Great Expectations

Charles Dicken's Great Expectations text guide

Among Dicken's novels, Great Expectations has always been a particular favourite, among both children and adult readers. Its story, with its hero growing from childhood to manhood, has a very fundamental storytelling appeal, while its range of characters and settings, its element of mystery and even adventure towards the end, make it compelling reading.

This text guide will help you explore the Victorian context that Great Expectations was written in, as well as leading you through the themes and plot of the novel.

Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens (1812-70) is probably the most popular and best-known of English novelists. He was enormously successful in his own time, and his novels, first issued as serials and then in volume form, were read by millions of people all over the world. Read more . . .

Context of Great Expectations

Child workingWriting during the Victorian era, Dickens lived in a period of industrialisation, with much of the country advancing technologically and economically. However, issues such as poverty, inequality and the lack of rights for children were prevelant and provide inspiration for much of Dicken's writings.  Read more . . .

Dive in to the Great Expectations text guide

Synopses and commentary - Scene by scene synopsis, commentary and analysis of the entire novel.

Structure - Detailed analysis of the structure of novel, investigate the idea of pilgrimage through Pip's journey.

Great Expectations Timeline - Helpfully puts history, literary events and Dicken's life side by side so you can make sense of events.

Themes and significant ideas - Research themes and significant ideas that feature in Great Expectations.

Great Expectations e-book - Read the book and research the text, all for free and online.

How to do well in your essays

Decide what the key words of the question are, and underline them.

If you are asked to analyse an extract, read it through two or three times.

Do not adopt the first possible approach - be willing to dispute the terms of the question if you are given the opportunity.

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