speelman | 7 comments Veronica wrote: "Because of his admittance to faults, readers of Great Expectations learn to forgive main character Pip from his constant emotional and moral dilemmas. The sympathy alone is enough to force a bondin..."

Bella Speelman
period 2
I feel as though there is much more uncertainty present in the published ending as opposed to the original, as just as you stated, there is no “and they lived happily ever after”, the reader is merely left with that assumption. However, in the original ending, you’re not left guessing that they got together, you know for certain that they don’t, but they have reconciled with one another. In addition to this, the original ending holds the themes and morals that are present throughout the rest of the story, so there is a certain amount of satisfaction that the reader gets by the ending remaining true to the rest of the novel. In my opinion, though much more elegantly written, the published ending feels a bit forced to be a happy ending, whereas the original coherently fits with the entire story line.


message 39: by Evan (new)

Evan Austin | 7 comments Evan Austin
Period 1

The most burdensome section in a novel to write is the ending; deciding how to tie everything up. Ever since the classical era, authors were disappointing their readers with deus ex machina or unnecessary death. Answering all the loose ends and leaving the reader satisfied is almost an unachievable task. Charles Dickens faced this dilemma at the end of his excruciatingly intricate novel, Great Expectations. Although neither ending fully satisfies my own aesthetic standards, the original ending is superior to the edited version.
Revising the ending of Great Expectations to fulfill his friend’s desires was the largest mistake Dickens made in the novel. The original ending is short, well executed and leaves no loose ends for the readers to stress over at night. Moreover, it follows the logic of the novel in terms of fulfilling earlier foreshadowing. In Chapter 43, Dickens writes, “ ‘It seems,’ said Estella very calmly, ‘that there are sentiments… which I am not able to comprehend. When you say you love me, I know what you mean in a form of words, but nothing more,’” (384). In direct sync with this, the original ending finishes off with Pip’s amazement in seeing that Estella’s suffering allowed her to feel the way he once felt, which is arguably one of his greatest expectations all along. Although critics may argue that the other ending gives hope to the reader and satisfies their true love, it is too far fetched. The chances of Estella and Pip returning to Satis House the exact moment after several years and then walking off into the sunset together lowers the quality of the book as a whole. This demeans the book into the category of a fairy tale with a cheap, discreditable ending.
The original ending serves the purpose of closure much better in contrast to the edited version, simply because it continues the plot in a logical format and leaves the reader contented. After finishing over 500 pages of reading, the viewers don’t want to be disappointed with a sappy and predictable ending. The original ending is clearly superior and is more aesthetically pleasing in offering closure.


message 40: by Evan (new)

Evan Austin | 7 comments Nadia wrote: "Nadia Stoker
Period 1
Whether or not Dicken’s changed the ending of his novel to please his readers with a happier ending, the altered conclusion has received much criticism and there is continued ..."


(Evan Austin, Period 1)

Overall, all of the arguments you are making in support of the revised ending are valid, however I just wanted to point out a few things that made me choose the original version instead.

In your essay, you talk about how the original ending has Estella and Pip meeting in "utter coincidence", but that is almost the entirety of the revised ending's premise. The majority of your essay is intent on establishing the happy fairy tale ending, but it seems to unrealistic for me. The chance of Estella and Pip meeting together at the very same place they met, after several years of having the opportunity to visit Satis house, it way too far fetched. Although there is an argument to say that the meeting with Estella is absurd in both endings, the sappy way that the two cross paths in the revised version is clearly inferior in terms of literary worth.

The only other thing I wanted to bring up was the fluidity of the original ending in contrast to the abruptness of the revised version. As many other students have said in their essays, the entirety of the novel is morose and despondent, leaving Dickens no choice but to end it the same way. Closing his novel with the predictable fairy tale is wholly incoherent with the rest of the book. For me, the most pulling argument that I can make in regards to the original ending is its relation to the title. "Great Expectations" is flaunted about various times in the novel, but doesn't really have any real meaning until the very last page of the original ending. It's completely ironic and fitting to have Pip never attain his "great expectations" in the sense of romantic desire. But it goes deeper in alluding to the notion that one of his greatest expectations overall was making sure Estella felt something, which is perfectly summed up in the last sentence of the original ending. I really enjoyed your essay and I think that you're a very fluid writer, these are just a few comments I had in contrast to your opinions.


