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One of Charles Dickens' friends, watching the author at work, described him as so: "It was interesting to watch ... the mind and muscles working (or if you please, playing) ... as new thoughts were being dropped upon the paper." Dickens, one of history's most prolific authors, is remembered as a curious picture of playfulness, energy, and stubborn will, a man given to working on three huge books at the same time and dashing off to the English countryside for twelve-mile constitutional walks. In a life that spanned fifty-eight years, Dickens wrote fifteen novels, most of which were over a thousand pages, in addition to countless novellas, stories, articles, sketches and letters. When one thinks of Dickens, as the critic Nelson Harland says, it's necessary to think big: a big life and big, big books, full of "shoals of characters, acres of plots, geysers of language."
Charles Dickens was born in 1812, in Portsmouth England. His father was eager to climb the social ladder, and to make more of his life than his parents had been able, who were illiterate servants. When Dickens' father was hired as a clerk, this shaky ascent up England's relatively hostile social ladder began. Charles' childhood was subsequently rocky--lots of moves and minor financial windfalls, followed by bad wipeouts. By the early 1820s, Charles was living with six siblings and his parents in a four-room house, with bill collectors banging at the door and no money left to send Charles to school. To help his family, Charles was sent to work in a rat-infested shoe polish factory, where he worked twelve-hour days sticking labels on pots of polish. This job seemed to scare something in the young Dickens--perhaps showing him how easily one's hopes and ambitions could be cast aside by circumstance. Things got even worse when, just a week into the factory job, his family was thrown in a debtor's prison.
As a result, Charles was determined to be more successful than his father. He taught himself shorthand as a teenager and became a court reporter, allowing him to resume his education. Soon after, some of his character sketches were accepted into monthly magazines. These were gathered later into a book, which sold well. From there, Dickens launched his lifelong career as a novelist, work that he supplemented with long hours in the theater and publication businesses. Most of his books were published serially, in magazines, during his lifetime. His more popular works include Oliver Twist (1838), A Tale of Two Cities (1859), David Copperfield (1849), Hard Times (1854), and the ever-popular story of Ebeneezer Scrooge, "A Christmas Carol" (1943). Great Expectations (1860), was also published serially but under a stricter length requirement, and is considered a more polished example of his work. It's a comparatively slim Dickens' volume, too, at just under six-hundred pages.
Charles Dickens was happy in his life, although his marriage, which lasted twenty-two years, was mutually unrewarding. By the time he wrote Great Expectations, Dickens was separated from his wife and was involved in a trying affair with a young actress. Perhaps as a consequence, the ending Dickens wrote for Pip and Estella (in which the two characters presumably never reunite) was not a happy one. But an editor convinced Dickens to change his novel's conclusion to the sunnier one which now remains. Many, like the British playwright George Bernard Shaw, were disappointed with this new ending. Shaw said of the book, "Its beginning is unhappy; its middle is unhappy; and the conventional happy ending is an outrage on it."
Charles Dickens does have his share of critics. Some say his characters are flat, his writing is moralizing, his plots arbitrary. A common criticism is that his characters are exaggerated--as the critic Angus Wilson put it, "we see them as if we've had three or four glasses of champagne". But others find the glimmering, colliding worlds of Dickens' novels delightful; there are worse things, certainly, than seeing the world through several glasses of bubbly.
Dickens died in 1870, and was laid under a tombstone that read: "England's Most Popular Author." More than a century later, his books continue to charm and engage young children, and eminent literary critics alike.
Bloom, Harold, ed. Modern Critical Views: Charles Dickens. New York: Chelsea House, 1987.
Dickens, Charles. Great Expectations. Great Britain: The Softback Preview, 1998.
Kappel, Lawrence, ed. Readings on Great Expectations. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 1999.
Nelson, Harland S. Charles Dickens. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1981.
On Christmas Eve, young Pip, an orphan being raised by his sister and her husband, encounters a frightening man in the village churchyard. The man, a convict who has escaped from a prison ship, scares Pip into stealing him some food and a file to grind away his leg shackle. This incident is crucial: firstly, it gives Pip, who must steal the goods from his sister's house, his first taste of true guilt, and, secondly, Pip's kindness warms the convict's heart. The convict, however, waits many years to truly show his gratitude.
At his sister's house, Pip is a boy without expectations. Mrs. Joe beats him around and has nothing good to say about her little brother. Her husband Joe is a kind man, although he is a blacksmith without much ambition, and it's assumed that Pip will follow in his footsteps. Only when Pip gets invited unexpectedly to the house of a rich old woman in the village named Miss Havisham, does Mrs. Joe, or any of her dull acquaintances, hold out any hope for Pip's success.
Indeed, Pip's visits to Miss Havisham change him. Miss Havisham is an old woman who was abandoned on her wedding day and has, as a result, given up on life. She wears a yellowed wedding gown and haunts around her decrepit house, her only companion being Estella, her adopted daughter. Estella is beautiful, and Pip develops a strong crush on her, a crush that turns into love as he grows older. But it is unrequited love, as Miss Havisham has made it her dark life's project to raise Estella as a cruel-hearted girl who will break men's hearts, satisfying Miss Havisham's own desire to spurn love.
