Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

The Hired Girl

Laura Amy Schlitz

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Great Expectations

Great Expectations

Author: Charles Dickens

Year: 1860

Famous for: Miss Havisham and her house of decaying bridal memorabilia, more plot twists than you can count.

Main character: Pip, a boy who moves from childhood to adulthood—and from rags to riches to wisdom.

The scoop:

You’ll find two kinds of people in Charles Dickens’ world—those who Have, and those who Have Not. The Have-Nots envy the Haves, while the Haves fear the Have-Nots. In Great Expectations, Dickens creates a character named Pip who does something almost no one in Dickens’ time ever really did. Pip starts out a Have-Not, then becomes a Have … and then regrets it. Big time.

You could call Great Expectations a morality tale, but that doesn’t give Dickens enough credit for his wild story of Pip’s journey from rags to riches to wisdom. The characters Pip encounters—the proud Estella, the demented Miss Havisham, the surprise benefactor, Magwitch—offer a window into a place and a time lost to memory. But Dickens’ pen brings life to Victorian England—and a message about virtue and good character that’s relevant not only in Dickens’ era, but in our own.


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