"I loved her simply because I found her irresistible" - Pip
Great Expectations was the first book I was assigned to read in my Honors English I course in high school. After having looked at the length and language of the book it seemed like quite a daunting task, but being the good little student I was I started digging into the book…..and only made it about half way through.
I picked up Great Expectations for the second time just a month ago. I had recently purchased Kate Spade’s Great Expectations Clutch (pictured on the left) and figured if I was going to carry around a purse that looked like a book then I should probably read the book.
My second attempt at reading Great Expectations went much more smoothly. I felt that as a 20-something I was able to better understand the book and relate to Pip’s quest to rise up the social ladder.
In Dickens’ novel Pip is born into a low-class, working family in England. It is assumed by everyone, including Pip, that he will follow in the footsteps of his adoptive father and become the town blacksmith. That is until he receives an invitation to “play” at Miss. Havisham’s house. Miss Havisham is a spinster who was jilted in her younger years and can’t seem to move on with her life – Miss. Havisham’s beautiful, adoptive daughter, Estella, makes Pip acutely aware of his lower class status, and is ultimately the reason Pip strives to move up in the world.
While apprenticing to become a blacksmith Pip receives news that he has been given a large amount of money from a benefactor and is to go to London to become a “gentleman”. Pip heads to London where he continues to pursue Estella, and becomes involved in some extremely weird situations and falls into serious debt. I won’t giveaway the ending, but it is definitely a complex and compelling novel with connections between characters that I found unpredictable.
At this time in my life when I’m graduating from college (exactly one month from today), interviewing for jobs and internships, and trying to find my place in the world I felt I could really relate to Pip’s plights. It is hard to find your place in the world, it is hard to deal with the large amounts of student debt that I’m sure many of us racked up throughout college, and it can be hard to always do the right thing. Not to mention how difficult it can be do deal with family, friends, and romantic relationships on top of it all.
However, I feel we can learn from Pip; we don't need to make the mistakes he made. I have big dreams for myself and I don’t plan to settle – I think that with a lot of planning, motivation, and thoughtfulness everyone can get where they need/want to go, because we all deserve to live up to the “great expectations” we have for ourselves.