Struggling to Understand the Complexity of “Great Expectations”

I just opened my Instagram account to find out when I bought “Great Expectations” since I unusually didn’t put any dates and my own signature in the book. I was ashamedly surprised that I did make a post in the account when I was only few days reading the fiction. The date of the post was back in March and I finished reading the book just today. Yep, about eight months!

It isn’t actually the whole eight months of reading the fiction daily or weekly. The truth is I abandoned the novel for months, I barely touched it. I blamed the sentimental atmosphere of the book, especially concerning Pip, the book’s protagonist, as the main reason causing me away from the fiction but the actual cause is that I was lazy, I let my mind got distracted by social media and other books.

In fact, I purchased some titles after I abandoned the novel. “North and South” for instance is a quick-reading. I even finished “The Professor” sooner than the Charles Dickens’ masterpiece.

“Great Expectations” is my third attempt reading his books. I have a good experience enjoying “The Old Curiosity Shop” but I stop reading “Bleak House” for how many months I don’t even remember. I am almost at the brink of swearing to myself that should I don’t have willingness to finish reading “Great Expectations”, I will never, ever again read books by Dickens! Two titles are way too much to make myself drowned in guilty.

Thanks to Edgar Allan Poe’s short story collection that I bought almost two weeks ago, I was forced to fulfill the promise that I made on my own, as simple as finished reading books that I had bought. There was like a lightning striking my face that invited harder than I had never thought as within two weeks, I completed reading not only “Great Expectations” but also “The Professor”. I was shocked by this fact a few minutes ago while writing this. Doing this is such a personal record for me because not only this is the first time I seize my reading power back but also because the two titles are very hard to grasp, especially “Great Expectations”.

To my own surprise, I completed reading “Great Expectations” in less than a week for around 200 pages! Oh yes, I was insane, in good way! Though I was reading the book in fast speed, that doesn’t mean I wasn’t enjoying reading the fiction. The truth is I was so captivated with the mysteries, puzzles, shocks wrapped in the book that I found it hard to put it down. My eyes even got sore last night as my reading approaching the last 20, 10 pages of the fiction.

Man, the book is superb that I can’t actually sure where to begin reviewing it. It’s one of the most difficult novels that I have to dealt with so far. In the beginning, I couldn’t stand of the emotions felt by major characters of the book, particularly Pip. As I said earlier, he is so sentimental and sensitive that I was partly honest when I wrote in the beginning of the post that his sentimentality was one of the things that I couldn’t take it anymore.

I left the book unread for some months when I was reaching the 2/3 part of it. In addition of the Pip’s sentimentality, another factor that drove me away from it was the coming of minor characters when Pip was in London while living as a gentleman. He soon had new friends, acquaintances, new faces that emerged along the way. Here, Dickens actually shows the actual picture of what it means to live a luxurious life. His detailing over people, lifestyle in the big city, culture and manner surrounding the people at the place is vivid. But my mind couldn’t remember all of those things, especially too many names.

So, those are the things that complicated my reading process. Yet, when I forced myself resuming the reading process, Dickens’ way of engaging me in mysteries concerning Pip’s secret wealth made me defeating the two factors. There were small scenes here and there, names I didn’t remember them all but my mind had been entirely following what went next and next.

The more the book was nearing its conclusion, the more I got so excited on what was going to happen to Pip. I gasped, took deep breaths, and even cursed when I was coming to the answers of the big questions along the reading process. I had never been this curious finding out what would be the end of the protagonist’s life given so many puzzles inviting me to ponder.

Reading “Great Expectations” is difficult, I must say. My mind and my heart worked at their hardest processing the story. The book is much tougher than “The Old Curiosity Shop” for many aspects.

Dickens is genius displaying emotional turmoil and pains that had been suffered by the characters in the book. Those then led them behaving, saying the way they were in it. Their traumas were so deep buried that I was in the first place wondering “are those people exist in real lives, like miss Havisham?”

As successful as Dickens made them making peace with themselves at the end of the book, I still had to experience my own kind of emotional drama as I was trying to imagine scenes concerning Pip and Joe and Provis. I was almost crying fancying they were in front of me at that time.

Dickens was playing so well at making me guessing, waiting what next to be unfolded. His secrets were spilled seamlessly one by one. I couldn’t imagine how he created the fiction because beneath all of the mysteries, there were lying serious and diverse issues concerning psychology, social class, poverty and self-acceptance.

I was very happy completing the book after so many months. For reading it made me feel satisfied despite the ending that wasn’t that happy for Pip. Well, forget about how the fiction sentenced joyful sentence for Pip for the process of self-growing throughout the book is much more important for him. And such is for myself that complete reading the fiction, digesting all of its rich contents is the thing that actually makes fictions, books very worthy of devoting my time.

So, thank you very much for Charles Dickens for this masterpiece that brings profound lessons in my heart I will carry them as immeasurable treasures.


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