I am indescribably happy to meet the charming spirit of springtime with you, my reader.
Through the experience of various literary pieces, none of the books, except the one I will discuss today, has yet illustrated how I perceive this time of a year. Picking the sight of the world out of my window, I can’t but hear Dickens’s words come to my mind –
“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot, and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”
It is a story of a boy – cute and ambitious – gaining an unbelievable fortune and an invitation to become a real gentleman.
As a classic bildungsroman character, our protagonist Pip walks the reader around his life journey, endorsing his moral and psychological developments and the challenges he faces. The juxtaposition of Victorian “class virtue” and the desire for self-improvement is one of the core ideas of the novel.
A heart-melting idea relevant to many young scholars leaving their hometown greets a reader during Pip’s reminiscence of the past. Reading Great Expectations, we learn about the moral values Pip greatly regards and yet leaves for a while, tempted by the Victorian society caring for duty and proper behavior rather than authenticity and kindness.
Though this novel falls into the “dark section” of Dickens’s literary career after David Copperfield’s creation and deeply rooted disappointment in his love life, I still believe that Great Expectations is a charming piece of a gothic romance. He makes the reader’s experience enjoyable with his humorous approach toward the narration, which feels quite paradoxical reading wordy and long sentences without being overwhelmed. But that is the art of Dickens! He makes the images vivid and alive as if they will pop out from the pages of the book and start waltzing with you around the room.
It might seem already evident, but if being asked, I would certainly recommend reading this masterpiece. The novel is undoubtedly terrifying with its hefty amount, as most of other Dickens’ works, but it is worth it. It is lovely.
Pip became one of my favorite characters with his brilliant naivety and fascinating kindness. Witnessing his whole life journey, I’ve realized how badly I wish to meet a person in my life who would convince me that “we need never be ashamed of our tears.”
Deviating from the unquestionably dear protagonist, I would also point out that this novel offers a genuine “tap on a shoulder” for the young scholars. It provokes not only the desire for knowledge but also questioning of what one is going to do with it. What does it mean to be a gentleman, and what defines one? Is it fortune, manners, or knowledge? Ideally, a gentleman would reflect all of those core values, but at Pip’s time, society cared for the first the most.
Music Suggestions: I would recommend listening to the soundtrack from the movie The Secret Garden of both 1993 and 2020 to create a whimsical and light atmosphere.