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Key Facts

full title Great Expectations

author Charles Dickens
type of work Novel
genres Bildungsroman, social criticism, autobiographical fiction
language English
time and place written London, 18!"181
date of first publication #ublished seriall$ in England from December 18! to
%ugust 181& published in book form in England and %merica in 181
publisher 'eriali(ed in All the Year Round& published in England b$ Chapman )
*all& published in %merica b$ *arper ) Brothers
narrator #ip
climax % se+uence of climactic events occurs from Chapter ,1 to Chapter ,- .iss
*avisham/s burning in the fire, 0rlick/s attempt to murder #ip, and #ip/s attempt to
help .ag1itch escape London2
protagonist #ip
antagonist Great Expectations does not contain a traditional single antagonist2
3arious characters serve as figures against 1hom #ip must struggle at various times-
.ag1itch, .rs2 4oe, .iss *avisham, Estella, 0rlick, Bentle$ Drummle, and
Compe$son2 5ith the e6ception of the last three, each of the novel/s antagonists is
redeemed before the end of the book2
setting (time) .id"nineteenth centur$
settings (place) 7ent and London, England
point of view 8irst person
falling action 9he period follo1ing .ag1itch/s capture in Chapter ,:, including
.ag1itch/s death, #ip/s reconciliation 1ith 4oe, and #ip/s reunion 1ith Estella eleven
$ears later
tense #ast
foreshadowing Great Expectations contains a great deal of foreshado1ing2 9he
repeated references to the convict ;the man 1ith the file in the pub, the attack on .rs2
4oe< foreshado1 his return& the second convict on the marsh foreshado1s the
revelation of .ag1itch/s conflict 1ith Compe$son& the man in the pub 1ho gives #ip
mone$ foreshado1s the revelation that #ip/s fortune comes from .ag1itch& .iss
*avisham/s 1edding dress and her bi(arre surroundings foreshado1 the revelation of
her past and her relationship 1ith Estella& #ip/s feeling that Estella reminds him of
someone he kno1s foreshado1s his discover$ of the truth of her parentage& the fact
that 4aggers is a criminal la1$er foreshado1s his involvement in .ag1itch/s life& and
so on2 .oreover, the 1eather often foreshado1s dramatic events- a storm bre1ing
generall$ means there 1ill be trouble ahead, as on the night of .ag1itch/s return2
tone Comic, cheerful, satirical, 1r$, critical, sentimental, dark, dramatic,
foreboding, =othic, s$mpathetic
themes %mbition and the desire for self"improvement ;social, economic,
educational, and moral<& guilt, criminalit$, and innocence& maturation and the gro1th
from childhood to adulthood& the importance of affection, lo$alt$, and s$mpath$ over
social advancement and class superiorit$& social class& the difficult$ of maintaining
superficial moral and social categories in a constantl$ changing 1orld
motifs Crime and criminalit$& disappointed e6pectations& the connection bet1een
1eather or atmosphere and dramatic events& doubles ;t1o convicts, t1o secret
benefactors, t1o invalids, etc2<
symbols 9he stopped clocks at 'atis *ouse s$mboli(e .iss *avisham/s attempt to
stop time& the man$ ob>ects relating to crime and guilt ;gallo1s, prisons, handcuffs,
policemen, la1$ers, courts, convicts, chains, files< s$mboli(e the theme of guilt and
innocence& 'atis *ouse represents the upper"class 1orld to 1hich #ip longs to belong&
Bentle$ Drummle represents the grotes+ue caprice of the upper class& 4oe represents
conscience, affection, lo$alt$, and simple good nature& the marsh mists represent
danger and ambiguit$2