Chance and Fate: "Great Expectations" and "Villette" Book Review by Nicky

A comparative analysis of the themes of chance and fate in "Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens and "Villette" by Charlotte Bronte.
# 151091 | 1,587 words | 2 sources | MLA | 2012 | US
Published on May 21, 2012 in Literature (English) , English (Comparison)

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This paper examines how both the novels "Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens and "Villette" by Charlotte Bronte tackle the dichotomy between chance and fate and how the protagonists - namely Pip and Lucy - build their lives around these two themes. It looks at how in the case of Dickens' novel, this opposition is manifested through most of the characters and is inextricably linked to the idea of success and what it entails for Pip. In comparison, the paper discusses how Bronte's perspective is rather different. Throughout the novel, coincidence drives much of the plot, such as the serendipitous and unforeseen reunion of Lucy, Dr. John, and Mrs. Bretton in Villette all at the same moment, but Bronte handles the coincidence skillfully, so the reader has little difficulty believing it.

From the Paper:

"Great Expectations is a coming of age novel. This novel is a story of Pip and his initial dreams and resulting disappointments that eventually lead him to becoming a genuinely good man. During his journey into adulthood, Pip comes to realize two diverse concepts of being a gentleman and he comes to find the real gentlemen in his life aren't the people he had thought. Dickens wants us to see the novel as a life's journey, laid out in three chronological episodes of almost precisely equal text length. The first takes us through Pip's childhood and early youth to the moment when he leaves to discover where his newly announced "expectations" will bring him. The second shows the working out of these "expectations" to the moment of their shattering by the arrival of Magwitch. The last leads Pip and Magwitch through struggle and catastrophe and so to death in Magwitch's case and near-death in Pip's. "Expectations" are demolished, and past and future are at last annealed in a sober, responsible present. "

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Bronte, Charlotte. Villette. London: Penguin, 1985.
  • Dickens, Charles. Great Expectations. Penguin Classics, 2002.

Cite this Book Review:

APA Format

Chance and Fate: "Great Expectations" and "Villette" (2012, May 21) Retrieved May 28, 2023, from

MLA Format

"Chance and Fate: "Great Expectations" and "Villette"" 21 May 2012. Web. 28 May. 2023. <>