Great Expectations

This resource can be used to guide teachers through the teaching of story elements in Great Expectations and in creating discussion groups about teaching the differences between totalitarianism and democracy. This site also offers links to The Dickens Project, The Dickens Page, and the Dickens House Museum. This resource will aide teachers in helping students understand why certain literary works may be considered classics or works of enduring quality and substance.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
CLE 3001.2.1
Demonstrate critical listening skills essential for comprehension, evaluation, problem solving, and task completion.
CLE 3001.3.1
Write in a variety of modes for different audiences and purposes.
CLE 3001.8.1
Demonstrate knowledge of significant works of world literature.
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.
Learning objectives: 

Students will understand the following:

  • The differences between totalitarianism and democracy.
  • A writer of a story considers theme, plot, characters, setting, and point of view.

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Extension suggestions: 

Director's Cut

  • Dickens changed the ending of Great Expectations prior to publishing it in the form your class has read. In addition, one movie version uses another ending. Ask students, working in small groups, to come up with yet another ending for the novel.

"Class" of 1861

  • Dickens uses Pip's trials and tribulations in the novel to make clear his own hatred of the class system. Ask students to use the video and other resources to write an essay about the class structure that existed in England in the 1860s. Advise them to support their generalizations with examples.

Helpful Hints

For this lesson, you will need:

  • access to a photocopier
  • the book, Great Expectations by Charles Dickens