Friday Face Off : Mist/fog – “A thin grey fog hung over the city, and the streets were very cold; for summer was in England.”

FFO

Here we are again with the Friday Face Off meme created by Books by Proxy .  This is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite book covers.  The rules are fairly simple each week, following a predetermined theme (list below) choose a book (this doesn’t have to be a book that you’ve read), compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future week’s themes are listed below – if you have a cover in mind that you’re really wanting to share then feel free to leave a comment about a future suggested theme.  I’ve also listed events that take place during the year, that I’m aware of, so you can link up your covers – if you’re aware of any events that you think I should include then give me a shout.  This week’s theme:

Mist/fog – “A thin grey fog hung over the city, and the streets were very cold; for summer was in England.”

So, did everyone find this one easy or not??  I had a couple in mind, of course, the age old problem of only one cover reared its ugly head.  I still had a couple of possibilities but this week I went with a classic.  Great Expectations by Charles Dickens – which I really love.  Here are the covers:

Lots of hazy, misty mansions, graveyards and gateways.  I’ve gone for a very small selection of the covers here.  In terms of a favourite, difficult to choose this week but I’m going to go with the young man in the top hat:

GE8

Do you have a favourite?

I’ll be updating the list in order to include forthcoming events that I’m aware of so that you can perhaps link your themes up where possible (if you know of an event you’d like to share then let me know in the comments).  As always, if you wish to submit an idea then leave me a comment – or if you’d like to host a week then simply let me know.

Next week – Spider web – “Farewell, Aragog, king of the arachnids, whose long and faithful friendship those who knew you would never forget!

Future themes: (if you’re struggling with any of these themes then use a ‘freebie’ or one of your favourite covers) (I’ve added some new themes – some of these are slightly different, in order to avoid too much repetition I’m trying to make the themes more of a suggestion that everyone can interpret how they like.  

201

16th October – Spider web – “Farewell, Aragog, king of the arachnids, whose long and faithful friendship those who knew you would never forget!

23th October – Ripped/torn – interpret it as you wish

30th October – Forest/jungle – ‘None of the Jungle People like being disturbed.’

6th November – Planets – “You’re on Earth. There’s no cure for that.”

13th November – Bright – ‘The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades’.

20th November – Words only – “Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.”

27th November – Modern sci fi

4th December –  Fae – or fairy??

11th December – Lake – the mysterious lake

18th December – Highly Stylised

25th December- Freebie – or day off.

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Just finished reading Great Expectations by Charles Dickens which I was reading as part of a Dickens readalong being hosted by Caroline (Beauty is a Sleeping Cat) and Delia (Postcards from Asia).

This is a reread of the novel for me as I read it many years ago and I always wonder if I will actually like a book the second time round or whether revisiting will somehow mar the memory.  No problems here I’m pleased to admit.  I was very pleasantly surprised to find that the second time round the story was even better.

For those of you unfamiliar with Great Expectations the story is about a boy called Pip.  Pip is an orphan, being raised by his sister and her husband Joe.  Due to a chance circumstance Pip is thrown into the path of the local eccentric lady of the manor, Miss Haversham where he meets her ward the beautiful and proud Estella.  Pip is later to be apprenticed to Joe as a blacksmith until his fortune is changed by an unknown benefactor and he is elevated to the status of a gentleman with ‘great expectations’.  I won’t elaborate further on the plot.

The first thing I noticed this time round is the humour in Dicken’s telling of the story.  I can genuinely admit that I recalled none of that at all and yet he really does incorporate a lot of fun into his character Pip.  Perhaps I missed this originally as I was much younger and probably concentrated mainly on the story (not to mention racing to the end to find out how it all concludes).  I think much of the writing style and the subtle nuances were probably wasted on me at that age whereas this time, being already aware of the story, I was able to enjoy Dicken’s style.

I must confess that I had moments where Pip didn’t come across as well as he could – in fact at one point I positively disliked him.  But, I think this was part of Dickens intentions.  Pip starts out in life quite destitute and his only friend in the world is Joe (who frequently rescues him from a good beating from his sister).  And, yet, as soon as he meets Miss Haversham he becomes overwhelmed with shame about his own circumstances.  He cringes at the thought of the  disdainful Estella ever meeting Joe or seeing his home circumstances.  This is in sharp contrast later in the story when Pip becomes friendly with Mr Wemmit who works at the law firm that acts as Guardian to Pip’s income until he becomes of age.  Mr Wemmit doesn’t have a lot to speak of in the world.  He has a small home and looks after his elderly father who remains known throughout the story as The Aged.  And yet Mr Wemmit loves his home and family and experiences none of the feelings that Pip does.  It also reaches a bit of a peak when Joe pays a visit to Pip in his new home in London and Pip is practically on pins for the whole visit, acts quite rudely towards Joe, is ashamed for him with his country ways and lack of breeding and is actually relieved when he leaves!  I was really naffed off with him at this point I must admit!

That being said I think that Pip does redeem himself – and this seems to be a theme with Dickens that characters become aware of the flaws in their own character and attempt to change themselves for the better.

A couple of things that occurred to me during this read were:

I thought that Dickens was making a point about females in society – if you look at Biddy in this story she is quite obviously as clever, if not more so, as Pip and yet due to circumstances her chances in life are quite different.

The other thing that stood out with this, and I don’t know if this is the same for other novels by Dickens, is that he is a master of misdirection.  He leads you into wrong conclusions and dead end alleys without any difficulty whatsoever.

And, finally, I wondered if he was making a point about nature over nurture.  Both Pip and Estella were taken into a situation where they were manipulated and raised almost like a tool of revenge.  Estella to seek revenge against men on behalf of Miss Haversham and her overwhelming disappointment in life and Pip, placed into a different situation in life by somebody who wanted to make a gentleman out of him to prove a point and then display Pip around time as being the superior of everyone else.  Both of them, later in life, realised how they were being used and it was sad to see that neither of them were able to lead perfectly happy or normal lives comparative to some of the other characters in the story.

I really enjoyed this story reading it for the second time.  It is a great story and easy to see why it’s been adapted to film on so many occasions and I would like to thank Caroline and Delia for giving me the inspiration to revisit.