Pip frequently visits Miss Havisham, until one day she tells him never to return because the time has come for his apprenticeship with Joe to begin. Having tasted the spoils of a better life, Pip is miserable as a blacksmith and constantly worries that Estella will look through the forge window and see him as horribly common. Estella soon leaves the village, and things progress until one day Mrs. Joe suffers an attack which leaves her mute and incapacitated, although a lot nicer. A young girl about Pip's age, Biddy, comes to live at the house in order to care for Mrs. Joe. Pip again settles into his routine until one night at the village bar a London lawyer, Jaggers, approaches Pip, revealing startling news: Pip has inherited a lot of money from an anonymous benefactor and must leave for London immediately, to become a gentleman.
In London, Pip studies with a tutor and lives with a new and close friend, Herbert. Pip is certain that his benefactor is the rich Miss Havisham. In addition, he becomes convinced that Miss Havisham's financial support, toward his elevated social status, is the result of her desire that he may marry Estella someday. Pip passes many years in London; he remains ashamed of Joe, and they grow apart, Mrs. Joe dies, and though he falls harder and harder for Estella--who seems to get colder and colder by the day--he never confesses his love. Among the people he knows in London are Wemmick, a clerk in Jaggers' office who becomes a friend, and Bentley Drummle, a horrible brute of a boy who begins to make moves on Estella.
One stormy night, Pip learns the true identity of his benefactor. It is not Miss Havisham (who has made many misleading comments indicating it was her), but rather a petty criminal named Magwitch. Magwitch is the convict Pip fed in the churchyard many years ago, and he's left all his money to Pip in gratitude for that kindness, and also because young Pip reminded him of his own child, whom he thinks is dead. The news of his benefactor crushes Pip--he's ashamed of him, and worse yet, Magwitch wants to spend the rest of his days with Pip. Pip takes this on like a dreadful duty, and it's all the worse because Magwitch is a wanted man in England, and will be hung if he's caught.
Eventually, a plan is hatched by Herbert and Pip, whereby Pip and Magwitch will flee the country by rowing down the river and catching a steamer bound for Europe. This must be done on the sly, and further complicating matters is the fact that an old criminal enemy of Magwitch's, Compeyson, is hot in pursuit. Compeyson, it's discovered, is the same man that swindled and abandoned Miss Havisham so many years back. Miss Havisham, meanwhile, is softening a bit, and seems repentant for her life-long mission against love.
Estella has been married to Bentley Drummle, a marriage that anyone can see will be an unhappy one. Just before Pip is to flee with Magwitch, he makes one last visit to Miss Havisham, and finds her filled with regret, wanting his forgiveness. Unfortunately, she gets a little too close to the fire and sets herself ablaze. Pip heroically saves her, but she's badly burned and does eventually die from her injuries.
Pip and Magwitch, along with Herbert and another friend, Startop, make a gallant attempt to help Magwitch escape, but instead he's captured--pointed out, in fact, by his old enemy Compeyson. Compeyson dies in the struggle, and Magwitch, badly injured, goes to jail. Pip by now is devoted to Magwitch and recognizes in him a good and noble man. Magwitch dies, however, not long before he's slated to be executed. Pip has discovered that Magwitch is actually Estella's father, and on Magwitch's deathbed Pip tells Magwitch his discovery, and also that he loves Estella.
Without money or expectations, Pip, after a period of bad illness during which Joe cares for him, goes into business overseas with Herbert. Joe has married Biddy, and after eleven relatively successful years abroad, Pip goes to visit them out in the marshes. They are happy and have a child, whom they've named Pip. Finally, Pip makes one last visit to Miss Havisham's house, where he finds Estella wandering. Her marriage is over, and she seems to have grown kinder, and wants Pip to accept her as a friend. When the novel ends, it seems that there is hope that Pip and Estella will finally end up together.
Pip: Pip is an orphaned boy raised by his domineering sister and her kind husband, and his life and expectations make for the drama of the novel. A mysterious benefactor enables Pip to escape a destiny as the village blacksmith, and he travels to London as a teenager to become a 'gentleman.' Pip's perception of his life and prospects (especially his prospects with Estella) change dramatically when he's twenty-three, when he learns that his benefactor is not a rich old lady, but a common convict. Ultimately, Pip comes to appreciate the convict as a benefactor and a friend.
Miss Havisham: A bitter old woman, whose life effectively stopped when she was abandoned on her wedding day. Half a century after this disappointment, Miss Havisham still wears a yellowing wedding gown, and has made it her life's purpose to raise Estella, whom she's adopted, as a cruel-hearted woman who'll break the hearts of men. Miss Havisham is rich too, and deceives Pip by implying that she's his benefactor. Near the end of the novel she realizes her cruelties are nearly unforgivable, although she dies not long after this realization.
