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brief introduction of Great Expectations

(2010-03-17 15:31:33)
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Charles Dickens was born at Portsea on 7 February,1812,and christened Charles John Huffham.When he was eleven,his father was imprisoned for debt.As there was nowhere else for them to go,his mother and seven brothers and sisters joined their father in prison.Charles was lucky.A kindly relative found him work labeling bottles in a factory. For Charles,it was total shame.The experience of these months must have haunted him all his life.He never told anyone else about it,except his wife.
This experience might help to explain the nagging emotional insecurity and restlessness which friends percieved behind the magnetizing eyes,the vivacious personality and,later,the extremely successful author.It might also go some way to explaining Dicken’s burning sympathy for the poor and socially oppressed,which is one of the hallmarks of his work.
When he was 15,Charels began work in a lawyer’s office in London.He must have found the nature of the work slow and tedius for,only eighteen months later,he became a freelance reporter of the parliamentary debates,His first publication,Sketches by Boz,began to appear in magzines when he was still only 21.He wrote another ten novels over the following twenty-four yearsthe most famous of which are A Christmas Carol,David Copperfieldand Great Expectations.
Great Expectations was written by Charles Dickens around the time of 1860-1861 and was initially written as a periodical for a newspaper. The story centres around Pip, who is the main character of the book, and is written in the style of first person narrative. It is the classic story of “rags to riches” seen from the eyes of a young boy, Pip. Despite his abusive upbringing he manages to be a kind boy that leads him to a life of fortune, mystery, and heartbreak. He lives with his torturous sister and her kindly husband until an unknown benefactor showers Pip in wealth. He is sent to London immediately and begins his education as a gentleman. Through grooming he turns his back on the people he once loved for the new life, but is shocked with the revelation of his benefactor’s identity. Strange connections are discovered between his benefactor and the girl he loves and he realizes he only a part of something much bigger. In the end this is a story of unconditional love and forgiveness. Here is the story:
Pip, an orphan, is brought up by his abusive sister and her husband, Joe Gargery, the kindly village blacksmith. Magwitch, an escaped convict, confronts Pip in the churchyard on the Kent marshes and demands food and a file to break his chains. Out of fear Pip complies and Magwitch escapes. He is later recaptured and transported to Australia where he prospers.

     Pip is introduced to Miss Havisham an eccentric old woman, and her charge, Estella, with whom Pip falls in love. Estella has been taught by Miss Havisham to break men's hearts as restitution for Miss Havisham's having been left at the altar years before by Compeyson, who later turns out to be a convict who was once partnered with Magwitch.

Pip is apprenticed to Joe but longs to become a gentleman after having been made to feel inferior by Estella who had criticized Pip's "coarse hands and thick boots". He begins to be ashamed of Joe and home and enlists Biddy to help educate him.

     Pip and Joe meet the lawyer, Jaggers, at the local pub. Pip recognizes Jaggers as a man he has seen at Miss Havisham's. Jaggers relates to Pip and Joe that Pip has great expectations through an unnamed benefactor which Pip assumes is Miss Havisham. Jaggers tells them that Pip is to be released from his apprenticeship to Joe and become a gentleman and is to go to London to begin his education. As part of the mysterious circumstances of his great expectations Pip is told that he is not to try to discover who his benefactor is.

     Pip goes to London where Jaggers and his clerk Wemmick set him up to begin his education with Matthew Pocke, who is Miss Havisham's cousin. Pip has chambers with Matthew's son Herbert at Barnard's Inn and discovers Herbert is the "pale young gentleman" he had scuffled with at Miss Havisham's Satis House. Pip's sister, Mrs. Joe Gargary, has been attacked by Orlick, a journeyman blacksmith in Joe's shop. She lingers in a state of insensibility and later dies.

    Pip continues and finishes his education and secretly sets Herbert up in business. He becomes Estella's escort in London and continues to adore her as she continues to torment him. When Pip turns 21, and reaches his majority, he is told by Jaggers that he is to receive 500 pounds per year from his still unnamed benefactor. Pip wonders when Miss Havisham will make herself known as the provider of his great expectations and he will come into his promised property.

     On a stormy night in his 23rd year Pip is home alone and is visited by a man who seems to know him, but whom Pip does not recognize. Finally, to his horror, Pip recognizes the convict Magwitch and, to his further horror, Magwitch relates that it was he who has provided Pip's great expectations. Magwitch has returned to England, in violation of his sentence of transportation, to see the gentleman he has made.

