Great Expectations - Why Is It so Enjoyable?

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Why do readers find Great Expectations so enjoyable?

Michael Johnson

Dickens uses pathetic fallacy to illustrate the predicament that faces the characters in the novel. It also depicts the emotions the characters feel and indicates how the scene is going to change. For example, the dramatic weather change, conveyed in the line, “The evening mist was rising now,” during the second ending when Estella and Pip meet, mirrors the realisation of Pip and Estella’s true feelings for each other.

The novel was presented in a serialised format in which two chapters would be published regularly in ‘All the year round’, a magazine of the time. Because of this feature Dickens was able to listen to the criticisms and comments of his readers and adjust his next instalment to meet their tastes. This flexible and revolutionary attribute that Dickens had for his penultimate novel turned it into the perfect novel for his avid readers.

One of the many contributing factors, to readers finding this novel enjoyable is that, like a TV series, Great Expectations was presented in a serialised format in which Dickens had to introduce cliff-hangers to keep his readers gripped and keen to read his next part. An example of this comes at the end of chapter two, when Dickens leaves Pip running home to complete the feat Magwitch or ‘the Convict’ set him. “But, now I was frightened again, and ran home without stopping.” This is a perfect example of one of the numerous cliff-hangers, that hooks the reader. Constant moments of suspense and exiting plot turns, makes readers find Great Expectations gripping and thrilling.

Dickens original ending had Pip and Estella going their separate ways and Pip finally being freed of his obsession with Estella. However, this ending was not satisfactory to his readers for they had recognised many fairytale elements throughout his novel and naturally expected the ending to fit this style. Dickens was then persuaded by his friend to alter the ending to...
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