When I was younger, I went through a phase where I would only read books that were at least 100 years old.
While I’ve discovered that modern literature can be great too, I still love old classic books. I found this awesome copy of Great Expectations yesterday, reigniting my love of old books.
I always felt for poor Pip, purely loving his Estella, despite the fact that her abusive adoptive mother had oppressed her so much that she couldn’t appreciate Pip’s unselfish & genuine love for her. No matter how hard poor Pip tried to show her that she didn’t have to remain cold, she rebuffed him every time, warning him that she was incapable of love.
Was Estella right? Perhaps. Or perhaps Pip saw what she couldn’t; that eventually something would break her of the teachings & the mindset that her mother instilled in her. I’d strongly recommend picking up the book to find out.
The truth is, there is always something that will counter any belief, good or bad. Whether it’s blind faith or suffering, eventually something is stronger than the old beliefs that keep us chained in one place. Even Estella was forced to admit that (despite her claims to the contrary), she did love Pip and she couldn’t bring herself to hurt him like she did every other man. Pip was someone she needed to protect from the person she hated most; herself. Perhaps had Estella simply believed in her own love for Pip & not continuously called his devotion to her irrational, she could have had a much happier existence. Of course, that wouldn’t make for a tragic novel now, would it?
One thing that amuses me about Great Expectations is that the book itself has several different conclusions. Dickens original ending was revised & each film adaptation has put their own spin on it. Perhaps that’s because we’re supposed to believe what we want.
But those are the best stories; where the ending isn’t clear. Perhaps the tortured brooding character learns from pain & returns to their beloved, renewed by their blind faith in them. Perhaps the ending is simply that they wander the same streets alone, never finding credence. Perhaps everyone just moves on, complacent in their roles. The joy of real life vs. old books is that we can still revise, edit & change as we go until our time runs out & hopefully, our story ends the way we always hoped it would.