decorated initial 'D'arcy of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice recoils from dashed expectations of Elizabeth's esteem and her acceptance of his proposal when he says to her: “This is the estimation in which you hold me! I thank you for explaining it so fully. My faults, according to this calculation, are heavy indeed! But, perhaps, . . . these offences might have been overlooked, had not your pride been hurt by my honest confession of the scruples that had long prevented my forming any serious design “(Chapter 34).

In Great Expectations, Pip repeatedly sees his own expectations crumble. Both novels reveal that human nature's pride and great expectations often cause one's unhappiness and disappointment. Dickens and Austen lead the reader into certain expectations and desires by giving only part of the whole story behind a character or situation. Often the reader of Great Expectations and Pride and Prejudice forms the expectations of the characters, so that when truth bursts into the open, it rains upon the dismayed and mistaken heads of character and reader alike.

Last modified 1988