On a first reading, you are sucked into seeing things from Pip and Emma's point of view, unwitting dupes in the authors' little games.
Will it all end in tears, or will she be able to cut through the tangle of miscommunication to find true happiness? The main difference between the two novels is the point of view adopted by the writer and the effect this has on our attitude towards the main character.
Dickens uses a first-person narrative, where a presumably middle-aged Pip recounts his youthful (mis)adventures, not concealing any of his blunders and holding his many flaws and imperfections to the light.
In contrast, the third-person style utilised by Austen allows the reader to live through the experiences with Emma and, in a sense, grow with her as she matures and realises the folly of her youthful ideas.
In this sense, Emma is perhaps as much of a Bildungsroman as Great Expectations, if not more so.
One of the more prevalent themes covered is the idea of class differences; their importance and their tendency to blind people to true values.
In his desperate desire to pull himself up and prove himself worthy of Estella, Pip begins to consider Joe and Biddy, the companions of his youth, in a rather unfavourable light and is only too eager to run away to London in an attempt to become a gentleman.
Emma, for whom class is everything and who is only too quick to dismiss people based on their background, also blunders in her dealings because of her prejudices and in doing so almost causes severe hurt to her friends - and, at times, herself.
Another similarity is in the way the writers use language to create a plot and suck the reader into believing the same things the hero(ine) does, before casually revealing a quite different truth.
Der Himmel war gelb wie Messing und noch nicht verqualmt vom Rauch der Schornsteine.
Hinter den Dächern der Fabrik leuchtete er sehr stark.
Alas, as the second innings** of my book blogging journey draws to a close, I am once again agonisingly short of a century, caught in the nervous nineties, set to finish on a creditable, but disappointing, 93. Dickens' novel is a wonderful, tightly-plotted Bildungsroman, narrated by its hero, Phillip 'Pip' Pirrip, in which he looks back at his childhood and youth, paying close attention to the events set in train by a chance encounter on the Kentish marshes one cold Christmas Eve.