Monday, January 7, 2013

Great Expectations

by Charles Dickens

You may remember about 6 months ago I mentioned some friends' debate over Dickens' literary genius.  One said A Tale of Two Cities was his greatest work while the other lobbied for Great Expectations. I was so intrigued over this controversy that I determined to read each novel and decide for myself which I would endorse if asked. Unfortunately, I'm not sure I could choose. I liked both books and they are so different it may depend on your genre preference.

Great Expectations is a coming of age story as recalled by the main character, Pip. It begins with his encounter as a youth with a convict who coerces Pip's assistance. As he grows up he is taken under the wing of a reclusive old lady whose relationship creates in him a desire for advancement. His dream of improvement is realized when he is bequeathed a great expectation, which eventually turns sour. It is a rags to riches to rags story.

Here is what I found in favor of Great Expectations: the story is engaging from the start, the themes are obvious and the language is generally easier to understand.

Here is what I favored in A Tale of Two Cities: the history, the relationships and the sacrifices.

Both books have great characters, strong writing and some unexpected plot twists.

So cast your vote, if you can. Which would you pick?

No comments:

Post a Comment