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Title: Great Expectations
Author: Charles Dickens
Language: English

Reading Reference: Gutenberg eBook
Audio file: Chapter 1
Audio editor: alisan publishing

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★★★Internet search Report
From the orphan Pip, Miss Havisham, and Estella to Magwitch's aptly, Dickens' cast of characters takes the reader through a Victorian society riven with social ills and misplaced ambition. Pip, a blacksmith's apprentice, encounters and helps the escaped convict Magwitch, subsequently repaying the boy with a secret fortune. Pip misunderstands the source of elevation, thinking it comes from the society of Miss Havisham and her cold-hearted daughter, whom he adores. His willful naivety is exposed throughout as Estella's disdain for Pip makes him try even harder, to the detriment of Joe Gargery and Mrs. Joe, the great people that raised him in poverty at the forge. Ultimately Miss Havisham burns to death during a fire, and Magwitch dies in prison, leaving a chastened Pip without his fortune. At the top, all is resolved when finally he wins Estella's heart.

Philip Gooden may be a graduate of Magdalen College, Oxford, taught English for several years, and maybe a member of the Medieval Murderers group who has written ten books together. He's the author of the Nick Revill series, The Durham Deception, and, therefore, the Ely Testament. He has also written an excessive number of non-fiction books, including literature guides for college kids and popular reference titles about language.

★★★ Internet search Report
The name "Great Expectations" is easily misunderstood as an inspirational novel in terms of the title. Before I started reading the novel, I also thought it was about a protagonist from a poor background who worked hard to achieve a great future and eventually a successful career. After reading the novel, I realized that my assumptions were very different from the actual novel. "A Long Way Gone" is actually about Pip, a protagonist from a low-income family who accidentally receives a mysterious fortune when he is young and leaves home to start his "long journey," which is later wholly ruined. Pip's "big future" means nothing more than that initially; he could only grow up to be a blacksmith, he can have the opportunity to go to London to be a "gentleman" or "high class." But such an ambitious "future" is shattered by the cold reality in the latter part of the novel. Therefore, the author named this work "Great Expectations," which is, in fact, a kind of satire on society at that time.

With fluent and straightforward language, "Great Expectations" leads readers into the dramatic life of Pip. The naive, kind-hearted, loving, and hateful Pip grew up with two dead parents and lives with his irascible sister. His brother-in-law, Joe, is a kind blacksmith who cares for Pip in every way. As a child, Pip is hired by a wealthy old lady in town, Havisham, as a playmate for her adopted daughter, Estella. Pip falls hopelessly in love with the beautiful and aloof Estella and henceforth aspires to improve his education and be a "superior" person worthy of Estella. At this time, Miss Hovisin's lawyer finds Pip and says that a mysterious person has given Pip a large fortune to become a gentleman. Still, as a condition, Pip cannot inquire about any information about the mysterious person. Pip gladly accepts this fortune and comes to London to start a life in high society. However, Estella's unpredictability and her eventual abandonment of Pip, as well as the appearance of the mystery man, change all this. The mystery man is a fugitive that Pip rescued when he was a child, not the Miss Havisham that Pip always imagined. Because of the considerable gap between the ideal and reality, Pip is initially disgusted with the fugitive. But Pip is gradually impressed by the fugitive's innocence and kindness and decides to help the wanted man escape from the country. However, the escape plan is caught by the fugitive's old enemy, and the police capture the offender, and Pip's property is confiscated. After more than ten years, he returns to Joe's side and meets Estella, who has also been through a lot. Although the outcome of their relationship is not explained in the text, it is assumed that the two are married and live happily with Joe in Pip's childhood village.

The novel's specialty and excitement lie not in its flamboyant rhetoric or profound reasoning but its detailed description of the character changes of its protagonists. In the text, the influence of the surrounding environment on Pip's psychology is everywhere. Pipp did not think about our body flow but only wanted to be a good blacksmith. But from the first time he met Estella, his heart had a subtle change. For the first time, he thinks his shoes are too worn, and his way of speaking is not "proper" because of the massive gap in his social status, and for the first time, he asks Joe why he has not taught him the "proper" way of speaking. After arriving in London, Pip makes a 180° turn. He starts dressing flamboyantly and squandering the money he gets from his lawyer, eventually running up a huge debt. He even visits Miss Hovisin many times but never goes to the neighboring Joe's house. When Pip's benefactor appears, Pip's first reaction is not to be grateful to his benefactor but to dislike him for being so dirty and interrupting his "happy" life. At this point, Pip is already vain and selfish to the extreme, and the previous Pip is a different person. But Pip's heart is still good deep down. He is moved by the fugitive's complicated life and his selflessness and helps him to escape. After his property is confiscated, the penniless Pip is filled with guilt and gratitude when he faces Joe, who takes care of him and returns to the beauty of humanity.