message 41: by Marah (new)

Marah | 7 comments Marah Herried
P. 2 (sorry, was writing the wrong period before)

Both endings to the novel contain merit and maintain the same sense of melancholy and ambiguity that is so present throughout the entire novel. Nevertheless, the original ending, initially criticized for its pessimistic outlook and uncertainty, is the one that seems to be the truest not only to the author's vision but also to the deeper meaning of the story itself. Although some may argue that the revisions ending produces a "happier" ending, the premise they are built upon--namely a facade of superficial perfection--stray drastically from what I perceived Dickens's initial message for the story to be and actually produce even more murkiness regarding its emotional tone.

Not only was this glossier, more heavily-edited encounter between Pip and Estella unrealistic, but it leaves readers feeling not more emotionally satisfied, but rather, even more confused than the feeling that the original ending provided--one of uncertainty but still resulting from intentional literary prowess. The addition, for instance, of the "one," following the line, ‘I saw the shadow of no parting from her, but one," is one example of how Dickens's infused his message about class and human nature, one that is absent from the new copy.

Although some may argue that this addition actually implied union between Pip and Estella until death, thus making the revised version of the line more open-to-interpretation, I see it as a reminder to Pip that Estella is no more than a daydream, a girl on a pedestal, compared to who he actually is, and where his actual desires lay. This ambiguity is essential to the ending of the novel, as well as the genuine mind of the author himself. This is all in comparison to the second ending, which was appropriated for a specific audience, and thus leaves a feeling of psychological incoherence with the rest of the novel.

In this, I believe the Piccadilly ending to feel more at place within the story over the alternative one. Regardless of the lengthiness and peaceful conclusion provided by the second, it feels out of place in an otherwise fluid narrative through lacking the honesty and vulnerability of the shorter version.


message 42: by Lauren (new)

Lauren | 7 comments Lauren Page Period1
It was relatively common for authors to change their work, sometimes even between printings. So Dickens’ last-minute emendation to Great Expectations isn’t entirely unheard of. Dickens submitted Great Expectations with this ending in 1861 and went to visit his friend and fellow author Edward Bulwer-Lytton. Lytton was a popular figure in his own right as a writer of crime historical and crime novels. He was also a man of privilege, and it’s likely that Dickens respected Lytton as both an author and as a gentleman. Probably on these grounds, Dickens shared the Great Expectations Manuscript with Lytton.He may have been surprised with Lytton’s reaction. Rather than wholeheartedly praising Dickens’ latest novel, Lytton urged Dickens to rewrite the ending completely. Dickens intimated that “Bulwer was so very anxious that I should alter the end…and stated his reasons so well, that I have resumed the wheel, and taken another turn at it.” He also believed, “the soul of a very long fiction should be pleasing.” He urged his friend to provide a cheerier conclusion for readers. Critics of the revised ending shouldn’t assign too much blame to Bulwer, though. By necessity, Dickens had always been sensitive to fans’ reactions; if he dropped the ball one week, readers might not come back the next. He was known to change course part-way through a serial to satisfy the public.

The original ending, written in June of 1861, has Pip spot Estella’s coach in Piccadilly two years after his return to England. The encounter is strained and sorrowful, as Estella recounts her marriage to the abusive Bentley Drummle. Though she’s learned compassion, what Pip felt for her is in the past. The two part as swiftly as they meet with no hope of reconnecting. Whatever the motivation, Dickens crafted a new ending for Great Expectations: the one that was published on August 3, 1861. Though ambiguous, the second ending doesn’t rule out a happily-ever-after conclusion for the main characters. This version places the pair’s meeting in the garden of the ruined Satis House. As in the first ending, Estella appears “saddened” and “softened” by her abusive marriage. She suggests they will “continue friends apart,” but as Pip takes her hand to leave the garden he “sees the shadow of no parting from her.” It’s not a marriage proposal, still it leaves room for optimistic readers to make that leap. In rewriting the final chapters of Pip and Estella’s story, was Dickens trying to have it both ways, catering to the public without compromising his vision. Over 150 years since their publication, the two endings continue to inspire debate.

