First and fifth periods continued with Monster. We’ll be finishing up the reading portion by the middle of next week and then move on to working on our last project of the year.
Second and fourth periods finished Great Expectations. We began with the standard ending, which was actually the second ending Dickens wrote for the book.
“Of late, very often. There was a long hard time when I kept far from me, the remembrance, of what I had thrown away when I was quite ignorant of its worth. But, since my duty has not been incompatible with the admission of that remembrance, I have given it a place in my heart.”
“You have always held your place in my heart,” I answered.
And we were silent again, until she spoke.
“I little thought,” said Estella, “that I should take leave of you in taking leave of this spot. I am very glad to do so.”
“Glad to part again, Estella? To me, parting is a painful thing. To me, the remembrance of our last parting has been ever mournful and painful.”
“But you said to me,” returned Estella, very earnestly, ‘God bless you, God forgive you!’ And if you could say that to me then, you will not hesitate to say that to me now – now, when suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but – I hope – into a better shape. Be as considerate and good to me as you were, and tell me we are friends.”
“We are friends,” said I, rising and bending over her, as she rose from the bench.
“And will continue friends apart,” said Estella.
I took her hand in mine, and we went out of the ruined place; and, as the morning mists had risen long ago when I first left the forge, so, the evening mists were rising now, and in all the broad expanse of tranquil light they showed to me, I saw no shadow of another parting from her.
After doing some group work to determine how we are to understand this ambiguous ending, we looked at Dickens’ original ending, paying close attention to the similarities of phrasing:
It was four years more, before I saw herself. I had heard of her as leading a most unhappy life, and as being separated from her husband who had used her with great cruelty, and who had become quite renowned as a compound of pride, brutality, and meanness.
I had heard of the death of her husband (from an accident consequent on ill-treating a horse), and of her being married again to a Shropshire doctor, who, against his interest, had once very manfully interposed, on an occasion when he was in professional attendance on Mr. Drummle, and had witnessed some outrageous treatment of her. I had heard that the Shropshire doctor was not rich, and that they lived on her own personal fortune.
I was in England again — in London, and walking along Piccadilly with little Pip — when a servant came running after me to ask would I step back to a lady in a carriage who wished to speak to me. It was a little pony carriage, which the lady was driving; and the lady and I looked sadly enough on one another.
“I am greatly changed, I know; but I thought you would like to shake hands with Estella, too, Pip. Lift up that pretty child and let me kiss it!” (She supposed the child, I think, to be my child.)
I was very glad afterwards to have had the interview; for, in her face and in her voice, and in her touch, she gave me the assurance, that suffering had been stronger than Miss Havisham’s teaching, and had given her a heart to understand what my heart used to be.
Finally, we watched the ending in the BBC from the late-1990′s. Each ending provides its own understandings of the the story and each has its strengths and weaknesses. Unfortunately, none of them really have the clear ending some students were breathlessly awaiting: a romantic declaration of mutual and eternal love between Pip and Estella.
- First and fifth periods: none.
- Second and fourth periods: