decorated initial 'T'om matures in Waterland just as Pip matures in Great Expectations; both must confront failed expectations. Tom's first sexual experience ends in Mary's brutal abortion; Pip discovers that he has not been betrothed to Estella and that his benefactor is an outlaw. Tom Crick begins his narrative in the present, telling us that he is out of a job, and that his wife has been committed to an asylum for kidnapping a baby. Waterland is Crick's attempt to explain his present circumstances by an examination of the past. When, towards the end of the novel, Crick realizes that he can not reduce his life to a series of events that are morally acceptable to him, his narrative becomes fragmented; his search breaks down. Unlike Waterland, Great Expectations unfolds chronologically. Pip's tale is more a confident recollection than a desperate search. Both Swift and Dickens show the conflicting perceptions of youth and adulthood by having an adult protagonist tell of the events of his childhood. This method of juxtaposing points of view allows both narrators to present perceptions of child and adult simultaneously.


Victorian Web Overview Charles Dickens Great Expectations

Last modified 1988