     Pip learns that Estella will marry the hated Bentley Drummle. Estella quarrels with Miss Havisham over her heartless upbringing. Later Miss Havisham is repentant and begs Pip to forgive her. Pip rescues her when her clothes catch fire but she is badly burned and later dies. Pip's arms were also badly burned and he recovers slowly. Estella's marriage goes badly, she is mistreated by Drummle and she leaves him. Drummle later dies in an accident involving the mistreatment of a horse.

     Pip enlists Herbert to help him find lodging to hide the convict, now called Provis, until they can spirit him abroad. They lodge Provis in an upstairs room in a house at Mill Pond Bank, on the Thames, occupied by Herbert's fiancee Clara and her invalid father. They then make plans to take Provis down the river in an open boat and catch a steamer bound for Hamburg.

     On the way they are overtaken and Provis identified as the convict Magwitch by Compeyson. Compeyson drowns when he and Magwitch scuffle and fall from the boat. Magwitch sustains serious injury. Despite his health Magwitch is tried and sentenced to death but dies of his wounds before the execution can be carried out. Pip has learned that Magwitch is Estella's father and, now softened towards the convict, tells him of his daughter just before Magwitch dies.

     Magwitch's wealth, which was intended for Pip, is confiscated by the Crown and leaves Pip destitute and ill. Joe comes to care for Pip in his illness and for a while it is like the old days at the forge. Pip is truly sorry for having forgotten Joe, Biddy and Home. When his strength returns he decides to ask Biddy to marry him. On arrival at the forge he finds that Biddy has married Joe.

     Pip leaves England to take a clerk's position in Herbert's firm. After many years he returns to visit Joe and Biddy at the forge and finds a copy of himself, Joe and Biddy's son, sitting in his old corner in the kitchen firelight. He visits Satis House, now in ruins, and meets a now softened Estella with the "freshness of her beauty gone but its indescribable majesty and its indescribable charm remaining" .

  

