Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Great Expectations: Sticky Post

NOTE: Proper discussion questions are now beginning to appear below this post! Questions are spoiler-free, but the comments section is open season!

This brief sticky post will remain at the top of the page until the end of January. Post links to your reviews of our January book or any alternates you may have chosen via Mister Linky down there. In the comments section...

Feel free to discuss general points in the comments section of this post, or just talk amongst yourselves. Feel free to answer the discussion questions, if they strike your fancy, at your leisure.

Note: Please don't feel like you need to rush if you haven't even started the book yet. Jump in when you have a chance and feel like it. We're very free-flowin' around here.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Characters...some pretty detestable ones!

What did you think of the characters in Great Expectations, both collectively and individually? Was Pip such a pipsqueak that you found it impossible to like him? Was Miss Havisham just cracked enough to drive you batty? Was Estella just a wench at heart or evilly alluring?

Friday, January 25, 2008

A few more questions

1. What significance does the novel’s title, Great Expectations, have for the story? In what ways does Pip have “great expectations”?

2. For much of Great Expectations, Pip seems to believe in a stark division between good and evil, and he tends to classify people and situations as belonging to one extreme or the other: for instance, despite their respective complexities, he believes that Estella is good and the convict is evil. Yet, both socially and morally, Pip himself is often caught between extremes; his own situation rarely matches up to his moral vision. What is the role of moral extremes in this novel? What does it mean to be ambiguous or caught between extremes?

3. Discuss the character of Miss Havisham. What themes does she embody? What experiences have made her as she is? Is she a believable character? How does she relate to Pip and Estella?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

January Discussion Prizes!

If you discuss Great Expectations with us on or before January 31st, you will automatically be entered to win....

January prizes include:

  • 2008 "Reading Woman" calendar, a collection of paintings of women reading. Very Victorian. Very pretty.
  • A "Thai Gems" mosaic journal. Lined pages.
  • A hand-painted bookmark!

Good luck to everyone, and thanks for all your participation so far! I'll draw the winning name on February 1st!


Three More GE Discussion Questions!


4) Why do you think Miss Havisham manipulates and misleads Pip into thinking she is his secret benefactor? What, if anything, does she derive from this action?

5) Given Dickens's portrayal of Estella, what do you think attracts Pip to her in the first place and what, when he learns of her cold-blooded manipulation of men such as her husband, keeps Pip devoted to her until the end, loving her, as he says, "against reason, against promise, against peace?"

6) In the final chapter Estella says to Pip: "Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching." Discuss the theme of suffering in this book.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Great Expectations Discussion Question #3

If Pip had not received his "Great Expectations" and never left Joe's forge, how do you think his life would have been different? Are the lessons he learns during his physical and emotional journey necessary for him to arrive at the wisdom he arrives at in middle age?

Great Expectations, Discussion Question #2

Why do you think it is one of Pip's benefactor's principal conditions that he "always bear the name of Pip" in order to receive his financial support?


Discussion Question 1

In this novel, Great Expectations, things are often not what they seem. Discuss how "expectations" play a role in the book. For instance, how are expectations illustrated by and through the various major characters in this book.

How are Pip's expectations different and similar from those of:
Miss Havisham

Pick a few or address 'em all! Whatever blows you skirt up.

Beware possible spoilers in the comments section!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I almost forgot!

OK, I did forget. I TOTALLY forgot. I meant to tell you all...

If you find yourself hating a book, changing your mind about a book, utterly terrified of a book--whether it be one you picked or one we picked--feel free to change your mind. Substitutions to your lists of books for the year are completely welcome at any and all times. I'm a ridiculously finicky reader, so I understand! Flexibility is next to Godliness. Or something like that.


Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Let It Begin!

Welcome to the first day of 2008 and the beginning of your Year of Reading Dangerously! Heather and I are thrilled that so many people have signed up already, and we're looking forward to the discussion to come.

First, a few reminders and clarifications:

1. You can read any 12 "Dangerous" books, the 12 we've chosen, or a mixture of the two to complete the 2008 Year of Reading Dangerously Challenge.

2. We will set up space for you to report in with your links to reviews and thoughts on the books you read by month (look for the January post to appear soon).

3. If you discuss the official book of the month with us, you're automatically entered into a drawing for the month's prizes.

4. We will set up posts with varying discussion questions throughout the month. Feel free to discuss at your own pace in the comments sections.

5. You may read ahead for months to come or read a chosen books only within the month it's chosen for. It's up to you.

6. Latecomers may join at any time! Just go below to add your name/link to Mr. Linky.

I've been steadily visiting everyone's blog that's joined the challenge, and I've enjoyed meeting everyone. In the spirit of community, consider posting an introduction in the comments section of this post, so we can all get to know each other a little better!
Be sure to check back here often for prize, question, and other updates!

Happy 2008 everyone, and good luck!