Helllooooooo, another challenge awaits the bears. Would anyone like to join in? How about an esteemed classics author to get our teeth into? One of the bears' favourite authors is Mr. Charles Dickens, and our favourite book of his is most definitely Great Expectations.
GE is a book that is, in the bears' opinion, like so many of Dickens' works, still quite relevant in today's society. The book's main character is Pip, who lives with his uncle and aunt, Joe and Mrs Joe, in the forge, where he is expected to become apprenticed to his uncle and become a blacksmith himself in time.
He is sent by Mr. Pumblechook to be a companion to Miss. Havisham, at Satis house, where he finds himself thrown into a world far removed from his own of poverty and hard work and into one of wealth and privilege.
Pip is shocked to find Miss Havisham in a decaying wedding dress, with the detritus of a wedding feast surrounding her. She has been jilted by her fiancé, and as revenge she will bring up her adopted daughter, Estella, to break men's hearts.
Pip is bewitched by Estella, and dreams of a better life for himself. He knows that to advance himself he needs education, but understands that to be educated costs money, something Joe and Mrs Joe do not have.
When a mysterious benefactor elevates Pip into a new life of education, wealth and privilege, it seems Pip's hopes are realised. Believing the benefactor to be Miss Havisham, he thinks of himself as equal to Estella, but as the story evolves, Pip learns that to be a gentleman does not necessarily mean to be a better person, and that a life of wealth does not automatically bring happiness. Dickens once again satirises the upper classes in this novel.
The theme of social advancement runs strongly throughout the book, as does the theme of neglect, and the question of nature over nurture. In fact, there are many themes and motifs, including that of poverty, both at the start of the book, and with Pip's eventual demise in status when he loses his fortune on discovering that the escaped convict Magwich has 'bought' him in order to 'own a gentleman'. Magwich's recapture leads to Pip's fall in status, as Magwich's money now has to go directly to the government.
So, what could we come up with for this challenge?
Our inspiration has to come from what stands out most strongly for us in the novel, and that would be
Use one or all of the above as inspiration, either literally, on your work, or as a start for your project, IE, produce something 'upper class' or 'rich' or whatever you think the novel may mean by the word gentleman, let the word nurture take your project on a journey of love, after all, Pip's love for Estella runs throughout the novel. Completely ignore the Dickens aspect if you wish, and let one of the words take you where it will, or embrace the Dickens theme wholly and maybe take inspiration from one of his quotes in the book along with the above words .
Miss Havisham is a fantastic character if you need extra inspiration, she epitomises the words neglect and decay, all around her seems rotten, including her training of Estelle to be so unloving towards the opposite sex.
The novel has such fascinating characters, that we hope you can be inspired enough to join in our little challenge, we love when we have friends to play along with us.
I guess we should go and think of a project to make then, oh, a finish date? How about the end of September? Give us all time to work out exactly what to do?
With love from the bears