In my opinion, the revised ending of the story is more emotionally satisfying because Pip's dream of Estella reciprocating feeling for him is achieved. The second ending shows Dickens trying to have it both ways. He didn’t want to betray Pip and Estella with the merry sound of wedding bells followed by the patter of tiny feet he must also have realised that his sentimental readership wouldn’t have felt satisfied by the bittersweet inconsequentiality of the meeting in Piccadilly. It is a happy ending that satisfies the readers in knowing that the couple is finally reconciled and it only took Estella an abusive relationship to find out that she truly does have a heart, after all.Perhaps they deserve to be happy after all the pain they both had suffered.


message 43: by Lauren (new)

Lauren | 7 comments Ray wrote: "Ray Hootman
Period 2

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, a novel written in 1860, tells the tale of a young man named Pip who endeavors to find love and wealth and in doing so rejects his "comm..."


Lauren Page Period 1
I completely agree that the revised ending is more emotionally satisfying. The second ending leaves the reader more satisfied because it answers all, if not most of the questions the reader has, which you pointed out. I concur that the revised ending puts the reader at eases opposed to the original ending which almost leaves the reader hanging and leaves many questions unanswered. I believe the second ending fulfills the "love story" aspect of the novel, and even though the novel doesn't fully include if Pip and Estella get married and start a family, you know the do end up together and that is assuring to the reader. Great response and feedback!


message 44: by Isa (new)

Isa Harris | 7 comments Molly wrote: "Molly Worford
Period 1
Controversy surrounding the novel Great Expectations argues whether the rewritten ending is really superior to the original one, and while Dicken’s thought that it made the ..."


I enjoy your views and ideas and ultimately agree that the original ending is superior to the rewritten that only fits to satisfy popular cliches and 'happily ever afters.' Your analysis creates a succinct and straightforward point of view and what you have presented in your argument is pleasing and understandable. I think that Dickens original is much more conducive to the whole of the novel and displays the themes that are implied about Pip and Estella's relationship. His choice to make the ending melancholy and dreary I also thought contributed to the idea that happy endings aren't always available to certain human beings. At the same time I think that the alternate ending lends an emotionally stable ending for the audience. Many want to believe that Pip isn't completely left alone by the one he loves and that their story continues after the novel finishes. Throughout the piece Dickens creates depressing moods, and the alternate ending lends itself to the happy ending. Although Pip might not have ended up with Estella in the original ending they become infatuated with one another in the alternate rather than Pip's love being one sided. Overall I agree with most of your views and think that your analysis is wonderful and the ideas that are apart of your argument are swift and conducive to agreeing with the plot of Dickens novel.


message 45: by Alec (new)

Alec | 7 comments Alec Farmer
Per 2

Charles Dickens is often regarded as one of the greatest authors of all time, and his novel Great Expectations helps to solidify this ideology. The novel is one of redemption and learning to care for those who are important to you, and it’s ending helps drive this message home “I took her hand in mine, and we went out of the ruined place”, which gives the reader hope for the future (Dickens 466). However the author had originally intended for the ending to the book to be much darker, and to leave the reader with a less optimistic outlook “and the lady and I looked sadly enough on one another” (Dickens 468). Critics have torn apart which ending provides a better fit for the novel’s conclusion, and while both are very well written there is one that is done in a very developed way, and holds the message of the story while leaving the reader feeling more emotionally fulfilled. This superior conclusion would thus be the published ending as it shows that individuals can rewrite their wrongs, and gives readers an optimistic outlook.

The original ending for Great Expectations is not however by any means poorly written or less thought out. The novel itself certainly has its fair share of hopelessness and abysmal times. Early on in the novel Pip’s sister is beaten by a convict and left physically and mentally immobile “my sister lay very ill in bed. Her sight was disturbed, so that she saw objects multiplied, and gasped at visionary teacups”, and sections of the novel like this display a dark and hopeless outlook (Dickens 118). Yet to simply look at these cases as isolated segments one would be losing the message behind these sinister events. What follows these dark segments is happiness or at least some form of optimism. This can be seen as shortly after this beating Biddy is put into the lives of Pip and Joe. For Pip, Biddy was strong and kind figure with whom he could put all of his trust into “I resolved that it was a good time and place for the admission of Biddy into my inner confidence”, and Biddy was thus able to help Pip through this difficult time (Dickens 123). For Joe, Biddy was able to become an individual who truly loved him. While this development certainly takes much longer, by the end of the novel Biddy and Joe marry and Biddy “couldn’t love him better than she does”, which thus shows how Biddy was able to have a positive effect on Pip and Joe (Dickens 461). The novel at times may have a melancholy feeling, which is where the original ending would take its course as it doesn’t provide a sense of optimism, but it is not in the isolated despair that the novel reveals its story. If Charles Dickens were to have ended the novel with Estella being given “a heart to understand what my heart used to be” suddenly the feelings that Pip and Estella had felt, and the suffering they had gone through would have no worth except to inspire more suffering from what they had done (Dickens 468).

