Great Expectations


  • Great Expectations 1: Setting the Scene

    This video excerpt is the opening scene from the 2012 MASTERPIECE adaptation of Charles Dickens's Great Expectations. A man mysteriously emerges from a marsh to ominous music. A young boy, Pip, is shown briefly in a church graveyard, reading the sad gravestone of his parents and five brothers and sisters. Suddenly frightened, Pip runs off, but not to safety. Instead, he goes towards the marsh, right into the path of the hulking escaped convict Abel Magwitch, who is coated with grime and mud. Magwitch grabs Pip. "Scream again," Magwitch says to Pip, "and I’ll cut your throat."

    Grades: 9-12
  • Great Expectations 2: Becoming a Gentleman

    In this video excerpt from the 2012 MASTERPIECE adaptation of Charles Dickens's Great Expectations, months have passed since Pip received the news that a mysterious benefactor has provided money for his education as a gentleman. When Joe Gargery—the kindly blacksmith who helped raise Pip—unexpectedly comes for a visit, Pip, embarrassed by Joe's shabby clothes and working-class accent, can hardly look at the man who befriended him and taught him a trade. Joe remarks, "You look different." Pip tries to dismiss the comment. "It’s just a suit," Pip replies. But Joe understands that Pip is not only ashamed of him, but doesn't want to be reminded of his humble beginnings. Pip's unkind treatment of Joe allows the viewer to begin to see how money and a rise in status alone may not create a true gentleman.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Great Expectations 3: Happily Ever After?

    This video excerpt is the moving, final scene from the 2012 MASTERPIECE adaptation of Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations. Pip, returned to his humble origins, hears that Estella, now a widow, has retuned to Satis House. As he approaches the ruined house, he sees a face in the upper window, much as he had when he first visited as a boy. He removes his hat, and waits. Inside, Estella descends the staircase and emerges from the door. Pip and Estella take each other’s hands and bow their heads together. No words are spoken as the film ends.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Adapting Dickens: From Page to Screen

    Students focus on the opening scene of the MASTERPIECE: Great Expectations film to examine the process of adapting this classic novel by Charles Dickens for the screen. In this interactive lesson, students compare and contrast the film and the original text to consider the strengths of each medium, how the choices made by the author or the filmmakers help tell the story, and how faithful a film should be to the original work. At the end of the lesson, they organize their notes and then write an essay comparing the two versions or develop a pitch for their own film adaptation. This resource is part of the MASTERPIECE Collection.

    Grades: 9-12

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