Magwitch (or Provis, Mr. Campbell, the convict, the shackled man): Magwitch and Pip first meet when Pip is a boy and Magwitch an escaped convict. Magwitch does not forget Pip's kindness in the marshes, and later in life devotes himself to earning money that he anonymously donates to Pip. Eventually, Magwitch comes to London to see his 'gentleman,' and after Pip's shock and shame wear off, the two become friends. Ever a convict, however, Magwitch is captured by the police. Just before he is sentenced to hang, he dies.
Estella: Estella is Miss Havisham's adopted daughter and her project in cultivated cruelty. Raised by the old woman to be cruel and hard to men, Estella, a great beauty, entrances Pip. She is mean to Pip for most of his life, although at the novel's end they meet again, and she seems to be a softened, changed woman. Estella is another child of mysterious parentage, and Pip eventually learns that she's Magwitch's daughter.
Herbert (or the pale young gentleman): Pip first meets Herbert as a boy at Miss Havisham's, where they get into an odd sparring match. Later, when Pip travels to London, he is reunited with Herbert, who is his tutor's son. Herbert is Pip's greatest friend and closest confidant, and the only person Pip can confide in when he discovers his benefactor's identity. Herbert and Pip eventually leave London and work together in Cairo.
Joe: Joe is Pip's sister's husband, a kind-hearted blacksmith who Pip greatly admires as a boy. With the onset of his riches, however, Pip becomes ashamed of Joe, and the two don't see each other much for many years. Later, when Pip falls sick, Joe nurses him back to health and pays off all of his debts. Joe is often in Pip's mind as a reminder of the simple and honest life he left behind, when he left the marshes.
Mrs. Joe: Mrs. Joe is Pip's sister, who raises Pip with a heavy hand and is a generally unpleasant woman until a mysterious intruder clobbers her with an iron shackle. After this, Mrs. Joe turns kind, though she is almost completely incapacitated. She dies while Pip is in London.
Jaggers: Jaggers is the conniving lawyer that handles Pip's money affairs. A hard man with little sympathy, he keeps the identity of Pip's benefactor a secret for many years.
Biddy: Biddy is an orphaned girl about Pip's age who is Pip's first real teacher, and then lives in Pip's childhood home as Mrs. Joe's caretaker. Pip sometimes gets romantic notions that he can live a simple married life with Biddy, but it's ultimately Joe that she marries.
Wemmick: Wemmick is a clerk in Jaggers' office, and in that setting he's a fairly tight and unsympathetic man. But when Wemmick leaves the office and returns to his home and his old father, he turns into a completely different person. The 'home Wemmick' becomes a friend of Pip's, who gives him advice and helps with Magwitch's escape.
Compeyson (or the second shackled man): Compeyson is the second, and cruel-hearted convict that young Pip encounters on the marshes. Compeyson is the groom-in-abstencia who swindled Miss Havisham, and he was once Magwitch's criminal boss. Compeyson and Magwitch hate each other, and it's Compeyson that points the police to Magwitch during his escape.
Molly: Molly is Jaggers' housekeeper, a suspected murderess that Jaggers successfully defended and afterwards took on as a domestic helper. Pip discovers that Molly and Magwitch were once in love, and that she is Estella's mother.
Older Pip: The narrator of the novel is Pip, recounting his story as an older man. Older Pip often gives comments to indicate he's learned some lessons as a result of living through the story he's telling.
Uncle Pumblechook: Uncles P is Joe's uncle, and a particularly sycophantic man. Pumblechook is mean to Pip when he's poor and without expectations, and then fawns over him when he becomes rich, even encouraging a rumor that he is Pip's benefactor.
Mr. Wopsle: Mr. Wopsle is a friend of Pip's family. Tremendously fond of his own voice, Wopsle comes to London when Pip is living there, and stars in some dreadful theater productions.
The Hubbles: They are a silly husband and wife who come to Christmas dinner at Mrs. Joe's early in the novel.
Trabb's boy: The village tailor's son, he taunts Pip.
Orlick: A gruff and unpleasant character, Orlick works for a time as Joe's journeyman. He has a crush on Biddy.
Matthew Pocket: Pocket is Pip's frazzled, but kind-hearted tutor. Mr. Pocket is Herbert's father and Miss Havisham's cousin.
Mrs. Pocket: She is married to Mr. Pocket, and a spacey woman obsessed with the slight possibility that she might be related to royalty.
Startop: He is a friend Pip makes in London. Startop is also one of Mr. Pocket's tutorees, and he eventually helps Pip and Magwitch in their escape.
Bentley Drummle: Bentley is a brutish boy, who Pip despises. Drummle pursues Pip's love, Estella.
Sarah Pocket: Sarah is one of Miss Havisham's groveling relatives.
The Aged Parent: Wemmick's kind, and very deaf, old father.
Pepper (or the Avenger): Pepper is a boy Pip employs as an odd-jobs sort of domestic helper at Barnard's Inn.
Clara: Clara is Herbert's fiancé and later, his wife.
