This lesson should follow the teaching of Great Expectations. You will also need some background information on Charles Dickens which is readily available online. There is a link at
At this link, there is also some information on the autobiographical references mentioned.
The students will compose an essay comparing and contrasting Pip's life with the life of Charles Dickens.
The students will use facts from the story and facts given in notes from the teacher to produce an original essay using the thesis, concrete detail, elaboration, and conclusion format.
1. Give the students some elementary background information on Charles Dickens.
2. Have the students brainstorm ideas on the similarities and differences in Pip's life and Charles Dickens' life. Ex.: How were they both orphaned? How were they both used by women? How was Estella patterned after Ellen Ternan?
3. Using a thesis statement and a bubble cluster, have the students create an essay which will consist of a thesis statement, a paragraph on the similarities of Dickens and Pip, a paragraph on the differences of Dickens and Pip, and a concluding (summary) paragraph.
4. I usually give this to my students as an open book and notebook test. If they have taken the notes that you have given and read the story, the assignment should produce excellent essays. Also, this can give you an excellent prewriting grade and notebook check grade.