Tips to Host the Best Book Club Event on Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

If you're looking for an enjoyable way to explore the beloved novel by Charles Dickens, you've come to the right place. We'll discuss everything from Pip's adventures to Miss Havisham's strange lifestyle - and anything in between! Whether you're a long-time fan or are new to the world of Dickens, we invite you to join us for creative ideas for your book club about this classic work of literature.

BlogTips to Host the Best Book Club Event on Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

If you're looking for an enjoyable way to explore the beloved novel by Charles Dickens, you've come to the right place. We'll discuss everything from Pip's adventures to Miss Havisham's strange lifestyle - and anything in between! 

Whether you're a long-time fan or are new to the world of Dickens, we invite you to join us for creative ideas for your book club about this classic work of literature.

Great Expectations: Book Summary

Great Expectations, written by the esteemed Charles Dickens in 1860-61, tells the story of Pip, an orphan growing up in 19th-century England. 

The novel follows Pip as he develops and matures over time with the help of some generous benefactors. After Pip comes into wealth through mysterious sources, he goes on to learn a valuable lesson about wealth and friendship.

The main characters of Great Expectations are Pip, Magwitch, Miss Havisham, Estella, and Joe Gargery. 

At the beginning of the book, Pip is a young orphan raised by his brother-in-law Joe and his wife, Biddy. As he grows up in rural England with limited means, he encounters an escaped convict in a graveyard who threatens to harm him if he doesn't bring him food and file for his leg shackles. Despite this incident, Pip still helps him because it's the right thing to do.

When he meets Miss Havisham - a wealthy eccentric living nearby - he falls madly in love with her beautiful ward Estella. 

However, Estella has been brought up by Miss Havisham with one aim: to make her despise all men as she did after her wedding day was ruined. 

Later on, we discover that Magwitch is Pip's anonymous benefactor and thus begins a series of exciting twists involving old secrets returning to haunt characters from past and present generations.

In Great Expectations, Charles Dickens explores themes like crime and punishment; redemption; family dynamics; status anxiety; ambition; love; class division, and identity formation through highly symbolic elements such as love versus money, expectations versus reality, etc.

Read Great Expectations for Free with JournalOwl. Invite your friends and start an online book club!

Top 3 Lessons We Can Learn From Great Expectations

If you want to freshen up your memory on this timeless classic, or rather contemplate the key takeaways, here are the major lessons we learned when we finished reading Great Expectations:

1. The importance of being humble and generous 

The protagonist, Pip, experiences a rise in his social standing due to an unexpected inheritance, leading him to neglect his old friends and family. Eventually, however, he learns that no matter how high one’s station is in life, it is essential to remain humble and kind to all.

2. The power of perseverance and determination

Despite his difficult childhood and poverty-stricken circumstances, Pip is determined to better himself through education and hard work. Ultimately, he triumphs despite overwhelming odds due to his unwavering determination.

3. The importance of loyalty

Pip’s loyalty to those closest to him is demonstrated throughout the book—especially when he continues to look after Magwitch even though the latter has committed severe crimes in the past.

How to Create a Great Expectations-Themed Book Club to Remember

In the rest of the article, we will provide helpful tips and ideas for creating a book club event centered around Charles Dickens' beloved novel Great Expectations, complete with engaging activities, exciting discussions, and meaningful insights– so you can create a book club event to remember!

Decorations

Creating a cozy atmosphere for your Great Expectations book club gathering is easy when you use the novel’s imagery to decorate. 

Start by draping the walls with green and white paper streamers in homage to Pip’s quest for fortune. If possible, hang miniature replicas of chimneys from the ceiling, representing the factory work done by many characters in the story. 

You can also place plastic or cardboard cutouts of marsh reeds along tabletops to represent Pip's hopelessness while he walks across London Bridge. 

Finally, to get everyone into character, hand out props like pocket watches and staffs made of rolled-up newspapers to nod to Miss Havisham and Joe Gargery. 

All these fun decorations will create an atmosphere that will have everyone feeling like they are part of Dickens’ classic tale.

Food and Drinks

Get creative with food and drinks to take your group back to Victorian England. 

Begin by serving appetizers like deviled eggsoysters, and other classic 19th-century dishes. 

For the main course, serve the hearty stew with dumplings, vegetables, freshly-baked scones, and fruit preserves. Offer a variety of wines, such as claret and sherry, that were popular in the era for dessert. 

To finish off the night, provide your guests with cups of tea or hot chocolate to complete the British experience. 

Have fun coming up with themed decorations for your event as well – it will make for an even more memorable gathering.

Activities

Questions

1. How does Dickens portray social class in Great Expectations? Is it still relevant today?

2. What themes from the novel stand out to you most? Why?

3. Discuss some of the choices Pip makes throughout the story. Are they all justified or not?

4. Was Estella's treatment of Pip right or wrong? Is there any hope for them as a couple in the end?

5. Did you find any parts of Great Expectations challenging to read or relate to? Why?

6. In what ways has this book impacted your perspective on life?

7. Pip's character undergoes many transformations throughout the novel; why do you think he changes so much?

?8. Great Expectations presents a commentary on wealth and status, showing that they do not always bring happiness. How does Dickens' opinion of wealth influence his depiction of characters like Miss Havisham and Jaggers?

?9. Magwitch plays a vital role in Pip's life, despite being considered an enemy at first. What would you consider the critical moment in their relationship and why?

?10. Estella is seen as a victim in the novel - what choices does she make throughout the story, and how does this reflect her independence?

Highlighted Notes

  1. Share a beautifully written phrase
  2. Share a phrase of advice or life lesson that resonated with you
  3. Share a phrase that portrayed symbolism and your interpretation
  4. Share a phrase that made you laugh 
  5. Share a phrase that moved you
  6. Share a phrase that provoked a different feeling

Read Great Expectations for Free with JournalOwl. Invite your friends and start an online book club!