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Great Expectations

            Charles Dickens has left the revised ending of Great Expectations open to interpretation by the individual reader. The original ending is unconventional in that the fairytale does not have a happy ending. In contrast the revised version allows the reader to respond to the novel and decide for themselves the fate of Pip and Estella. This ending brings Pip and Estella full circle back to the place of their first encounter. For those of us who like a happy ending, the final scene shows how both characters have developed to be equals. No longer the puppets of others they are free to rescue each other from the guilt of their past actions and learn from them to create new expectations.
             The original ending makes spectacle of the difference in social standing. Pip and Estella have a chance meeting on the streets of London. The fact that Pip is in the company of young Pip shows his association and acceptance of the lower class; while Estella represents the superior class by sitting in her carriage and looking down at Pip to speak to him. .
             The revised ending has Pip and Estella return to Satis House the place of their first encounter. In their first meeting there was a definite distinction between their classes. Pip the blacksmith's boy and Estella the ward of a wealthy woman. However at this meeting they are sitting next to one and other on a bench. This signifies equality.
             This original ending fits with the theme that it is impossible to go back, and one must pay for what has been done. Pips desire to become a gentleman clouds his thoughts and he, like Estella, became a snob. However at the end of the first two books of the novel he has moments of deep recrimination. If I had cried before, I should have had Joe with me then. (Chapter 19, page 178) and my own worthless conduct to them was greater than every consideration I could never, never, never, undo what I had done." (Chapter 39, page 376).

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