October 14 2016

“I saw no shadow of another parting from her.”

Please finish reading Great Expectations and be sure to read both endings.

Dickens was persuaded by his friend and fellow novelist, Edward Bulwer-Lytton, to rewrite the ending to Great Expectations. Why do you suppose his friend objected to the original ending?  How do the endings differ?  Which ending do you prefer?  Why?

Make sure you include many specific details to support your opinions and to respond to at least one other comment in this thread.

GE blog #20
October 13 2016

“I will never stir from your side,” said I, “when I am suffered to be near you. Please God, I will be as true to you as you have been to me!”

Please read chapters 54-56 of Great Expectations, then write your response to these questions:

How has Pip’s attitude toward Magwitch changed?  Why has it changed?  What does this tell us about Pip’s development?  How does this contribute to our understanding of various themes woven into the text such as loyalty, parentage, justice, etc.

Remember to include specific details from the novel to support your opinions and to respond to at least one other comment in this thread.

GE blog #19
October 11 2016

It’s up to you!

Tonight, please respond to Chapters 51-53 in any way you choose.  These chapters seem fairly varied to me, full of interesting details that may lead you to new questions or understandings about the themes and motifs presented in Great Expectations.  You may choose a close reading of one small passage or scene, or you may choose to address the larger thematic questions touched upon in these chapters.  Also, I’m thinking that we can use your responses to focus our discussion in class.

As always, be sure to use specific details from the text in your response and be sure to comment on at least one other comment in this thread.

GE blog #18
October 7 2016

“Surely I had seen exactly such eyes and such hands on a memorable occasion very lately!”

Please read chapters 47-50.  After you finish the reading, please consider and discuss the revelations that Pip uncovers with regard to Estella’s parentage.   What, if any, difference does this make to our understanding of Estella’s character?   Why might Dickens have included these developments?  How does this connect to other motifs or themes in the novel?

Remember to include specific details from the novel to support your opinions and to respond to at least one other comment in this thread.

GE blog #17

 

October 6 2016

“Hold your noise!”

Tonight, you are asked to carry on our work with close reading and structure.  Take time to read the handout you were given in class today, front and back, which gives you the first few paragraphs of chapter 42 and chapter one.  Feel free to annotate and write all over the handout.  (I’ve included the same text below for your reference.)

Then, after consideration, write your response here.  What do you notice about these passages?   Why would Dickens structure them this way?  What themes or motifs arise and what might Dickens be teaching his readers?

As always, be sure to include many text-based details to support your opinions and follow all the rules of standard written English.   In addition, remember to respond to at least one other comment in this thread.

GE blog #16

Chapter XLII

“Dear boy and Pip’s comrade. I am not a going fur to tell you my life like a song, or a story-book. But to give it you short and handy, I’ll put it at once into a mouthful of English. In jail and out of jail, in jail and out of jail, in jail and out of jail. There, you’ve got it. That’s my life pretty much, down to such times as I got shipped off, arter Pip stood my friend.

“I’ve been done everything to, pretty well—except hanged. I’ve been locked up as much as a silver tea-kittle. I’ve been carted here and carted there, and put out of this town, and put out of that town, and stuck in the stocks, and whipped and worried and drove. I’ve no more notion where I was born than you have—if so much. I first become aware of myself down in Essex, a thieving turnips for my living. Summun had run away from me—a man—a tinker—and he’d took the fire with him, and left me wery cold.

“I know’d my name to be Magwitch, chrisen’d Abel. How did I know it? Much as I know’d the birds’ names in the hedges to be chaffinch, sparrer, thrush. I might have thought it was all lies together, only as the birds’ names come out true, I supposed mine did.

“So fur as I could find, there warn’t a soul that see young Abel Magwitch, with us little on him as in him, but wot caught fright at him, and either drove him off, or took him up. I was took up, took up, took up, to that extent that I reg’larly grow’d up took up.

“This is the way it was, that when I was a ragged little creetur as much to be pitied as ever I see (not that I looked in the glass, for there warn’t many insides of furnished houses known to me), I got the name of being hardened. ‘This is a terrible hardened one,’ they says to prison wisitors, picking out me. ‘May be said to live in jails, this boy.’ Then they looked at me, and I looked at them, and they measured my head, some on ‘em,—they had better a measured my stomach,—and others on ‘em giv me tracts what I couldn’t read, and made me speeches what I couldn’t understand. They always went on agen me about the Devil. But what the Devil was I to do? I must put something into my stomach, mustn’t I?—Howsomever, I’m a getting low, and I know what’s due. Dear boy and Pip’s comrade, don’t you be afeerd of me being low.

“Tramping, begging, thieving, working sometimes when I could,—though that warn’t as often as you may think, till you put the question whether you would ha’ been over-ready to give me work yourselves,—a bit of a poacher, a bit of a laborer, a bit of a wagoner, a bit of a haymaker, a bit of a hawker, a bit of most things that don’t pay and lead to trouble, I got to be a man. A deserting soldier in a Traveller’s Rest, what lay hid up to the chin under a lot of taturs, learnt me to read; and a travelling Giant what signed his name at a penny a time learnt me to write. I warn’t locked up as often now as formerly, but I wore out my good share of key-metal still.

