Great Expectations Meets No Expectations: Charles Dickens Meets Miles Morales
Incoming Juniors will be reading Great Expectations by Charles Dickens this summer. Great Expectations is available in the original 1861 text, abridged versions, and contemporary graphic novel adaptations. Students should choose whichever version of the book is the most accessible to them. Upon returning, students will be watching Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) in their Junior English classes. Through various interactive activities, large and small group discussions, and writing prompts, teachers will help their students discover thematic elements that aim to bridge the gap between older, classic literature and newer, contemporary works.
In Great Expectations, Pip is a young, orphaned boy growing up in Victorian era London. A chance encounter with an escaped convict changes the course of his life forever, as he navigates both social class and social cues throughout his adolescence. Miles Morales is a young, Afro-Latino teen living in Brooklyn in the present day who feels anxious about his new placement at Visions Academy. Though the opportunity to receive such a prestigious education is attractive to Miles, he doesn’t feel like he fits in with the crowd, and a chance encounter with a radioactive spider (along with a few alternate versions of himself from other universes) changes the course of his life forever. With its narrative threads dating back to the 1861 classic novel by Charles Dickens, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse tells a compelling coming-of-age story of great power, great responsibility, and the importance of loyalty in the face of social advancement.