Great Expectations

by: Charles Dickens

Point of View

Great Expectations is written in the first person point of view, with Pip acting as both the protagonist and narrator of the novel. Pip doesn’t narrate events as they happen, but looks back at his life and tells the story based on what he remembers, a style known as retrospective narration. For example, when Pip describes leaving for London, he admits that his desire to depart without Joe “originated in my sense of the contrast there would be between me and Joe.” (pg. 144) Pip says that “If I had cried before, I should have had Joe with me then.” The retrospective point of view allows Pip to reveal his motivations for his behavior, which he might not even have been aware of at the time. He also reflects on what he now knows would have been a better course of action.