Trabb: Trabb is the village tailor. Trabb also organizes Mrs. Joe's overdone funeral.
Miss Skiffens: She is Wemmick's friend, and later, wife.
Clarriker: Clarriker is the merchant who Pip pays to take Herbert on as a business partner. Pip later works with Clarriker, as well.
marshes: Pip grows up on the marshes and returns there many times when he's older. The rough marshes stand in contrast to the civilized city of London. One of the convicts describes the marshes as: 'A most beastly place: mudbank, mist, swamp, and work' (267).
The Three Jolly Bargemen: The Bargemen is a bar in Pip's village that serves as a meeting place--important news and characters are often discovered here.
Mr. Wopsle's Great Aunt's school: Not much learning takes place here, for the Great Aunt sleeps instead of teaching and all the books are about a century out-of-date. Pip attends the school for years, and only learns what Biddy, the real teacher there, teaches him.
Manor House (or Satis): Once a great mansion with a thriving brewery attached (hence the name 'Satis', a reference to the word 'satisfied'), everything at this house stopped and then began to slide into decay when Miss Havisham was abandoned here on her wedding day. The place is in ruins, full of cobwebs and darkness, by the time Pip makes his first visit to Miss Havisham.
Twenty before nine: Miss Havisham realized she had been stood up at twenty 'til nine on her wedding day. She stopped all the clocks in her house at that precise moment.
The Temple: The second, and more respectable of lodgings into which Pip and Herbert move, in London.
Barnard's Inn: Pip moves into Herbert's place at Barnard's Inn in London, and they live there for several years. Barnard's is quite decrepit and disrespectable, although Pip uses some of his benefactor's money to fancy-up his and Herbert's rooms.
Hammersmith: The suburb where Pip's tutor, Matthew Pocket, and his family, live.
Richmond: The suburb where Estella lives when she moves to London.
Walworth (or Wemmick's Castle): Wemmick has built a very impressive homestead, sort of a miniature castle, in the suburbs. He lives here with his father, the Aged P, and has invented all sorts of novelties and rituals around the house for the Aged P's amusement.
Finches of the Grove: A snobby sort of boy's club that Pip and Herbert join in London. Bentley Drummle is also a Finch, and he and Pip get in an argument over Estella at one of the Finch dinners.
Chink's Basin: A location on the river where Magwitch is to lie in wait until Pip comes to fetch him for their escape. Herbert's fiancé and her father also live in the house at Chink's Basin.
The Blue Boar: An inn in Pip's village where he often stays on his visits home.
London: On the news of his inheritance, Pip travels to London, where his gentlemanly education is to begin. London is most often portrayed as full of suspicious, cutthroat characters, men like Jaggers and his clients. The innocent life of the marshes stands in contrast to life in this city.
wittles: Or 'vittles,' another word for 'food'.
Quote 1: "I was always treated as if I had insisted on being born in opposition to the dictates of reason, religion, and morality, and against the arguments of my best friends." Chapter 4, pg. 25
Quote 2: "We were equals afterwards, as we had been before; but, afterwards at quiet times when I sat looking at Joe and thinking about him, I had a new sensation of feeling conscious that I was looking up to Joe in my heart." Chapter 7, pg. 56
Quote 3: "In the little world in which children have their existence, whosoever brings them up, there is nothing so finely perceived and so finely felt, as injustice." Chapter 8, pg. 70
Quote 4: "If you can't get to be oncommon through going straight, you'll never get to do it through going crooked." Chapter 9, p. 81
Quote 5: "... think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day." Chapter 9, pg. 82
Quote 6: "There have been occasions in my later life (I suppose as in most lives) when I have felt for a time as if a thick curtain had fallen on all its interest and romance, to shut me out from anything save dull endurance any more. Never has that curtain dropped so heavy and blank, as when my way in life lay stretched out straight before me through the newly-entered road of apprenticeship to Joe." Chapter 14, pg. 124
Quote 7: "... what would it signify to me, being coarse and common, if nobody had told me so!" Chapter 17, pg. 149
Quote 8: "... it [felt] very sorrowful and strange that this first night of my bright fortunes should be the loneliest I had ever known." Chapter 18, pg. 169
Quote 9: "Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts. I was better after I had cried, than before--more sorry, more aware of my own ingratitude, more gentle." Chapter 19, pg. 185
Quote 10: "... no man who was not a true gentleman at heart, ever was, since the world began, a true gentleman in manner... no varnish can hide the grain of the wood; and that the more varnish you put on, the more the grain will express itself." Chapter 22, pg. 209
Quote 11: "... one [man's] a blacksmith, and one's a whitesmith, and one's a goldsmith, and one's a coppersmith. Divisions among such must come, and must be met as they come." Chapter 27, pg. 260
Quote 12: "... how strange it was that I should be encompassed by all this taint of prison and crime; that in my childhood out on our lonely marshes on a winter evening I should have first encountered it; that it should have reappeared on two occasions, starting out like a stain that was faded but not gone; that it should in this new way pervade my fortune and advancement." Chapter 32, pg. 306
Quote 13: "'So,' said Estella, 'I must be taken as I have been made. The success is not mine, the failure is not mine, but the two together make me." Chapter 38, pg. 356
