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Great Expectations: A Tale of Two Endings

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Lauren Lindros Due: March 27, 2006 GHum 200 Turner Great Expectations: A Tale of Two Endings Charles Dickens wrote two different endings to his work Great Expectations. However, which ending is more appropriate depends on the way the audience views the tone and purpose of the novel. There are many differences between the original and revised endings, and these differences lead the reader to two distinct conclusions from the novel. However, with the creation of these two endings, a question arises: which ending is more appropriate for the novel? Even though the revised ending is better written, the original ending is more appropriate. There are many differences between the two endings of Great Expectations. Some of these differences are basic differences that Dickens makes clear. The original ending has eight years between Pip seeing Joe and Biddy, proceeded by another two years before Pip and Estella meet, thus having a ten year time period. However, in the revised ending, it is eleven years before Pip sees Joe and Biddy, and when he goes to Satis House and finds Estella. Another basic difference in the endings is location. Throughout Great Expectations location has been a big part of what is going on with Pip and how he views himself and life. ...read more.


During their conversation, Estella discusses what has caused her to change. She remembered when Pip said to her: 'God bless you, God forgive you!' And if you could say that to me then, you will not hesitate to say that to me now-now, when suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but - I hope - into a better shape. Be as considerate and good to me as you were, and tell me we are friends. (484) In this part of the conversation between Pip and Estella, she brings back her memories and explains to Pip that she has realized what her cold heart did to Pip, and that she does feel remorse for what she did was a child. She hopes that he still forgives her for what has happened, and this is a large part of her change. She is feeling sorrow and guilt for what has happened, feelings that she would not have felt if she did not live a hard life with Drummle. The two endings also lead the reader to two different conclusions at the end. ...read more.


Also, the original ending has the same tone as the rest of the novel. The entire book is serious and unhappy for Pip, with each good thing happening to him revealed as something that he would rather change. Also, throughout the entire novel, Pip is supposed to be shown that money and the lifestyle of Satis House is not what is best for him. He should not end up with the woman that encompasses all of the characteristics of that side of the road, and the idea of a happy ending after such a serious and unhappy story seems absurd. The original ending does give the audience the closure that they need; Estella does not fully change as a character, is well in her life, and Pip gets his closure about Estella. The two endings of Great Expectations by Charles Dickens differ greatly in length, location, and substance. Depending on what the reader believes is the purpose of the novel, each reader will have a different opinion on which ending is the most appropriate. However, the original ending fits the rest of the novel better, as it continues with the lessons and ideas that Dickens portrays throughout the entirety of the novel, compared to the revised ending which is just a clich�d, romantic, and happy ending. ...read more.

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