Aug 6, 2007

Better Than my "Expectations"


Charles Dickens' "Great Expectations" is considered by several sources to be his best work, and so I thought I'd give it a try. Mind you, my own expectations weren't very high because of my earnest reading of "Oliver Twist". You see, I had tried to like "Twist" but the characters were so very grotesque that I felt I was reading the Sunday funnies or a cheap dime novel. As well, I felt like poor Oliver was on a roller-coaster ride of a plot and had me along for fun, BUT it was not fun for either of us. I guess you could say that, it more literary terms, I felt that the characters were somewhat one-dimensional and that the plot seemed contrived and unnatural. Now I know that "Twist" was written to be a wake-up call to a generation in England which had repressed a large section of society and I appreciated it for that. Not much more.
So here is where I dutifully follow the literary world into another earnest exploration of Dickens and I find...great fulfillment. Truly. I loved this book.
Pip is our main character. His circumstances are meager, his parents dead and his unpredictable, harsh and violent sister is in charge of him. He has a good friend in his sister's husband Joe, which is all the more close as a result of their combined futile opposition to Pip's sister's abuse.
Enter a new chapter of Pip's life in which he is exposed to those of a higher social and economic rank than he and we see him exposed as well...as internally arrogant and lacking in perspective and priority. Suffice it to say, he became a social climber and a greedy grub. I did not like him. At this point, Dickens has my attention completely and there is so much more to come. Subplots were seamlessly woven into the larger plot, bringing out the characters introducing more characters who only enhance the whole work. I reached the end last night and smiled.By the way, the fingerless gloves are from Knitty's pattern "Fetching"

What next? Please shoot some ideas at me. I am trying to read more classics....what's your favorite?

6 comments:

Tammy said...

I must read faster!

Laura said...

Bleak House. And Martin Chuzzlewit. And anything by Trollope. And Persuasion by jane Austen. (Actually, anything by Austen.) And The Vicar of Wakefield. And The Compleat Angler. I'm with you on Oliver Twist...

km said...

I cast on for Fetching last night. It's a fun knit. I'll get around to posting soon. I read Cancer Ward by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in college (for fun). I had more time back then. You can make some interesting connections with cancer that sticks out of a mans neck like a grapefruit, and he just ignores...and sin that man ignores in his own life. I think you must be a fast reader if you want to attempt this.

Lydee said...

Wow, you all may raise my book IQ! I must admit that I read purely for entertainment, not for deep thought, but I'm always willing to try books that someone else recommends, thanks!

uberstrickenfrau said...

I listened to Great Expectations on tape mostly because I read Ffords books about Tuesday Next and how she goes into books to solve crimes and she teams up with Miss Halversen(sp?)Not a very lofty reason!

Donna Boucher said...

I like your fetching with the little white edge.

Last year I read The Count of Monte Cristo, Anna Karenina and Crime and Punishment.

All three meaty and classic.
I'm glad I read them...but I can't say I enjoyed it :o)