In the first sentence of Great Expectations, we meet a boy named Pip. Since "pip" means "seed," the novel wastes no time in hinting that it is a bildungsroman. This tale traces the rise and fall of a blacksmith's apprentice who wishes to be a gentleman. Along the way we encounter some of Dickens' most famous colorful characters. There's Miss Havisham, a long-ago jilted bride rotting away in bitterness and her wedding dress. And who could forget Magwitch, the gentle criminal, or Wemmick, an outwardly stolid clerk who rigged his London home with a drawbridge and cannon? Though Pip is the main character, ultimately his story is a lesson in honoring the stories that intwine with one's own.