This sense of post-tragic optimism is what makes up the majority of the published ending. While the ending itself is mostly the optimism, the lead up is where the reader can find the tragedy. Prior to this Pip learns that the individual holding his fortune is a convict who is currently wanted. It is when the convict is killed that Pip loses not only his hold to the property, but a dear friend “do what he would, and love me though he did” (Dickens 442). It is from this tragedy that Pip is able is able to find redemption, and over time reestablish a connection with those who had always truly cared for him, Joe and Biddy. It is also during this time that Estella was forced to go through her own suffering “I had heard of her as leading a most unhappy life, and as being separated from her husband, who had used her with great cruelty”, thus Estella is also put through suffering and loss (Dickens 464). Where the original ending focuses on how Estella hurt Pip, and how that continues to hurt her, the published ending focuses more on redemption and optimism for both the characters. The writing of the published ending is also able to use grand comparisons to create aesthetically strong writing. The use of imagery such as “and as the morning mists had risen long ago… the evening mists were rising now”, not only creates beautiful imagery but conjures up an image that Pip and Estella about to begin a new chapter in their lives (Dickens 466). The published ending is thus able to leave the reader feeling satisfied and joyful, as “I saw no shadow of another parting from her” instills an optimistic view that no matter how rough life may be, persistence will pay off. (Dickens 466).


message 46: by Alec (new)

Alec | 7 comments Bella wrote: "Bella Speelman, Period 2
One of the most interesting aspects of Dickens’ Great Expectations is the existence of two endings; one in which Estella has remarried after the death of her abusive husban..."


Alec Farmer
Per 2

I most certainly agree that at times Great Expectations has a very gloomy and sad tone. Some of the major events are the loss of Pip’s sister, the death of Miss Havisham, and of course the breaking of Pip’s heart by Estella. So I can see where you’re coming from when you say that the novel has a sad tone; however it is from these sad moments I bleieve that the characters are able to grow and greater experiences are able to arise. For instance, when Magwitch dies towards the end of the novel Pip is no longer afraid to stand by someone's side even if they are not of the same class as he, something Pip failed to do with Joe, “God bless you! You’ve never deserted me, dear boy”, and this shows a very stark change in character as earlier in the novel Pip “had once meant to desert him” (Dickens 442). So while it can be dark at times, I feel as if the darkness of the novel always leads to growth or something better. The is a constant to the narrative structure: Pip helps a convict and is later given property in London, Pip’s sister is beaten then Biddy comes to them, Pip beats a boy and they later become friends, Pip learns that the person giving him the property isn’t Miss Havisham yet they still become very close, Pip becomes very ill and almost arrested but is reunited with Biddy and Joe. All of the darkness of the novel eventually leads to some form of happiness or at least growth, and thus to leave the novel on a sad note I feel would actually contradict the structure of the narrative.

Now to deal with the whole Estella part of the ending, because she absolutely is terrible to Pip from the very beginning of their time together “she denounced me a stupid clumsy laboring boy” all the way to when Estella becomes married “I cannot adequately express what pain it gave me” (Dickens 58, 299). Estella knows Pip loves her and yet she pushes him away constantly. So I can see where you’re coming from when you say that Estella shouldn’t end up with Pip. But on the other hand doesn’t Pip do the exact same thing to Joe? Throughout the story as Pip is on his journey to being a gentleman he constantly pushes Joe away despite the fact that at one point they were best friends, and Pip knows that Joe just wants to be with Pip “I never thought there was anything low and small in my keeping away from Joe” (Dickens 234). By the novel’s end Pip has found redemption with Joe and they become friends again, so why would it be that Estella is the only one who is not given a chance at redemption and happiness? Also because while she may not on the surface at all times appear so fond of Pip, it’s underneath or even in the small comments where I believe Estella holds her affection for Pip. This is seen when Pip asks Estella about her fiance “Do you deceive and entrap him, Estella?” and Estella responds with “Yes, and many others-all of them but you” (Dickens 302). This exchange shows that she cares for Pip like she cares for no other man. So while the book can certainly be gloomy at times, and Estella may have treated Pip poorly, I feel the novel benefits more from the published ending as it keeps the narrative structure going, while allowing all the characters a chance at redemption, and lets the building feelings between Pip and Estella to become fully fledged.


