Great Expectations: Part 1
LEVEL 2 (450 unique characters)
Great Expectations is hailed as Charles Dickens’ masterpiece. A gripping tale of love and loss, aspiration and moral redemption, the story follows the young orphan Xiaomao (Pip) from poverty to a life of unexpected opportunity and wealth.
In Part 1, Xiaomao (Pip) is raised by his short-tempered older sister and her husband who run a small repair shop in the outskirts of Shanghai. Xiaomao dreams of leaving his life of poverty behind after becoming playmates with the beautiful Bingbing (Estella), daughter of the eccentric Bai Xiaojie (Ms. Havisham). His prospects for the future are bleak, until one day a mysterious benefactor gives Xiaomao the opportunity of a lifetime.
The story has been adapted from Victorian London of the 1800’s to modern-day Shanghai, China. Both periods feature stark contrasts between the old and the new, the wealthy and the poor.
The following is a list of the characters from this Chinese story followed by their corresponding English names from Charles Dickens’ original story. The names below are not translations; they are new Chinese names used for the Chinese versions of the original characters. Think of them as all-new characters in a Chinese story.
- 吴小毛 (Wú Xiǎomáo) – Pip
- 姐姐 (Jiějiě) – Mrs. Joe Gargery
- 姐夫 (Jiěfu) – Joe Gargery
- 胖子 (Pàngzi) – Dolge Orlick
- 思思(Sīsī) – Biddy
- 白小姐 (Bái Xiǎojiě) – Miss Havisham
- 冰冰 (Bīngbīng) – Estella
- 金子王 (Jīn Zǐwén) – Mr. Jaggers
- 黑 (hēi) v.; adj. black
- 突然 (túrán) adv.; adj. suddenly; sudden
- 抓 (zhuā)v. to grab, to try to catch
- 杀 (shā) v. to kill
- 轻轻地 (qīngqīng de) adv. lightly
- 敢 (gǎn) v. to dare (to)
- 脏 (zàng) adj. dirty
- 破 (pò) adj. worn out, run-down
- 脚 (jiǎo) n. foot
- 犯人 (fànrén) n. a convict
- 害怕 (hàipà) v. to be afraid (of)
- 也许 (yěxǔ) adv. perhaps
- 修理店 (xiūlǐdiàn) n. repair shop
- 按 (àn) v. to decide; to press, to hold (down)
- 千万 (qiān wàn) adv. absolutely (not)
- 工具 (gōngjù) n. tool
If you are an intermediate Chinese student like me, then you know there is a dearth of good material out there for our level. Beginner students get catered to because they represent the largest chunk of the market, and of course, advanced students can read and watch native Chinese content. But we intermediates continually have to search for scraps.
Well, this book (and Mandarin Companion in general) represents an oasis in the desert. In my opinion, this is the best-written Chinese content you can find at the intermediate level, both in terms of education and enjoyment.
Case in point: by the time I reached the latter half of the second volume, I binge-read the final 4 or 5 chapters, staying up until the early hours of the morning to do so. I just HAD to know how it ended, a sensation I had previously only experienced while reading compelling English language novels. Only after I put the book down did I realize I had totally forgotten I was reading Chinese.
Another great book in the mandarin companion series. It’s available on Kindle and the quality is great. The stories are well written and the interpretation into modern Chinese of classic European and American books adds additional interest to an already great set of books. I just wish there were more!
As all of the other Mandarin Companion books, this new Level 2 book is awesome for improving ones reading and vocabulary in Mandarin. My 10 year old daughter has started the Secret Garden and her reading, sentence structure and vocabulary is improving by by leaps and bounds. Thanks to John and the crew at Mandarin Companion for putting these books together. Can’t wait for the next Level 2 book.
This book is waaaaaay better and more interesting than the one my class was actually reading. This is a genuinely interesting low intermediate textbook, highly recommended.
A few months ago, I discovered Mandarin Companion with their series of Level 1 graded Chinese readers. I read through all of those and was eager for Great Expectations as their first Level 2 book.
This book, and the whole series, is great for intermediate students of Chinese to practice their reading skills. The books use the ‘extensive reading’ concept and fully accomplish their aims of providing fun and enjoyable stories, with relatively easy text and vocabulary. Each chapter provides a handful of challenging vocab words and grammar structures within the story that help you learn as you read. These vocabulary and grammar are repeated naturally throughout the text to reinforce your learning.
I really liked this book and I would recommend it to anyone looking to improve in the Chinese Language.