Charles Dickens first serialised Great Expectations in 1859. It tells the story of how an orphan, Pip, suddenly becomes a gentleman with the help of an anonymous benefactor. Pip lives on the Kent marshes with his sister and her husband, Joe Gargery, the village blacksmith. The novel opens with Pip exploring in the churchyard near the tombstones of his parents, Pip is set upon by an escaped convict. The convict frightens Pip into stealing food for him, as well as a file to remove his leg iron.
Pip's Uncle Pumblechook arranges for Pip to go to the house of a wealthy but reclusive woman, Miss Havisham, to play with her adopted daughter, Estella. Miss Havisham's fiancé abaonded her on her wedding day and she has never removed her wedding gown, although she's now elderly.
The house has been left as it was on her wedding day and even the old wedding cake is still on the table. Estella is beautiful but treats Pip badly looking down on him. In spite of this Pip keeps returning to spend time with her and Miss Havisham.
One evening, a London lawyer Mr. Jaggers, visits Pip to inform him that Pip he is to be brought up in the world due to a donation by an anonymous benefactor. Pip is assumes it is from Miss Havisham, who wants to prepare him for Estella. As part of the stipend Pip is to move to London to become a gentleman and fulfil his great expectations.