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A List of Unusual Essay Topics for Great Expectations

Great Expectations is a classic piece of literature that many schools cover in their syllabus. If your class is discussing this major novel, you will likely be asked to write an essay or paper on the book. Since it’s so commonly discussed, it’s easy to pick a tired topic. You want to choose a subject that keeps your reader entertained, whether it be with a new perspective, alternative idea, or controversial theory. If you need some inspiration, here is a list of some unique essay topics that you can write about:

  • The significance of Pip: Pip is a major character in the novel. Explore how his character develops throughout the book and how the nature of his character is revealed as the story develops. How present is Pip throughout the story? Why do think he remains this way? Examine Pip’s relationship with the other characters in the book and discuss why you think Dickens wrote his character this way.
  • How is social class used?: One of the major themes in Great Expectations is social class and understanding how that influences human value. How does Pip’s social class inspire his behavior? What does Dicken’s portrayal of social class in the novel say about how he feels about social class?
  • The role of guilt: How is the term “innocence” defined in the story? Pip often feels conflicted by feelings of guilt and his conscience is a major character in the book. Explore the different symbols that represent justice and guilt.
  • What is the significance of the title?: Many parallels can be drawn between the title of the well-known title and the actual content. What do you think Dickens was alluding to when referring to Great Expectations? Did Pip have “great expectations” of his own?
  • Good vs. evil: Pip adamantly distinguishes good from evil, and what defines the two natures. As the story progresses, how do his beliefs conflict? What is his ultimate understanding of the nature of good and evil? Especially in regards to social class?

Dicken’s famous novel has been written about many times and has so many different things to be discussed. This list offers some creative topics to write about, but there are plenty more out there. Look for recurring themes, motifs, and contrasts. There are subjects that exist in essentially every nook and cranny, or page and chapter, of the book.

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