 

Chapter I

My father’s family name being Pirrip, and my Christian name Philip, my infant tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit than Pip. So, I called myself Pip, and came to be called Pip.

I give Pirrip as my father’s family name, on the authority of his tombstone and my sister,—Mrs. Joe Gargery, who married the blacksmith. As I never saw my father or my mother, and never saw any likeness of either of them (for their days were long before the days of photographs), my first fancies regarding what they were like were unreasonably derived from their tombstones. The shape of the letters on my father’s, gave me an odd idea that he was a square, stout, dark man, with curly black hair. From the character and turn of the inscription, “Also Georgiana Wife of the Above,” I drew a childish conclusion that my mother was freckled and sickly. To five little stone lozenges, each about a foot and a half long, which were arranged in a neat row beside their grave, and were sacred to the memory of five little brothers of mine,—who gave up trying to get a living, exceedingly early in that universal struggle,—I am indebted for a belief I religiously entertained that they had all been born on their backs with their hands in their trousers-pockets, and had never taken them out in this state of existence.

Ours was the marsh country, down by the river, within, as the river wound, twenty miles of the sea. My first most vivid and broad impression of the identity of things seems to me to have been gained on a memorable raw afternoon towards evening. At such a time I found out for certain that this bleak place overgrown with nettles was the churchyard; and that Philip Pirrip, late of this parish, and also Georgiana wife of the above, were dead and buried; and that Alexander, Bartholomew, Abraham, Tobias, and Roger, infant children of the aforesaid, were also dead and buried; and that the dark flat wilderness beyond the churchyard, intersected with dikes and mounds and gates, with scattered cattle feeding on it, was the marshes; and that the low leaden line beyond was the river; and that the distant savage lair from which the wind was rushing was the sea; and that the small bundle of shivers growing afraid of it all and beginning to cry, was Pip.

“Hold your noise!” cried a terrible voice, as a man started up from among the graves at the side of the church porch. “Keep still, you little devil, or I’ll cut your throat!”

 

October 5 2016

Young Havisham’s name was Arthur. Compeyson is the man who professed to be Miss Havisham’s lover.

There have been many revelations in this evening’s reading, especially in chapter 42.  Discuss these new developments and how they might alter our understanding of some of the major themes of the novel, as we have discussed them so far.  Some themes to consider are:

  • money
  • appearance v. reality
  • guilt and shame
  • love
  • nature v. nurture

As always, be sure to include many text-based details to support your opinions and follow all the rules of standard written English.   In addition, remember to respond to at least one other comment in this thread.

GE blog #15
September 30 2016

“It’s me wot done it!”

Please respond to the great event of Chapter 39.  Some questions to consider:

  • How is this revelation the turning point of Pip’s life?
  • What is Pip’s reaction to this revelation in regard to himself? In regard to Estella?  In regard to Joe?
  • Predict what further changes may occur in Pip’s life and in his character as a result of this revelation.

As always, be sure to include many specific details in your response to support your opinions.  Also, be sure to respond to at least one other comment in this thread.

GE blog #14
September 29 2016

“As I had grown accustomed to my expectations, I had insensibly begun to notice their effect upon myself and those around me. Their influence on my own character I disguised from my recognition as much as possible, but I knew very well that it was not all good.”

Discuss the theme of guilt and shame in Chapters 34-37, and indeed throughout the novel so far.  As always be sure to use specific details from the text to support your opinions.  Also, don’t forget to respond to at least one other comment in this thread.

GE blog #13
September 28 2016

Miserably I went to bed after all, and miserably thought of Estella, and miserably dreamed that my expectations were all cancelled, and that I had to give my hand in marriage to Herbert’s Clara, or play Hamlet to Miss Havisham’s Ghost, before twenty thousand people, without knowing twenty words of it.

Tonight, I would like you to respond to Chapters 30-33 in any way you choose. These chapters seem fairly varied to me, full of interesting details that may lead you to new questions or understandings about the themes and motifs presented in Great Expectations. You may choose a close reading of one small passage or scene, or you may choose to address the larger thematic questions touched upon in these chapters.  Also, I’m thinking that we can use your responses to focus our discussion in class.

As always, be sure to use specific details from the text in your response and be sure to comment on at least one other comment in this thread.

GE blog #12
September 27 2016

It was but a day gone, and Joe had brought the tears into my eyes; they had soon dried, God forgive me! soon dried.

In chapters 27, 28, and 29 Pip comes into contact again with various people from home.  Discuss how his relationships with these characters have evolved since he came to London and how this evolution contributes to the reader’s understanding of Pip’s development.  Use many specific details from the text to support your opinions.  Be sure, also, that you comment on at least one other comment in this thread.

I missed you guys today, but I’m sure you were angels for Mr. Enright.  Also, I really look forward to seeing the conversation here develop over the course of the evening.  Ms.Q
GE blog #11