In Defense of the Original Ending of Great Expectations Essay

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In Defense of the Original Ending of Great Expectations

Many critics prefer the original ending to the revised version because it is the ending that Dickens himself decided to write without consulting anyone. Many people believe that since Bulwer-Lytton gave Dickens input on the second ending that it is not as true. Although Dickens may have inadvertently been plagiarizing, the original ending is the way that Dickens felt the novel should end, as opposed to the way Bulwer-Lytton felt it should end.

Another reason that the original is preferable is because it seems to flow better with the overall themes of the novel. One of these themes is how people expectations differ from reality. Pip's expectations never seem …show more content…

He never would have been embarrassed about Joe if he did not expect to live a better life than him. When Dickens gives Pip the possibility of happiness with Estella in the revised ending, he completely undermines the lesson he was teaching Pip and the reader.

A related theme that is carried through in this ending is the idea of mistaken identities. Estella mistakes little Pip for Pip's son, when he is really the son of Joe and Biddy. This is like how Pip mistakes Miss Havisham for the one who gives him his expectations when it is really Magwitch.

In the original ending of Great Expectations, there is no Chapter 59, and Dickens reunites Pip and Estella in four short paragraphs. Although this ending is generally referred to as the unhappy ending since Pip and Estella definitely part ways again, it does give the reader hope that Estella finally understands how she treated Pip. This is important because it ties Estella and Pip together by the fact that they are both able to feel remorse for the way they treated other people. In Estella's case, she mistreated Pip, but after suffering at the hands of Drummle, she is finally able to empathize with Pip. She understands what it is like to be under the control of another human being. Throughout the novel, it is Estella who has power over Pip and every other man she meets. However, during her marriage, Estella is subjected to "outrageous treatment" (440), physical abuse, from Drummle.

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