Great Expectations

Discuss the title of novel great expectations

In about 300 words

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The tension throughout the novel is one that is common to all of our lives; it is the inner struggle of believing that what we have been given in life is not enough, that we should always strive for something better and have great expectations of a more fulfilling future. What Pip eventually learns, after all he had hoped to gain and after all his endeavors for another, more rewarding existence, what he learns is the same lesson Dorothy learns in the Wizard of Oz: after all is said and done and hoped for and wished for, there is no place like home. And home is not so much a place as it is a state of mind, a way of being satisfied (ah, Satis House) with what one has.

In many ways, in the end Pip is back where he started in a simpler and less frought existence. It is certainly not by chance that his name is Pip: small and simple and the same in the end as it is in the beginning, the same read forwards as it is backwards: PiP.


I believe that Dickens chose this title in order to convey the true meaning of the novel's complex themes. Themes such as class consciousness and transformation are directly related to what we see as "great expectaitons." Pip's initial visit to the Satis House leaves him uncomfortable; it's the first time he actually understands that he's nothing more that a common laborer. It's this visit that leaves him determined to become a gentleman amd marry Estella....... to win her is his great expectation.

Pip's transformation also comes under the theme of "great expectation. The clothes, the manners, the gentlemanly conduct.... all of these come from the desire to have his great expectations or dreams come true. His friends aren't impressed because they love him no matter what, but the transformation gains him entrance into another class. Unfortunately, this class also embraces idleness, corruption, and immorality........ and ironically, all of these expectations are made possible by an allowance given to by a convict.

In reality, Pip would have been happier on the marshes. Money hasn't made him happy, position and wealth haven't changed his life for the better, and as a person he acted far less common when he was common. Dicken's title, is in fact a testament that our great expectations can only be realized through moral character and common sense.