Wisdom from Great Expectations {Dickens}

Friday, March 6, 2015

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If you have read a book three times {or maybe four} in your lifetime I guess you could consider it an important part of your life and worldview. Great Expectations has been that book for me. I first read it in high school, but have since read it two or three more times as I have taught it to my boys that I homeschool. I don't know what it is about this book...the crazy characters, the plots that are all linked together, or the themes of love and forgiveness that have gripped me, but nonetheless, I love it! You can read more about it here, but let me share with you some of my favorite quotes from the novel where time stops and hearts become ice.

{Photo by Jenny Rollo}

One of the main themes in the novel has to do with our hearts...

{Photo by Kalilo}

How we simply can't hide who we really are. Our hearts always give us away...

Here are some other great quotes:

"Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but I hope--into a better shape."
So true. Suffering changes us, and we have a choice. It can form us into someone better or it can make us bitter. My hope in life is that my suffering makes me into someone filled with compassion who makes the world a better place.

"Life is made of so many partings welded together."
Life is about loss and living after that loss. It is always in a state of flux, and the only thing we can count on in this life is that it will change.

"Take the pencil and write under my name, 'I forgive her.'"
Great Expectations is a book of brokenness and forgiveness (or lack thereof). Through the story, Dickens illustrates what unforgiveness can do to us. It destroys the one who can't forgive. This line has always been a reminder to me that forgiveness is the only way to go.

Her contempt for me was strong, that it became infectious, and I caught it."
Once again, Dickens speaks a profound truth through one of his characters. I have lived this line. When people have shown me contempt and disrespect I have "caught it" and looked down upon myself. It took me awhile to realize what was happening to me and how I was viewing myself. I have now learned that when people show me contempt it is more a commentary on who they are instead of who I am.

So have you read Great Expectations

To read more wisdom from literature, click here.


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