Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Great Expectations

Ah, Dickens. 

Look, I know that high school trains you to dislike Dickens because you're busy being a hormonal teenager who is totally cynical about this Old Man's sentiments, but come back to Dickens as an adult. 

It doesn't have to be Great Expectations, though that is a great place to start. If you're really cynical about Dickens, start with Our Mutual Friend instead.

Once you've truly lived, you'll recognize what Dickens wants to tell us about the beauty of forgiveness, what he needs us to know about the real duties one person owes another, and what he'd like us to take away on the possibility of having a finer nature in the face of a difficult world. This isn't schmaltz; it's real because one day you will feel it to be real, and will know it to be real. If you don't feel the sharp sting of disappointment when Pip grasps onto the wrong ideal, the wondrous melancholy of Pip's unfolding relationships, or laugh out loud at the absurd world Pip learns to navigate, you need to read the book again until you do, or, perhaps, live a little bit more.