The orphan Pip is destined to become a blacksmith like his brother-in-law Joe. But when Pip meets the beautiful Estella Havisham, he yearns for a gentleman's education in order to woo her. A mysterious legacy answers his ambition, and changes the course of his life, taking him far from the Marshes of youth—far, so he thinks, from his early terrifying encounter with an escaped convict, and his sister's class resentments. In this fictional autobiography, Pip's coming-of-age story becomes representative of the changing social landscape of nineteenth-century England. As Pip's education provides upward social mobility, he must also learn hard lessons about self-delusion and forgiveness, love and loss, and the true nature of his Great Expectations.