查尔斯.狄更斯于1812年二月七日出生在波特斯。他的基督教名字为查尔斯.约翰.哈弗汉姆。11岁时,他父亲因欠债而入狱,由于没有别的地方去,他母亲和兄弟姐妹也相继进入了债务监狱。只有查尔斯足够幸运逃脱了进入监狱的命运。后来,一位和蔼的亲戚发现他在一工厂里工作—给瓶子贴上标签。对于查尔斯来说,这完全是一种耻辱。这几个月的经历可能萦绕了他的一生。除了她的妻子,他从来没有跟其他任何人说起过这件事。
  他的这种经历使他朋友在他魔力四射的双眼,活泼开朗的性格和最后成功的作家的背后发现了他让人沮丧的焦躁不安的感情。而且,狄更斯对贫穷和压迫的极度同情也多少缘于此。这一点是狄更斯作品的一个特点。
  他15岁的时,开始在伦敦的律师所工作。他可能觉得这个工作太漫长无味,因为仅仅干了18个月,他就成为议会辩论记录文件的自由记者。他的第一出版物–-《博兹札记》,在他21岁的时候就上了杂志。在随后的24年里他又写了10部小说,其中最著名的有《圣诞欢歌》《大卫.科波菲尔》和《远大前程》。
  《远大前程》是狄更斯在1860-1861年间写的,它首先被写为一家报纸的期刊。故事围绕主人公皮普用第一人称的方式叙述的。这是一部从目睹小皮普贫穷到富有的经典著作。虽然他在侮辱中长大,但他却成功地长成一个善良的孩子,过上了一种富有,神秘,又让人心碎的生活。他一直和泼辣的姐姐和和蔼可亲的父亲生活在一起,直到一位无名的捐助者给予了他大量的钱财。然后他就立即被送往伦敦,开始了他的绅士教育生涯。通过训练,他对曾经热爱的百姓置之不理,但却被揭露的捐助者的身份震惊不已。他还发现了他爱的人和这位捐助者的特殊关系,然后察觉到自己只不过是宇宙中的一部分。故事最终以无条件的爱和宽容告终。故事梗概如下:
皮普,一个孤儿,被泼辣的姐姐和父亲抚养长大。他的父亲叫乔,是村里和蔼的铁匠。麦格维奇,一个逃犯,在肯特湿地的一个墓地里遇到了皮普。他跟皮普索要食物和锉刀来挣脱枷锁。由于害怕,皮普服从他的要求,就这样,麦格维奇逃走了。后来他再次被抓到,警方把他流放到澳大利亚,就在这里,他开始富有起来。
后来,有人把皮普介绍给一位性格古怪的老女人哈维莎姆小姐以及他的主管。结识后皮普便爱上了她。哈维沙姆小姐教埃丝特拉如何打碎男人的心,主要是为了报复已经离开她很多年的康姆佩森,因为他本是与麦格维奇结伴的罪犯。
皮普是乔的学徒,但由于埃丝特拉经常说他“大粗手,大厚靴”,这使他觉得低人一等,于是一心想着如何变成绅士。他开始为乔的工作和自己的家感到羞耻,然而,比蒂帮助他成为绅士,开始教育他。
皮普和乔在当地俱乐部偶然遇上了一名律师,贾格斯。皮普认为以前曾经在哈维沙姆家看见过这个人。贾格斯告诉他们皮普将有一位匿名施主帮助他实现自己的远大前程,这让皮普以为是哈维沙姆的恩惠。贾格斯说皮普要摆脱与乔的学徒关系,即将去伦敦接受教育,做一位绅士。作为他神秘的远大前程的情况的一部分,皮普不许去寻找他的施惠主。
皮普来到伦敦,贾格斯和他的员工韦弥克负责安排他与马修·朴凯特的教育事宜。马修·朴凯特是哈维沙姆的堂弟。皮普和马修的儿子赫伯特住在巴纳德的酒吧里。皮普发现赫伯特就是当年在哈维沙姆家的赛提斯院里和他打斗的那个苍白的小绅士。皮普的姐姐,乔夫人,被学徒期满的铁匠奥力克攻击。她一处在没有知觉的状态下,最后去世了。
皮普继续学习,完成了他的绅士教育,并秘密地帮助赫伯特建立了商业。在伦敦,他成了埃丝特拉的护卫,他继续喜欢她然而她却继续折磨他。皮普21岁成熟时,贾格斯告诉他将每年从他匿名的捐助者那得到500磅。他很想知道哈维沙姆小姐什么时候能公开她作为背后支持者的身份,自己什么时候能实现被许诺的财产。
在皮普23岁的一个暴风雨的夜晚,他一个人在家,一个似乎认识他的人来到他的房间,但皮普却不能认出这个人到底是谁。最后,让他震惊的是,皮普终于认出来他是罪犯麦格维奇。更让他吃惊的是,麦格维奇告诉皮普是他在背后一直支持着皮普的远大前程。他这次来到英国是冒着违反流放的罪行的风险来看望这位自己一手培养起来的绅士。
皮普得知埃丝特拉将嫁给讨厌的本特利·朱穆尔。埃丝特拉因哈维沙姆对她从小冷酷无情心灵的培养经常和哈维沙姆小姐争吵。后来,哈维沙姆小姐为自己当初的行为感到无比后悔,并祈求皮普原谅她。当她的衣服着火时,皮普试图营救她可是没有成功,她被烧死了。皮普的双臂也受了严重的伤,恢复的很慢。埃丝特拉的婚姻也很不顺利,经常受到朱穆尔的虐待,最后离开了他。后来,朱穆尔在一次虐待马的事故中不幸死亡。
赫伯特帮助皮普安顿现在名为普绕维斯的罪犯(麦格维奇)直到他们能秘密把他送到国外。他们把普绕维斯安置在泰晤士河米尔庞德河岸的一所房子的楼上住。这所房子为赫伯特的未婚妻克拉拉和他的残疾父亲所有。然后他们计划将把普绕维斯带到下游,帮他找到一艘驶往汉堡的大轮船。
半路上他们被突袭,普绕维斯被康姆佩森认出是罪犯麦格维奇。康姆佩森在和麦格维奇的打斗中从穿上掉进海里。麦格维奇也伤的很重。虽然他死了,麦格维奇还是被判死刑,最后在执行期之前死于自己的重伤。皮普知道麦格维奇是埃丝特拉的父亲,在麦格维奇临死前,温和地跟他说了他女儿的事。
麦格维奇死后,他为皮普准备的财产被王权没收了,皮普依然那么贫困潦倒。乔过来照顾皮普的病痛,很长一段时间,就像生活在过去那些熔炉里一样。皮普为自己曾经忘记了乔,比蒂和自己的家而深深地感到惭愧。等他体力恢复了,他决定向比蒂求婚。可是当他真正回到熔炉的时候却发现比蒂已经嫁给了乔。
皮普与于是离开了英国,在赫伯特的公司里做起了小职员的工作。很多年过去了,他回到锻造炉看望乔和比蒂,看到他的孩子,乔和比蒂的儿子,正坐在昔日他曾经坐着的厨房火炉旁。他来到赛提斯院,现在已经面貌全无。他遇到了现在已经变的温柔的埃丝特拉,她的美丽容颜已经不在,但她那无以言表的庄严和无与伦比的美丽却依然存在。

                                     2008.10.6

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