Consider Pip's ruminations on his mysterious playmate and love-interest Estella: "What was it that was borne in upon my mind when she stood still and looked attentively at me? They restore a certain orderliness in the face of tremendous disorder (mirroring in one way the "synthetic" connections of hypertext prose).
The associative links unite Dickens' two major thematic obsessions: orphans and inheritances.
"Links of association"--actually a favorite phrase of Dickens-- play a major role in the narrative of Great Expectations.
The link usually takes the form of a passing resemblance, half-glimpsed and then forgotten.
Throughout his oeuvre, characters perceive some stray likeness in the faces of strangers, something felt but impossible to place. As my eyes followed her white hand, again the same dim suggestion that I could not possibly grasp, crossed me. " These partial epiphanies serve as the driving force behind the suspense of Dickens' novels.
These moments are scattered through the novels like hauntings; this ethereal quality brings them close to the subjective haze of modernism and the stream of consciousness. My involuntary start occasioned her to lay her hand upon my arm. Resolving the half-resemblance, connecting the links, putting a name to the face--these actions invariably give the novel the sense of an ending.In the Dickensian novel, the plight of being orphaned at an early age has the same sine qua non quality that marital infidelity had in the French novel: You simply can't imagine the form surviving without it.The more complicated later novels (Bleak House, Our Mutual Friend, Great Expectations) are teeming with abandoned children, surrogate parents, anonymous benefactors.What better way to tantalize the reader--haplessly trying to connect those long-separated family lines--than by offering up a suggestive but unfulfilled resemblance, a hint of filiation?What makes these links striking--to the 20th-century reader, at least--is that they straddle radically different social groups (the family at the end of Great Expectations include an escaped convict, a servant, and a young woman of means; in Bleak House, an aristocratic baroness, an opium-addict law stenographer, and an orphan girl brought up by a haute bourgeois uncle).This article led directly to Douglas Engelbart’s “Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework,” and it influenced many others besides.For additional evidence of its power over the years, take a look at this set of videos from a conference celebrating the 50th anniversary of its publication.1945, and Vannevar Bush writes a history of our future.No, he wasn’t the first to imagine a world-wide storage and retrieval knowledge engine. Yes, he uses “man” for “humankind” and “a man” when he may mean “a human being” or he may simply mean “a male” as he defaulted to his culture’s blinkered views in that regard.And with this "rightful" restoring of the family unit comes another restoration, this one financial.Like most 19th-century British novelists, Dickens incessantly structured his narratives around troubled inheritances.