Quote 14: "I would not have gone back to Joe now, I would not have gone back to Biddy now, for any consideration: simply, I suppose, because my sense of my own worthless conduct to them was greater than every consideration. No wisdom on earth could have given me the comfort that I should have derived from their simplicity and fidelity; but I could never, never, never, undo what I had done." Chapter 39, pg. 376
Quote 15: " The imaginary student pursued by the misshapen creature he had impiously made, was not more wretched than I, pursued by the creature who had made me, and recoiling from him with a stronger repulsion, the more he admired me and the fonder he was of me." Chapter 40, pg. 392
Quote 16: "It would have been cruel in Miss Havisham, horribly cruel, to practice on the susceptibility of a poor boy, and to torture me through all these years with a vain hope and an idle pursuit, if she had reflected on the gravity of what she did. But I think she did not." Chapter 44, pg. 421
Quote 17: "I knew not how to answer, or how to comfort her. That she had done a grievous thing in taking an impressionable child to mould into the form that her wild resentment, spurned affection, and wounded pride, found vengeance in, I knew full well. But that, in shutting out the light of day, she had shut out infinitely more; that, in seclusion, she had secluded herself from a thousand natural and healing influences; that, her mind, brooding solitary, had grown diseased, as all minds do and must and will that reverse the appointed order of their Maker; I knew equally well." Chapter 49, pg. 465
Quote 18: "For now my repugnance to him had all melted away, and in the hunted, wounded, shackled creature who held my hand in his, I only saw a man who had meant to be my benefactor, and who had felt affectionately, gratefully, and generously, towards me with great constancy through a series of years. I only saw in him a much better man than I had been to Joe." Chapter 54, pg. 521
Quote 19: "I took her hand in mine, and we went out of the ruined place; and, as the morning mists had risen long ago when I first left the forge, so, the evening mists were rising now, and in all the broad expanse of tranquil light they showed to me, I saw no shadow of another parting from her." Chapter 59, pg. 566
Class 1: Pip greatly admires Joe when he's a boy--blacksmith or a prince, Joe's class status makes no difference. It is not until later, when he learns that the world cares about class, that Joe's status matters to Pip.
Class 2: Estella's insults--that Pip is "common" and has coarse hands, hit young Pip particularly hard. He has had no occasion to think about his class status before this, and now that he does, he's disturbed to think he might be "common."
Class 3: Joe's words "that you can't rise out of commonness by being crooked," show that he sees a person's class as a product of their morals and behavior, not of how much money they possess.
Class 4: Biddy tells Pip that Estella is probably not worth loving if Pip has to impress her as a gentleman first; she doesn't buy the notion that love can happen only after one is determined to be of an comparable class. At this stage in his life, however, Pip is not to be swayed from his belief that he'll only get the finer things in life by becoming a gentleman.
Class 5: With the news of his inheritance, Pip gets even more snobby and condescending toward Joe. Pip seems to think that he's made a tremendous leap in class status just by getting richer, and that money has made him a better man than Joe.
Class 6: Although Jaggers associates with "high-class" characters like Miss Havisham, his clients are all from the lower classes. This is a hint that Pip's benefactor, as a client of Jaggers', might not be a gentleman or gentlewoman.
Class 7: Mrs. Pocket is another character with affected notions of class. Instead of responding to the very real need of her six children for a good and attentive mother, she spends her days with her head in the clouds, contemplating dubious connections she might have to Royalty.
Class 8: When Joe visits Pip at Barnard's Inn, he realizes he and Pip are growing apart. He has a much more tolerant attitude about these differences, expressed in his quote referring "blacksmiths, whitesmiths and coppersmiths" on page 260, than Pip.
Class 9: When Pip returns for Mrs. Joe's funeral, he assures Biddy he'll be traveling to the marshes much more frequently, to keep up with Joe. Biddy doubts this; she seems to realize that Pip has distanced himself too much in his own mind from Joe's "type" of person to ever return.
Class 10: Everything changes for Pip when he learns the class status of his benefactor. Suddenly, he is not of gentlewoman's stock, but of prison stock.
Class 11: Magwitch is a victim of rigid class structures, a kind-hearted man who was never able to rise out of the status into which he was born. Compeyson, on the other hand, was born into a better class and consequently, even though he's a crueler man, gets better treatment.
Class 12: Pip believes he can return to the marshes after Magwitch's death and resume life there as if he had never left for London. The fact is, however, that he is a changed man and to go back and live a satisfied life in his old village, would probably be impossible.
Class 13: Ultimately, Pip gets along in the world through his own hard work. His original expectations of being lifted out of his class by means of money, are replaced eventually with a more humble ethic of honest work.
Expectations 1: When Pumblechook and Mrs. Joe hear that Miss Havisham wants Pip to visit, their excitement betrays their belief that Pip will only rise in status, with the catalyst of someone else's money/status.
