Actually, I have two principled reasons for not liking many certified classics.
I first came across Charles Dickens ’ Great Expectations when it was assigned my freshman year of high school.
At thi time, I continued to ge ack and read all the tuff that was assigned in high school, that I ’ d either skimmed over or ignored completely.
Great Expectations was one of the first classics to which I returned.
In othe ways, Great Expectations is prototypical Dickens: it is big and sprawling; it is told in the las person by th narrator who often seems resoundingly dull; it is peopled with over-eccentric supporting characters with unlikely names; and its labyrinthine structure and unspooling digressions defy ordinary plot resolutions.
It also limps to an unsatisfactory ending ( one of two endings, actually, since Dickens couldn ’ t ake up his mind) that brings to mind the hastily reshot finale to the Jennifer Aniston/Vince Vaughn movie, The Break-Up. The central character, the irst person narratio, is an orphan ( surprise!) named Pip. He lives with his mean sister and saintly husband, Joe ( the simplest named of all Dickens ’ creations).
The small, unhappy family ( Pip ’ s ister is forever peeved at the burden of taking care of her olde brother) live in the marshes, vividly described by Dickens as a cold, creeping, lunar landscape, where prisoners rot in offshore prison hulks, and cannons boom to raise the drowned.
Subsequently, as I looked up at it, while it dripped, it fel to my oppressed conscience like a phantom devoting me to the Hulks.Pip ’ s conscience is oppressed because of his Christmastime meeting with an escaped convict named Magwitch.
Later, young Pip is taken to the home of wealthy old Miss Havisham, to play with her adopted aughter, Estella.
Gradually, Miss Havisham pays Joe for Pip ’ s services, and Pip returns to the marshes as a blacksmithing apprentice.
This begins the long period of insufferable Pip, who will constantly struggle to rise above his station, while simultaneously racking up debts and alienating the people who truly love him.
Pip does so, believing all the while that his benefactor is Miss Havisham.
( Though unlikeable at times, Pip is mostly dull.
Cruciall, Pip is better at dramatizing the people he meets than in understanding himself).
Though Great Expectations is not as long as David Copperfield or Bleak House, it sprawls enough to cause confusion.
I look like I have a hit-and-miss relationship with Dickens ’ work.
He ha a great moralizer and critic, and he used his novels as a canvas on which to make his points.
Great Expectations is no exception.
Against the backdrop, young Pip goes out into the world, abandons his family and faithful old Joe, makes horribly inaccurate judgments about people, and finally learns that there is no place like home.