Friday, July 23, 2010

Pip, The Pockets & Miss Havisham On Fire

Yesterday, I turned the last page of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations. Before I replace my volume on the bookshelf, I'd like to share these illustrations by Edward Ardizzone.
If you've read this infamous book, perhaps these drawings will refresh your memory of Pip's experiences from his humble beginnings to his acquaintance with Miss Havisham to his coming into a fortune and finally to his return to a simple way of life.

Pip is raised by his mean and nasty sister. He eventually begins to work with her husband, Joe, a kind and compassionate brother-in-law, in the forge he owns as illustrated in "Pip Falls Into The Routine Of The Forge."
After Pip comes into a great fortune via an anonymous donor and moves to London, he becomes acquainted with the Pocket family, illustrated in "The Pocket Family In Various Stages Of Tumbling Up." Mr. Matthew Pocket tutors Pip as he strives to become a fine gentleman worthy of his fortune.
As a young child, Pip was introduced to Estella on the same day he came to Miss Havisham's home per her request to, as a diversion, watch the two children play. From that day forward, Pip yearns for Estella's love, illustrated in "Pip Asks For Another Kiss," which is thwarted by her unloving nature, trained into her by her guardian, Miss Havisham. Miss Havisham was left alone at the wedding altar nearly a lifetime ago and still lives bitterly as if the sun never set on that day, eternally wearing her wedding dress and keeping the wedding cake on its table in the room across from her bedroom.

Having assumed that Miss Havisham had provided his fortune, Pip's world spins when he learns that an escaped convict he aided as a young child bestowed his fortune on him. The ex-convict climbs the stairs to Pip's room to reveal his identity as the benevolent donor as illustrated in "Pip Has A Visitor By Night."

After Pip's final visit with Miss Havisham, he looks back into her room where she is sitting by the fire. Her dress catches fire and bursts fully into flame, sending her straight at Pip as illustrated in "Pip Sees Miss Havisham In Flames."

Pip shelters and comes to care deeply for the convict and attempts to get him out of the country by boat as illustrated in "The Final Journey."
I haven't done Dickens' book justice by my words yet I've done my best. There are many, many characters I haven't touched on.
Have you read Great Expectations? If so, what are your thoughts on it or what do you remember about it?


Jana said...

Shaddy - it has been ages since I read Great Expectations, not since high school. The only thing that really stuck with me was the lady wearing the wedding dress -- so sad and pathetic. You've renewed my interest.
I enjoyed seeing the illustrations.

dayner said...

I haven't read it, but i certain;y will now. Those are great illustrations.

Shaddy said...

JANA: Miss Havisham surely is a sad and pathetic person, an unforgettable character indeed.

DAYNER: I chuckled aloud time and time again as I read. Tragedy and sadness have their places in this book as well, but Dickens' sense of humor surprised and delighted me.

I hope it does the same for you. Please let me know how it affects you.

darksculptures said...

I have not read it either. It is on my around to it list.

Books that are illustrated, such as this one, are always such a joy to read. There is something about having an illustration next to a page of text that gives a sort of romanticism to the story. At least that is how I feel about it.

Shaddy said...

DARKSCULPTURES: My book also has small black and white drawings at the beginning of every chapter. Illustrations, as you stated, bring the words to life which enhances the reading experience.

If and when you read GREAT EXPECTATIONS, please let me know your thoughts on it.

Sarah said...

Oh Shaddy, this is wonderful. It makes me want to get it out and start reading it again right now. It's been several years since I read it, and you've done a masterful job of describing the story. You've reminded me of things I've forgotten. Yep, it's time to read it again.

I do so love the illustrations. They're wonderful. Thanks for taking the time to post them. :)