Expectations 2: Just one day at Miss Havisham's, (especially one day of listening to Estella make fun of him for being common), has completely changed Pip's expectations for his own life.
Expectations 3: When Pip is dismissed by Miss Havisham and slated to begin his blacksmithing apprenticeship, he has very low expectations about achieving happiness as a blacksmith.
Expectations 4: When Pip receives news of his inheritance, he immediately notices a corresponding estrangement developing between himself and those people he most loves. Greater expectations, Pip realizes, mean he may no longer be content with the good things he already has.
Expectations 5: Pip's first glimpses of London--the grimy streets around Jaggers' office and the dismal Barnard's Inn--disappoint him. It's his first indication that his expectations may not be as grand as the realities he'll find.
Expectations 6: Estella seems little more than a puppet after being molded by Miss Havisham's crooked will for so long. She is an example that a person controlled by someone else's expectations isn't really much of a person at all.
Expectations 7: Pip thinks his "expectations" (his money, at least) have finally done him some good, when he's able to arrange a business opportunity for Herbert.
Expectations 8: When Pip finds out the truth of his benefactor--that he's a convict not a rich old lady--his expectations suddenly seem dashed. Therefore it's not just money but also the source of money, in which his expectations rely.
Expectations 9: Without a benefactor's money, Pip has to face the fact that he's not skilled for any profession, he has no real expectations in the world of business.
Expectations 10: After Pip gets over his initial repugnance about Magwitch, he feels great affection for him, as a person and a benefactor. Pip has learned that the good of a person is in their deeds, not their class status.
Expectations 11: His hopes for great gentlemanly renown now dashed, Pip expects to return to the village of his youth and be happy living the simple life there. This expectation is really just as romantic and idealized as his beliefs about becoming rich and gentlemanly.
Expectations 12: When Pip realizes he can't go back to life on the marshes, he is finally forced to develop some simple and realistic expectations. He works hard, and finds simple satisfaction and happiness in his life.
Identity 1: Pip, as an orphan, does not have strong family ties to give him a sense of his own identity.
Identity 2: Pip's extreme guilt about stealing food from Mrs. Joe and lying to Joe show that he sees his identity as rooted in his behavior. If he does bad things, he can't feel like a good and worthy person.
Identity 3: When the convict returns to the marshes, revealing his identity to Pip by swirling a file in his drink, readers get the first hint that in this novel people are not always who they seem; if a character disappears mysteriously, he or she may well return, disguised, later.
Identity 4: The mystery in the novel continues when Pip's benefactor does not reveal his or her identity.
Identity 5: Shallow people, like Pumblechook, accept that a mere change in financial status is enough to make Pip a new person, worthy of a different sort of attention.
Identity 6: Wemmick's identity changes tremendously, based on his surroundings. In Jaggers' office, he is in "professional" mode, and wears an expressionless, "post office" look. At home, with the Aged P, he is warm and kind.
Identity 7: The occasional glimmers of recognition that Pip feels in Estella suggest that she may have a past linked to some other character.
Identity 8: Mr. Pocket, who is such a scattered wreck in his own home, is admired for his eloquent lectures on the management of children and servants. This suggests that one's true identity may not be reflected in what he or she can discuss.
Identity 9: Magwitch is a man with many identities, if his aliases are any indication. He's Provis, Magwitch, Pip's uncle, and Mr. Campbell.
Identity 10: Miss Havisham's identity, frozen for so many years in the form of the spurned bride, is finally changed when she realizes the horrible things she's done to other human beings. The fiery fate of her wedding garb might be seen as a symbolic destruction of that identity.
Identity 11: No longer able to see himself as a country blacksmith or a moneyed city boy, Pip leaves the country and forges his own identity through his own hard work.
Love 1: The home Pip grows up in, under the domineering hand of Mrs. Joe, isn't exactly bursting with love. Only Joe seems to translate his love for Pip into kind behavior.
Love 2: Miss Havisham and her ruined old bridal chambers suggest that Manor House is a place where love has a bad name and little chance of thriving.
Love 3: Miss Havisham's words of encouragement to Estella--"Break their hearts, my pride and hope, break their hearts and have no mercy!" (109)--suggest that she's using Estella as a conduit for revenge on men.
Love 4: Pip and Biddy are very honest with each other, and it seems obvious that they should fall in love. But Pip has grown helplessly devoted to Estella, and he realizes his expectations are too great--as with blacksmithing, he knows loving Biddy might very well make him feel like he's settling for less than what he really wants.
Love 5: Herbert's story of Miss Havisham, how she was swindled for her money and abandoned on her wedding day, explains why she is so resolutely bitter about love.
Love 6: The love Wemmick shows for his father, the Aged P, suggests that love may be a more viable emotion at home than in the world of business and money.
Love 7: When Pip is separated from Estella, he realizes that he loves her beyond reason. His love is illogical, as well, because Estella has never given Pip one reason to believe she shares his feelings.