One philosophical idea that permeates "A Long Way Gone" is that different circumstances create different personalities in people. Pip's desire to be a "superior man" is due to the changes in his surroundings, and the surrounding environment also causes his indifference and even disgust for Joe. The novel tells us that people's hearts are easily affected by the world and corrupted, so having a noble and pure heart is more valuable than having wealth and status. The English society in the novel is in the 19th century, and the wealth of the culture is rapidly expanding due to the influence of the industrial revolution. The emergence of industrial capital increased the temptation of wealth to people. It widened the gap between the rich and the poor in society, especially between the cities and the countryside. There is no doubt that Dickens' association is full of pessimism: the vulgar, cruel, and uneducated scoundrels can become "superior" by inheriting and exploiting the wealth, while the kind and simple Joe can only work as a blacksmith in the humble countryside all his life; Miss Hovisin, who believes in innocent love, falls into the marriage trap and her money is swept away. However, the good-hearted fugitive was repeatedly forced by the uneducated and framed and finally died in prison. The author uses such examples to criticize the injustice and darkness of society. London, the symbol of wealth and capital in the industrial community, was, even more, gray, crowded, and dirty in Dickens' writing. The narrow streets, the cinder-strewn hotels, the gray skies, and the filthy prisons all represent the darkness and guilt of industrial society. On the contrary, the countryside where Joe and Pip lived as children is always sunny and full of birds and flowers, despite the author's humble writing. The country and the simple Joe in the novel represent the innocence and goodness of the human heart, and then return at the end of the book is also the author's wish for the honor of the human spirit.

A Long Way Gone" is not a very educational novel, and the author does not try to present the reader with any grand theories through this novel. However, it is still worthy of our serious consideration. Although the society of China during rapid economic development is different from the British society in the author's novel, there are many similarities, such as the considerable income gap and the gap between urban and rural areas; the rapid accumulation of social wealth, which leads to a wave of money worship, etc. In real life, the fantasy of "the world" is not a good one. In reality, the "Pip" who fantasizes about "great prospects" are everywhere, and sometimes even ourselves. In the temptation of money, many people dream of becoming rich or famous overnight to include the "upper echelon" of society. However, in the fight for the seemingly beautiful "future," how many people have lost the original innocence and goodness of the heart? And how many people will be for their own "future" and go with the stream of dirt, say things against the seat, and do something against the heart? When we have seen the world, achieved success, and become a "superior person," will we dislike the "rustic" "country bumpkin"? "Even if the other person has been kind to us? Will we be afraid to return to our own shabby and humble hometown for fear of losing face? In current China, some people may think that they will naturally have everything with wealth because money is everything. But after reading "A Long Way to Go," we can see that Pip is not happy when he is rich: he cannot get Estella's true love for him; he spends his days participating in all kinds of frivolous activities to become a real "gentleman" as soon as possible, but his heart is gradually empty because of the lack of Joe's love for him. A Long Way Gone" tells us that money cannot buy love, nor can it buy happiness. After losing his fortune and having nothing to lose, Pip understands this truth and regains his pure and kind heart, returning to the humble countryside to live a simple and happy life.

What is more valuable than money and a "big future" is a simple and kind heart, and the more fierce the tide of money worship, the more this heart can reflect the beauty of humanity. It may not be able to bring people a bright and green life or a high social status, but it can make life full of the glory of humanity. And the recognition of society is precisely the most precious wealth in life.

★★★Internet search Report
When I finally finished reading the book, I couldn't resist the sadness of the last few chapters that express the goodness of human nature and the changes in the world, so I cried my eyes out and piled up a tall pile of toilet paper next to the book to wipe my tears and blow my nose.

Pipp is an orphan raised by his sister and brother-in-law. His brother-in-law, Joe, is a blacksmith with a perfect heart, greatly influencing Pipp's kind-heartedness. But by chance, he went to the home of an eccentric wealthy lady, Miss Hovisian, as a chaperone and met Istina, a girl who had been his lifelong desire but was in pain, opening up another world to him. At this point, he receives a significant financial grant from an anonymous sponsor, which means he will have a great future. Pip leaves his hometown for London to receive the gentlemanly training expected of a man who will inherit a large estate. Life in London brings Pip into contact with high society and the habits of luxury. It makes him see his hometown and ancestors as an embarrassing and unattractive burden, but his excellent heart remains. Finally, when he discovers that his patron is Marco Vecchi, a fugitive he helped as a child, his ambitious future finally comes to naught, and Joe lends him a helping hand at his most challenging time. Because of the change of circumstances, Pip's life has gone against his initial expectations, so that for a long time, he has been unable to achieve true peace of mind.

The plot of this book is considered to be a twist and turn, and the characters are intertwined.

The characterization of this book is very successful, and each character is almost lifelike in front of the reader.

The most successful of them all is the character of Joe, through which Dickens perfectly establishes the image of a good man who is kind, simple, sincere, considerate, free of desire, and upright, and also conveys a vision of the goodness of human nature in the author's heart. Whenever the dialogue between him and Pip appears in the book, it always brings tears to my eyes.

Although the theme of Dickens' writings is often the influence of the environment on people, this book is no exception. Still, I am glad that he has preserved Pip's kind-heartedness, the reader will understand Pip's guilt to Joe, sorry to Beatty, sympathy to Miss Hovisian, help to Herbert, to Istina's infatuation, to Wemmick's honesty, to Marco Vecchi's compassion, strung together into a regrettable but gratifying growth process.

After reading this book, and then read through "Meeting Dickens on a deserted island," I admire the author's writing skills; it turns out that in addition to the similarity of the theme of identity migration, the layout of the story also has a clever connection, the narrative tone is also from the initial humor to the final melancholy. The book does present a new direction of writing, and the feeling of a masterpiece is developed into a brand new reader.

In this day and age, when the environment is full of malice, it is profoundly moving to read a classical masterpiece that shows the goodness of humanity. Throughout the night, I flipped through these two books over and over again, and the satisfaction and joy I felt in my heart were indescribable. This is also why I am not fluent in writing this book; I want to say too much, but the feeling is too strong, and I can not say it clearly, so I can only do so.