So! To start back up, here is a review of one of my all-time favorite works of literature: Great Expectations, by the prolific author Charles Dickens. When I saw the title of this book on my eighth-grade reading list, I was excited to read it, having heard much good about it, and thus opened the book with curiousity. I finished it quite quickly, and promptly decided that it was one of my all-time favorites!
Here is the basic storyline. Ever since her fiancée broke up with her on her wedding day, time has stopped for an old woman by the name of Miss Havisham-literally. That is, until she hires Pip, an orphan with a strong sense of curiosity, to come ‘play’ for her. Pip, living with his volatile sister and her husband, is shocked at the eccentric woman and is stunned by the beautiful yet proud Estella, Miss Havisham’s adopted daughter. Miss Havisham has decided that, to take revenge upon her flighty fiancee, she will teach Estella to hate all men, and to break their hearts. To Miss Havisham's delight, Pip falls in love with the gorgeous Estella, but must find a way to win her over, as he finds that Miss Havisham has succeded in replacing Estella's heart with a cold slab of stone. Spanning from Pip’s childhood to adult life, Dickens’ classic details the mysterious adventure of Pip, Estella, and Miss Havisham, who becomes Pip’s benefactor and confidante. All the while, Pip must learn to cope with his great expectations.
Growing in Virtue for Great Expectations...obviously, there are a few character traits in here that one would NOT want to copy. Things such as revenge, hatred, etc. are bad things and I certainly am not endorsing them by endorsing this book. However, the main character trait that comes out of this is forgiveness. This whole book is about forgiveness-Pip must forgive Miss Havisham for estranging him from Estella. Estella must forgive Miss Havisham for teaching her wrong behaviors, and Miss Havisham must forgive her fiancee who killed all the love in her heart. Dickens succeeds in creating this tableau of forgiveness in a strikingly real way, and it gives the book an aura of reality. Other than an aura of reality, however, it also displays Christian virtues. Christ tells us, "And forgive us our sins, just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us...If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins." (Matthew 6:12,14-15) The Scriptures clearly tell us that forgiveness is an important virtue. Since we are on earth to be more like God, and since God displays His mercy to us unconditionally, we should imitate him by forgiving others. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, "There is no one, however wicked and guilty, who may not confidently hope for forgiveness provided his repentance his honest." Obviously, there is no sin too great for God to forgive! We also should forgive our fellow human beings.
I have already recommended this book to multiple individuals, and have recently purchased my own copy. I also gave this book to a friend of mine for her birthday, and hope she will enjoy it as much as I have. :D I certainly encourage everyone to read this wonderful piece of literature, and I hope you enjoy it!