Great Expectations Book Summary, Plot, Characters, Charles Dickens


Great Expectations by Charles Dickens book summary, review and plot. Character analysis and book summary of A Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.

Great Expectations

Great Expectations

“Great Expectations” is a novel written by Charles Dickens and was first published in 1861. The story follows the life of Pip, a young orphan who dreams of becoming a gentleman and escaping his humble beginnings. The novel is set in 19th-century England and explores themes of social class, ambition, and the corrupting influence of money and power.

The central theme of the book is the idea of expectations and how they shape our lives. Pip’s desire to become a gentleman and live a life of luxury leads him down a path of greed and selfishness. He becomes so consumed by his desire to be accepted by high society that he forgets the people who were there for him when he had nothing.

Another key theme of the novel is the concept of guilt and redemption. Pip’s guilt over his treatment of Joe and Biddy, his childhood friends, is a constant source of inner turmoil for him. He spends much of the novel trying to make amends for his past mistakes and seeking redemption for his actions.


The novel also explores the impact of social class on people’s lives. Pip’s humble upbringing and subsequent exposure to high society highlights the stark differences between the upper and lower classes in Victorian England. The novel also touches on the idea of self-improvement and the importance of education and hard work in achieving one’s goals.

Overall, “Great Expectations” is a powerful and thought-provoking novel that explores complex themes of social class, ambition, guilt, and redemption. It has been widely acclaimed for its vivid characters, intricate plot, and social commentary, making it a classic of English literature.

Book Summary

“Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens tells the story of Pip, a young orphan who lives with his sister and her husband, a blacksmith. One day, while visiting his parents’ graves, Pip encounters an escaped convict who threatens him into stealing food and a file for him. Despite his fear, Pip complies with the convict’s demands, but is later caught by the police and returns home, haunted by guilt.

Soon after, Pip is invited to the mansion of Miss Havisham, an eccentric and wealthy spinster who lives in seclusion with her adopted daughter, Estella. Miss Havisham asks Pip to play with Estella, and he falls in love with her, despite her cold and cruel demeanor. Miss Havisham also arranges for Pip to receive an education and be trained as a gentleman, raising his hopes of marrying Estella and joining the upper class.

Pip’s dreams seem to come true when a mysterious benefactor offers to fund his education and provide him with an allowance. Believing Miss Havisham to be his benefactor, Pip goes to London, where he begins to live the life of a gentleman. However, as he becomes more immersed in high society, Pip becomes increasingly unhappy and alienated from his old life.

As the novel progresses, Pip discovers the identity of his true benefactor and learns that the wealth and status he has coveted come at a great cost. He also realizes the true nature of Estella’s upbringing and the pain and suffering inflicted upon her by Miss Havisham.

Throughout the novel, Pip struggles with his own character flaws, including his pride, vanity, and lack of gratitude towards those who have helped him. He also faces external challenges, such as the criminal activities of his associate, Magwitch, and the manipulations of his rival, Bentley Drummle.


In the end, Pip learns important lessons about love, loyalty, and the importance of staying true to oneself. He is reunited with those he loves, and despite his losses and mistakes, finds a sense of peace and acceptance in his life.

“Great Expectations” is widely considered to be one of Dickens’ greatest works, known for its complex characters, vivid descriptions, and powerful themes of social class, ambition, guilt, and redemption.


“Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens features a range of colorful and memorable characters, including:

  1. Pip: The protagonist of the story, Pip is a young orphan who dreams of becoming a gentleman and escaping his humble upbringing. He is ambitious and has a strong desire to improve his social standing, but is also plagued by guilt and struggles with his own flaws.
  2. Estella: The adopted daughter of Miss Havisham, Estella is beautiful and alluring, but also cold and cruel. She is raised to break men’s hearts and has a profound impact on Pip’s life.
  3. Miss Havisham: A wealthy and eccentric spinster, Miss Havisham is jilted on her wedding day and lives in seclusion, wearing her wedding dress and keeping all the clocks in her mansion stopped at the same time. She manipulates Pip and Estella for her own amusement and revenge.
  4. Abel Magwitch: A convict who escaped from prison and encounters Pip in the first chapter of the novel, Magwitch becomes Pip’s secret benefactor and plays a major role in the story’s plot.
  5. Joe Gargery: Pip’s kind-hearted and loyal brother-in-law, Joe is a blacksmith who represents the honest and hard-working working class. He remains a steadfast source of support for Pip throughout the novel.
  6. Jaggers: A powerful lawyer and the executor of Miss Havisham’s estate, Jaggers is a formidable figure who represents the corrupting influence of money and power.
  7. Herbert Pocket: A friend of Pip’s, Herbert is a young man of modest means who provides a contrast to the wealthy and corrupt characters that populate the novel.

These are just a few of the many memorable characters in “Great Expectations.” Each one plays an important role in the story’s plot and themes, and together they form a rich and complex portrait of Victorian England.

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