Monday, May 28, 2012

Great Expectations

I originally started this blog to lay my brain out and share my knowledge and experience with whomever may be interested. While, it mostly revolves around healthcare related topics, I believe that no person can be all one thing and diversity drives creativity. Accordingly, the topics vary from time to time depending on my mood. Today, I am a little foggy. I have mentioned before that I love to read. For time sake (and considering my long commute to work) I also listen to a great many audio books from Librivox. Today, I finished listening to Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. It left me thoughtful.

For those who are not aware Great Expectation is special because there are two endings. The original version has a solemn ending... but not overly sad. Later in response to popular demand, Dickens rewrote the book to give Pip and the readers a happier end. The later version became the success that most are familiar with. Even knowing this history, I chose to read the first version out of respect for the author’s original intention. In one way it is odd that I would choose that direction because I love a happy ending. Nonetheless, I read the first version with the solemn ending.

Even though I didn’t get my happy ending, I am glad I read the first version. As with his other works, like David Copperfield, A ChristmasCarol,  and A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens masters the art of subtly teaching a great life lesson while exposing but not demeaning poverty. I find it interesting considering the times during which these stories were written were times  where the divide between wealth and poverty was at it greatest – a true ‘best of times and worst of times’.

The more I ‘read’ Dickens works, the more I like him. I don’t mean that I just like his stories or writing style; I do like that, but I am referring to liking the man, Charles Dickens.  I wish I could know him… talk to him. Dickens used his popularity as an author to draw attention to that great wealth divide and show that sometimes those who are considered the most base by society are also the most human.

In closing this post, I wanted to add a special thanks to Librivox and all its volunteers. Your dedication to making such books available is inspiring and truly good. For those who are not familiar with Librivox, you should check it out. Librivox is a free service run by volunteers who record and produce classic works that are out of copyright as MP3s for free download. In other words, it offers a world of education in an audio format for free.  

Lastly, I would be remiss not to mention the excellent Project Gutenberg, which, similarly, offers works that are out of copyright but in a text format for those who prefer traditional reading. Many times, I have enjoyed works from both Librivox and Project Gutenberg and am exceedingly appreciative for the volunteer’s dedication to making such an excellent education available to anyone who wants it. 


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