message 47: by Gianna (last edited Jul 31, 2016 07:21AM) (new)

Gianna Neathammer | 7 comments Bella wrote: "Bella Speelman, Period 2
One of the most interesting aspects of Dickens’ Great Expectations is the existence of two endings; one in which Estella has remarried after the death of her abusive husban..."




Although these “happy endings” may not always happen in real life, the concept of it in the novel flows with the entire work. You said “No matter the character in a book, a reader will almost always find a happy ending to a book more emotionally satisfying because we all love to believe everything will turn out the way we want it to in the end. But, life doesn’t always have a happy ending.” The book would have turned out completely different if the more depressing ending was used. The unrealistic aspect is what interests the reader. Throughout the book, Pip is left without love. If the original ending was used, the book would be nothing but suffering for Pip and no excitement would be brought to change the mood. Stories usually have happy endings, and this is what society is used to and enjoys. This is why if the original ending was used, I feel like the novel wouldn’t be as strong. The characters feelings lead up to this ending (the one in the book). This is why the happy ending does link with the entirety of the novel. When Estella and Pip walk into the sunset, there is a sense of joy left with the reader. This is what makes the ending in the book more enjoyable than the original.


message 48: by Jacob (new)

Jacob Schwartzberg | 7 comments Jacob Schwartzberg

About the change in the ending of "Great Expectations" Dickens writes, "I have put in as pretty a little piece of writing as I could, and I have no doubt the story will be more acceptable through the alteration." However, I believe that this is not necessarily the case. The idea that stories always require a happy ending is not only unrealistic but immature. I found the original, more depressing ending to be much more satisfying aesthetically as it fit the story much better.

With the newer ending, I feel as if the story becomes similar to a children's story or a fairy tale and everyone lives "happily ever after." With the original ending I feel as if Dickens wrote as if the novel were real life. Therefore, the events played out as he imagined they might in his own life.

Finally, the tone of the rest of the novel doesn't match the new ending. The novel has a solemn, serious tone. When Dickens wrote the new ending, he created a gap between the serious tone of the first section and the almost cheerful, light tone of the ending. With the original ending, the tone carries through the entire novel.


message 49: by Jacob (new)

Jacob Schwartzberg | 7 comments Veronica wrote: "Molly wrote: "Molly Worford
Period 1
Controversy surrounding the novel Great Expectations argues whether the rewritten ending is really superior to the original one, and while Dicken’s thought tha..."


While the new ending leaves the reader feeling happier upon finishing the novel than the original ending does. I see a disconnect between the sections of the novel, while the first section seems to be going in one direction, the new ending takes the novel in a whole different direction where I personally didn't see it going. I found the fairytale ending to be unrealistic while the original ending seemed to be more realistic. Additionally, I found that the original ending flowed from the rest of the novel much easier than the new ending.


message 50: by Chiara (new)

Chiara | 7 comments Gianna wrote: "Gianna Neathammer Period 2

In the novel Great Expectations, Charles Dickens contradicting endings spawn an ongoing debate. Personally, I emotionally connect with the more positive outcome of the ..."


I strongly agree that the second ending is the more desirable ending. The closure that we get between Pip and Estella's was very gratifying for the readers. Like you said, I think the original is "depressing and unsatisfying" and would have been an unwise choice for Dickens. I have to disagree on the fact that because Pip is a sensitive person, that the ending fit him. Often times the sensitive ones are the people who tend to get hurt more; because of this I believe that the first ending was the more realistic of the two. It may not have been the one people wanted to hear, but I believe that it was the more reasonable ending. Overall, I agree with the points you made. I think you did a good job, and backed them up well.


« previous 1
back to top