Love 8: When Pip and Estella return to Miss Havisham's together, the old woman's behavior makes it clear that she takes a perverse delight in having made an irresistible, yet loveless girl out of Estella.
Love 9: Estella begins to realize what Miss Havisham's done. In teaching her to be proud and harsh to others, the old woman has made Estella largely incapable of love.
Love 10: Pip isn't able to confess his love to Estella until he realizes that they are not destined to be together in some master plan of Miss Havisham's. He's given up hope that she could return his love, and can now only regret he didn't say something sooner.
Love 11: Miss Havisham finally realizes she's done wrong, that there can be no revenge against love. She's wasted her life being miserable, and probably ruined Estella's life by making her incapable of having a loving relationship. At last, Miss Havisham seems to regret her actions.
Love 12: Pip comes to love Magwitch for his sweetness and his generosity. He's miserable at the thought of Magwitch's death, and on his benefactor's deathbed, does Magwitch the kindness of reassuring him that his daughter is alive and loved by Pip himself.
Love 13: Biddy is right in the end--Pip can't love her. She and Joe, however, do find love, and their happiness, for Pip, is very consoling.
The novel opens in the marsh country of England, land raw and wet, where young Pip stands alone in a churchyard before seven gravestones, under which are buried Pip's mother, father and five younger brothers. The sight of these stones starts Pip crying, and then, to make matters worse, out from between the graves hobbles a growling, mean and ragged looking man. He's got an iron shackle on one leg, but two good arms, which he uses to turn Pip upside-down, shaking loose a crust of bread from his pocket. The man sets Pip on a gravestone and wolfs down the bread, demanding to know where Pip is from and with whom he lives. Pip points to his village and explains that he lives with his sister, Mrs. Joe Gargery, and Joe Gargery, a blacksmith. After one more tip upside down, the shackled man demands that Pip meet him at the Battery tomorrow morning, with a file and some "whittles" (food). He warns Pip that he's not alone, that he has a henchman, a vicious young boy that's hiding among the stones, listening, who will be eager to tear Pip to pieces if he doesn't procure the whittles and file. That said, the old man hobbles off and Pip watches him head toward the river, a figure spooky enough to turn even the cow's heads.
Topic Tracking: Identity 1
Pip has been raised "by hand," that is, he's kept in line by a hand that never hesitates to whack him when he gets out of line. His sister Mrs. Joe, is the primary hand-swinger. Twenty years his senior, not good-looking, and incredibly red-faced, Mrs. Joe keeps the house lively with her constant stomping and cleaning, made all the more frightening because she seems to resent having to raise Pip, being married to a blacksmith, and wearing an apron all day. Her husband Joe, on the other hand, the mild-mannered blacksmith, has a kindly, if not slightly stunned manner. Pip, having returned late from the churchyard, is warned by Joe that Mrs. Joe is currently off looking for him. Joe informs him that she's on a rampage and has got the "Tickler," a stick she uses to hit Pip when her hand doesn't seem punishment enough to fit the crime. Luckily, Joe shelters Pip from his sister, and after a little hemming and hawing, she puts the Tickler away and prepares supper--bread slathered with butter. Remembering the shackled man, Pip risks a good beating by shoving his supper down his pants leg when Mr. and Mrs. Joe aren't looking. Joe, who thinks Pip has swallowed his dinner in one mighty gulp, shakes his head in amazement and tells Pip that "bolting" his food is liable to get him sick. Mrs. Joe, who can't stand to be left in the dark, gets even angrier because Pip and Joe are having a conversation and leaving her out.
After a dose of tar-water, a nasty preventative medicine, Pip is ordered to do some chores in preparation for tomorrow, which is Christmas day. Just before he heads off to bed, Pip hears the blast of the town's warning guns, and Joe explains that a convict escaped one of the prison ships last night. This news arouses Pip's curiosity, and he almost gets another beating by Mrs. Joe for asking a few questions. She sends him off to bed, where he passes a fitful night of guilt and terror; guilt that he's going to have to rob Joe and Mrs. Joe to get food for the shackled man, and terror that if he doesn't do this, he'll suffer the revenge of being beaten by the prisoner's boy. Terror wins, however, and early the next morning Pip steals a small amount of whittles from the pantry and a file from Joe's shop, and heads off into the misty marshes.
As Pip runs through the marshes with his stolen whittles and file, with the force of his guilt, he feels as if the scenery and cows are running toward him, pursuing the lowly thief that he's become. Finally, Pip sees a figure asleep by the river. But when he touches the man's shoulder, he suddenly realizes that he's got the wrong man. This second shackled man has the same haggard and creepy look as the one Pip met yesterday, and Pip immediately assumes that it's the young man about whom he's been warned. After taking a swing at Pip, this man disappears into the mist, and Pip runs on to the Battery, where he finds the shackled man looking about ready to drop dead from cold and hunger. The man tears into the food like a dog, and his state of hunger makes Pip momentarily forget his fear and feel a bit of pity.
