Spoil the novel Great Expectations for me

I’ve picked this book up three times and attempted to read it but each time got so bored I tossed it away. I can’t finish it; it’s one of the few classics ever I’ve not been able to finish. Can someone break it down for me?

Really briefly? It’s about a boy named Pip who gets really lucky, but turns out to be an ungrateful snob.

Miss Havisham, it turns out, wasn’t Pip’s benefactor. And Estella turns out to be a real bitch.

Also, there are some robots.

It’s a book that’s better the older you are. There are some great characters and scenes in it, but you need to persevere.

In New South Wales. {meaningful glance}

Don’t eat the birthday cake.

Oops, it wasn’t a birthday cake, it was a wedding cake.

Well, anyway, don’t eat it. :stuck_out_tongue:

:smack: I just know there’s got to be some kind of joke to answer the set-up “Spoil Great Expectations for me”, Aaaargh! I got nothing.

“Great expectations are always spoiled, it’s never quite what you expected.”
How’s that? Not very good.

Damn! I just know that there’s a joke to be made.


“Great Expectations. It’s not what I’d expected.”

Thanks for the silliness, guys. I know I can always count on Dopers for silliness. Anybody with a more thorough breakdown??

It’s thick…very thick…that’s why it’s a great expectoration.


Key points to be spoiled on:

Pip believes his money has been provided by Miss Havisham and that the nutty old lady also intends him to marry Estella (even though Estella is obviously not keen on this idea; from childhood on up, she frequently tells him quite honestly that she’s a cold-hearted girl who will never love him or anyone else, and he keeps ignoring her).

He’s wrong on both points.

His benefactor turns out to be the escaped criminal he helped when he was a boy at the very beginning of the novel, who has made a bit of money in Australia and wants to see Pip put up as a gentleman. Pip, as a gentleman, is horrified that his money has come from such a low and vile person and wants nothing more to do with either the man or his money. But, since the convict has come all the way back from Australia to see Pip, even though it’s illegal for him to do so, Pip tries to smuggle him back out on a ship before he’s caught and arrested. This fails, and the convict dies.

Oh, and in one of those Dickensian coincidences, the convict is Estella’s father.

Miss Havisham catches on fire and dies.

Estella marries someone else for money, but is badly treated by her husband. At the very end of the novel, years later, Pip comes back to the old village and finds that Estella has left her husband and is living at Miss Havisham’s house. There is some abiguity in the ending. Dickens originally wanted Estella to end up like Miss Havisham, but his editors wanted a happy ending with Pip and Estella together. Dickens leaves it kind of open for the two.

There are some decent film and TV versions of the story if you’d rather watch than read this: I always liked the one from the 1970s with Michael York as Pip, and there is a fairly recent PBS version with Ioan Gryffudd.

Pip has a much older horrible cruel sister who raises him. Her husband (name escapes me) is a gentle giant blacksmith who loves Pip and wants him to join the family business (Oh the times we’ll have, Pip) but makes great personal sacrifice to advance Pip’s life.

Pip is generally embarrassed by him and shits all over him, and for some inexplicable reason, when Pip realizes he’s been a dick, he doesn’t go back home to see the widowed blacksmith, when that’s clearly all the blacksmith ever wanted, to spend time with his (ungrateful dickhead) buddy Pip.

BTW- Books on tape are a great way to get through some of the duller classics. You gotta sit in traffic anyway, why not listen to Moby Dick?

Thank you, Hotshots! Part Deux.

Have you ever read any other books by Dickens? Compared to most of the other Dickens parental figures, Pip’s sister would win mother of the year. (Ok, she’d lose it to Peggoty. Good woman, Peggoty)

Thank you for this thread.

I have tried to read this book twice to no avail.
Jeebus but Dickens was wordy, no? Hell, I love British literature, but…jeesh.

So Pip’s a bit of sh*t and that’s it.
OK. Crossed off list. Next up is: Nicholas Nickleby…maybe.

“I can’t, Charles Dickens already spoiled it.”

or how about “Don’t get your hopes up.”

Joe Gargery, I believe, is his name. (Haven’t read the book in forty years.)

He wrote the books for magazines. They paid by the word.

Hell with crib notes, see the movie. The version with Gwenylth Paltrow wasn’t too awful. Anne Bankroft was fantastic to watch.

Halfway into the movie I realized it’s that Great Expectations. I was forced to read it in 7th or 8th grade, as soon as I saw the dilapated wedding remnants the lightbulb went off.

As far as being wordy, remember he was writing it serialized so it went on and on and on.

and on

and on


or so it seemed reading it in school.