Quickened by Dickens

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I feel like I’m a better person than I was two weeks ago. I’ve finished reading Great Expectations and to my surprise, I really enjoyed it. Understand: I have never had to read Charles Dickens. This unfortunate reality is likely due to skipping two years of high school (long story) and all the reading that went with it. In the years since my academic career played out its spotty history, the thought of reading Dickens has been intimidating. English majors read Dickens. Oh wait, I am an English major.

Notes from the margin:

social class, “great expectations” = ambition

human nature, identity

Also a question: does the nature of the giver, especially if he’s an escaped convict, detract from the value of a gift?

I think Magwitch is a really good name for a cat.

Watercolour of Abel Magwitch from Great Expect...

Watercolour of Abel Magwitch from Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“You’re so smart. You’ve always been smarter than me,” said my sister with a little bit of awe when I told her I laughed out loud in parts. “I tried Dickens. I didn’t get it.” She was sad when she said this.

“Try him again,” I said. “He describes people as furniture, compares them to plants. Think of him as a 19th century Eddie Izzard.”

“I don’t know about that,” my sister said. “Would you like some cake?” We are Skyping and doing imitations from Game of Thrones.

My sister is modest. She has read Austen, I have not. (“You’ll like her, I promise!”) She’s next on my list. As with Dickens, I’m a little scared but hope to be surprised.

If this line isn’t so wonderfully English, I don’t know what is.

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