Great Expectations and the Ballad of the Road: Simple Annals of the Poor

Mohammad Moniruzzaman Miah


Charles Dickens (1802-1870), the
quintessential Victorian author has depicted various
recurrent social evils of the 19th century England. In
Great Expectations particularly, he has shown how the
poor orphan young boy Pip, deeply unhappy with his
wretched domestic life, aspires for a better life and
position in the society by any means. Though in a
different way, Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhay (1896-
1950), one of the luminaries of Bengali literature and an
eminent early 20th century writer, has also exhibited the
struggle of the orphan young adolescent Apu picturing
the domestic and social realities of the Bengali rural and
urban society of the 1920s and 1930s in his well-known
back to back novels The Ballad of the Road (Pather
Panchali) and its sequel The Unvanquished (Aparajito).
Both these novelists have simultaneously portrayed the
outward impoverished life of common class people, and
the layered sensitibity and human emotions in them,
especially in the thoroughly growing ordinary child
characters like Pip, Apu and others. They have also
made poverty a character itself, a condition that
represents the stark realities of life of the then English
and Bengali societies respectively. But at the same time,
they seem to be far different from each other in dealing
with poverty and their attitudes to life and reality.
Therefore, this comparative study aims to critically
analyse these novels and explore how differently these
authors have conveyed their ideology of ‘realism’.


domestic reality, social reality, poverty, struggle, misery, aspiration, disillusion

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