Monday, 9 April 2012

Charles DICKENS (2008), Great expectations, Penguin Longman Reader, C1, 3000 Headwords.
By José A. Rivero, 2º Bachillerato EFL
Pip, an orphan boy, is scared by an escaped convict into stealing food for him. Then the convict is found by some soldiers. Two years later, Pip goes to live to MIss Havisham’s  house, where he meets Estella and falls in love with her. But she is really cruel with men, because Miss Havisham has taught her to be so. Afterwards, Pip has an anonymous benefactor who gives him the opportunity to study to be a gentleman. One night, he is introduced to Abel Marwitch, who turns out to be the old convict, who has to leave Pip because his life is endangered. At the end, Marwitch dies and Pip ends up going back to Miss Havisham’s house to see Estella.
The main themes are social class differences, unrequited love, crime and the desire to improve, to become a better person. We see crime when, at the beginning of the book, Pip meets with the convict, who threatens him and makes him bring him some food and a tool to break his handcuffs. As for social class, Pip explores all the different classes of the time, represented by Miss Havisham, who is an extremely wealthy woman, down to Magwitch, who is the convict at the beginning of the book and belongs to the lowest class. However, the most important theme, in my opinión, is the wish to improve: Pip is always trying to become better in all aspects,  moral, social and educational, until he finally becomes a gentleman.
 One of the parts I have found particularly interesting is when Pip realizes that his real benefactor is Magwitch, who is the convict he helped at the beginning of the book. In my opinion, Great Expectations has a really interesting message, which  is that If you are good with someone who needs it, without expecting to have something back, you are acting well and you may be given something, which in this case is the possibility of becoming a gentleman.
The vocabulary is not difficult and the themes are really interesting for teenagers especially because of some values, such as the desire to improve and to become a better person, which may be good for young people in the future. 
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