“Expectations” at West provides opportunities for growth


Hollywood has Charles Dickens on the brain, with a new film about the author’s life, “The Invisible Woman” opening this holiday season, and a new version of “Great Expectations” that was released in November.

The book “Great Expectations” by Dickens is a senior level book that the advanced level of freshmen also read.

“I feel that the book was chosen for the advanced level of freshmen because it’s important to introduce students to Charles Dickens and the different elements of the word choice he uses,” freshman English teacher Molly Johnson said.

The book was published in 1860 and written in Old English. Dickens wrote it based on his own life experiences.

Dickens wrote the book in first person flashback where the main character, Pip, retells his own story about his past.

Some students, like freshman Torie Walenz, love the book.

“It’s a classic and it’s good for advanced students to read it because it stretches our minds,” Walenz said. “It should stay in the curriculum because it helps us understand Old English more and we do not get a lot of books like this.”

Freshman Addison Gangwish said he dislikes the book mostly because it is written in old English and hard to understand. He does not find the book interesting and would much rather read a different book.

“It’s very hard to understand but re-reading and reading out loud helps me,” Gangwish said.

Some people can process this book better than others but it is definitely still a challenge for some of the freshmen because of the vocabulary and style of writing Walenz said.

Johnson said the hardest part for her is remembering when and what happened in the book. It’s only the second time she taught the book and is a learning experience for her.

“Great Expectations” is also read in senior English classes. Senior Rachel Colwell said it is better for seniors to read it because they can understand it better and find all the “hidden messages” within the book.

“I think it is beneficial to read it as a freshman and read it again as a senior because you get so much more out of it and you can definitely see a difference in your reading levels from a freshman to a senior,” senior Lilly Harkin said.

Senior Claudia Cortes said that as seniors the students pull out more detail and analyze the text better than they did as freshmen. She likes being able to see all the literary elements that were put in the book that she didn’t see earlier.

“As you read this book when you are more mature, you will understand it more and be able to connect to it your own life,” Gangwish said.

Walenz and Gangwish agreed that to get through the book, students have to read it and not fall behind on the homework.

“Once we discuss the themes and pull those out and take the wordy part out, the students tend to enjoy the book,” Johnson said.

Though the freshmen classes initially struggle, the seniors see value with reading it twice in high school.

“The book should continue to be in the freshman curriculum so they can see the difference when they become seniors,” senior Robert Shindel said.

Brooke Riley
Guest Reporter