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Discussion task

There are many reasons why some texts continue to be popular with and available to readers and wider audiences.

  • What factors do you think play a part in the 'enduring' quality of a work of fiction such as this?
  • What do you think makes Great Expectations a 'classic'?
  • Who do you think decides what a 'classic' is? Do you think films can be 'classics' in the same way that novels can? What about films of novels?

Great Expectations was written by Charles Dickens in 1860 and 1861; originally, it was published in weekly instalments in Dickens’ own literary journal All the Year Round. The story continues to be explored today: it has been studied by school students for many years and has been adapted for television and film on numerous occasions.

If you already have a copy of Great Expectations, examine the book cover; or, look up images of covers for the book on an online bookshop.

  • What text or images are used on the cover? What colours are predominant, and what kind of font has been chosen?
  • If there is a 'blurb' on the back cover, look closely at the language used and the information this gives you.
  • What impression of the story, and of the novel, do you get from the cover as a whole?
  • Many of Charles Dickens' works are considered literary 'classics'. Does the book cover you have looked at give this impression?