Questions for Great Expectations Vol. 1, Chpts 1-19
  1. How do descriptions of landscape establish tone and mood in the novel's opening and reinforce Pip's consciousness? Find specific examples and explain--you might focus on Chpts. 1 and 3.
  2. Discuss Joe and Mrs. Joe as individuals and as parents. Provide us with helpful examples.
  3. Compare Pip and Joe's education (Ch. 6) to education in OT and DS. What can you say about education in this novel and in the Victorian Period?
  4. Take the class through a close reading of chapter 8, focusing on the depiction of Satis House and Miss Havisham. What key details reveal her character? In what way are descriptions of the house significant? Consider other chapters as well.
  5. Also in chapter 8, Miss Havisham commands Pip to "play!" (59). Consider her command (and the idea of play itself) using the following quotations and our discussion of play theory (see your notes): "It is in playing and only playing that the individual child or adult is able to be creative and to use the whole personality, and it is only in being creative that the individual discovers the self" (Playing and Reality, D. W. Winnicott). "Play is voluntary, free, disinterested, and fun" (Homo Ludens, Johan Huizinga). How does the concept of play help us understand both Pip and Miss Havisham? What about Pip's boxing match with Herbert Pocket? (Ch.11)
  6. Discuss Estella and her relationship with Pip.
  7. Discuss importance of chapters 17 and 18. Why key ideas/events are revealed?
Vol. 2, Chpts 1-20 (20-39)
  1. Discuss the characters of Jaggers (chpts. 1 & 7) and Wemmick (chpts. 1, 5 & 6). How do you assess Wemmick's "dual" lives? What about Jagger's association with violence? [Connections to Pip and Orlick (Mrs. Joe's death, chpt. 16)?]
  2. What do we learn about Miss Havisham in chpt. 3? Herbert Pocket and his family (chpts. 3 & 4)?
  3. What role does Bentley Drummle play in the novel (chpt.7)?
  4. Assess at Joe's visit in chpt 8.
  5. Pip, Estella, and Miss Havisham--chpt. 10, 19--themes here?
  6. Chpt. 12--Mr. Wopsle--Hamlet--Point of this chapter??
  7. Magwitch--Chpt. 20--A key chapter right at the end of volume two. Key passages? How are volumes one and two connected? Key themes/ideas?
Vol. 3, Chpts 1-20 (40-59)
  1. What do you make of the Frankenstein reference near the end of chpt.1? Its relevance to the novel? What do we learn about Magwitch's background (chpt. 3)?
  2. Look at chpts. 9 and 10--Pip and Miss Havisham/fire--What can we say about Miss Havisham? Pip? (See chpt. 5 too.)
  3. Examine chpt. 14, Pip's encounter with Orlick. What about Orlick as Pip's double? Death of Mrs. Joe? Violence/evil in the novel?
  4. Attempted escape and Magwitch's death--chpts.15 and 17. How does Pip's reaction to Magwitch change?
  5. Examine the conversation between Pip and Joe in chpt. 18. What does Pip learn?
  6. Assess each ending of the novel. What differences to you find? Implications for how we read the novel?