03 March, 2010

Great Expectations

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Well to tell you the truth, I forced myself to read this, especially towards the end. As I mentioned in this post, I'm not terribly good at the classics. I find I get bogged down in the language and am sure I miss much of the finer details because I'm wading through a sentence that is half a page long. At the same time, I can understand the horror people would feel at the "modernising" of those books we consider classics. However, as our everyday language moves further and further away from the language of the 1800's, I fear we will lose more and more of these books.

Having said that, I did find reading the book added to my understanding of Mr Pip. Several comments made by characters in that book now make more sense. I felt for so many characters in the book - Pip himself who wanted so much to fit into one world, but being painfully aware of the world he had come from, Joe who loved Pip no matter what, Wemmick with his two lives that shall never meet. Others just annoyed me. I felt like shaking Miss Havisham and telling her to just build a bridge (and get over it!). Estella was not much better given she knew what Miss Havisham was doing to her and doing nothing to take control of her own destiny. But even that I suppose is me putting a modern day perspective on an older and very different time.

Did I enjoy it? Not really. Would I read it again? Highly unlikely. Am I glad I can say I have read it? Yes. And for that reason I feel it was worthwhile.

2 comments:

  1. Well done! I don't want to read it either, but I think you did a good thing, too. Dickens is so dense and turgid.

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  2. I watched the Gwenyth Paltrow/Ethan Hawke movie of this and I didn't care for that much. I was wondering if the book would be any better-looks like it wouldn't :)

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