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Week 23

Teen Reader

Great Expectations

Click here for the text version of Great Expectations

Click here for the audio version of Great Expectations

Charles Dickens

About the Author

Charles Dickens (1812-1870)

Charles Dickens was born in Portsmouth, England, the second of eight children.  His family remained poor, and his father lived beyond his means, ending up in debtor’s prison in 1824 when Charles was only twelve years old.  Charles was forced to leave school to work full time to support his family by working in a factory for six shillings a week.  Though he was able to return to school for a short time when his father received an inheritance, Dickens left school again to work full time as an office clerk when he was fifteen.  A year later he began to work as a freelance reporter covering the courts of London.  In 1833 he began submitting sketches and stories to newspapers.  He published fifteen novels during his life. The most popular are Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol, David Copperfield, Great Expectations, and A Tale of Two Cities.  His books were wildly popular in his time, and he became a celebrity in America, going on tour to read parts of his books to audiences.  His books remain popular in modern times and films based on his works continue to be popular.

Great Expectations

Originally published in weekly installments in a newspaper, Great Expectations held readers’ interest with many cliffhanger points in the story.  It is a tale of a poor orphan boy who unexpectedly finds himself in a new life when he receives a large fortune from a mysterious benefactor.

Questions for Great Expectations

How does Pip change in his attitude toward himself and others after he goes to Miss Havisham’s house for the first time?

Do you think Pip influences Herbert Pocket more or the other way around?

How would Pip’s life have been if he had never been the beneficiary of “great expectations”?  Do you think he would have been happier?

How does Pip respond when he finds out the truth about his benefactor?  How does this differ from his reaction to the truth about Estella’s birth parents?

Do you believe Estella has truly changed at the end of the novel?

Teacher’s Guide to Great Expectations

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In Spanish

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Tortuga in Trouble