As most of the food is making its way down the shackled man's throat, Pip ventures to ask whether the man intends to save any for his henchman, the young man. This makes the shackled man laugh a bit, but when Pip explains that he's actually seen another man out in the marshes, the shackled man gets suddenly attentive. He seems to recognize Pip's description, and he demands that Pip lead him to this other man so that he can tear him apart. Pip points in the right direction, and the man begins viciously filing his iron shackle, trying to break free. He's muttering impatiently the whole time, and Pip slips off toward home.
Pip returns home from the marshes, happy that the police are not waiting to arrest him for robbing his sister's pantry. It's Christmas morning, and Mrs. Joe stays home to prepare the house for guests while Joe and Pip head off to church. Joe looks like a scarecrow in his holiday clothes, and Pip, who gets the worst of everything because Mrs. Joe refuses to indulge him, doesn't look any better. They make it through church, although Pip is still plagued with guilt due to his robbing the pantry. After,they return home for dinner. The guests include Mr. Wopsle, a bald man who is extremely fond of his own deep voice; Uncle Pumblechook, a middle-aged dullard who is Joe's uncle; old Mr. Hubble and his much younger wife, Mrs. Hubble.
Mrs. Joe puts on a show of good temperament for her guests, and Pip is miserable the whole time, annoyed that he gets prodded with condescending questions and advice. He can barely contain himself when Mr. Wopsle launches into a silly sermon on why Pip should be glad he wasn't born a pig, a bunch of nonsense seemingly designed to make Pip feel guilty about being such a burden on his sister. Mrs. Joe joins in, and as Pip says,
"I was always treated as if I had insisted on being born in opposition to the dictates of reason, religion, and morality, and against the arguments of my best friends." Chapter 4, pg. 25
Only Mr. Joe seems to feel sympathy for Pip, though he's too meek to articulate it and can only offer Pip extra gravy on his supper as consolation.
Topic Tracking: Love 1
Uncle Pumblechook is ready for his after-dinner constitutional, a bit of brandy. Pip nearly falls out of his seat in fear, for he's stolen much of the brandy for the shackled man and replaced what was missing with water, a fact he's sure Pumblechook will notice. Unfortunately, it's worse than Pip imagined, for he's mistakenly filled the brandy bottle with tar water instead of drinking water. Of course Uncle Pumblechook tastes the difference, but despite his spitting and wheezing, Mrs. Joe lets it pass for now. When it's announced that there'll be pork pie for desert, an item that Pip has also stolen for the shackled man, the fear is too much for him, and he makes a break for the door, where, right on cue, a party of soldiers with muskets is standing. One holds out a set of handcuffs, and it looks like Pip is about to be arrested.
The handcuffs aren't, as he'd feared, for Pip. The sergeant has come instead for a blacksmith who can promptly mend the broken cuffs so that they can be put to use this afternoon in the hunt for two escaped convicts. Having to wait a few hours while Joe does the work, the soldiers are invited in by Mrs. Joe, and a little party gets going in the Gargery kitchen.
Joe finishes mending the cuffs, and he, Mr. Wopsle, and Pip accompany the soldiers out into the marshes. There soon comes a great hollering--what sounds like two voices--and the search party sets off in pursuit. It is indeed the two convicts, and these convicts are the two spooky men that Pip encountered on the marshes earlier that day. The first shackled man, which Pip thinks to himself as "my convict," seems almost happy that the police have arrived. For some reason, it's very important to him that the other man be returned to the prison ship, and the shackled man's conversation indicates that the two may have been on trial together at some point in the past.
The two men are handcuffed, and everyone makes their way by torchlight out of the marshes. Pip is terrified that his convict will recognize him, which he does, but the convict says nothing. In fact, as they all stand in a wooden hut, where some sort of police report is filed, the convict makes the surprising confession that he has stolen food from the blacksmith's house, generously clearing Pip of any trouble he might have gotten in had it been presumed Pip stole the missing food.
Joe, Pip and Mr. Wopsle return home and Joe explains the convict's confession to Mrs. Joe. This sets all the guests to wondering how the convict broke into the pantry, and Mr. Pumblechook's wild explanation of the break in, which sounds like it was lifted from a book, is finally accepted to be the best.
Pip is sent off to bed, where the company of his thoughts gives him no more rest than the unpleasant Christmas guests had. Even though the convict's confession exonerated him, he's filled with guilt, a guilt centered on the regret that he's lied to Joe. Pip shows himself to be quite devoted to Joe as his mind shifts between two unpleasant options: to live with the guilt of having lied to Joe, or to tell the truth and risk losing Joe's respect. The thought of Joe knowing he's lied is too much, and Pip can't confess. But the guilt, Pip tells us, lasts long after everyone has lost interest in the convicts and the missing food.
Topic Tracking: Identity 2
Pip tells a little about his education to date, which has taken place in an evening school run by Mr. Wopsle's great-aunt. The great aunt seems to spend more time sleeping than teaching, and Pip says that her granddaughter, an orphan like Pip, named Biddy, has been much more helpful as he's struggled to learn his letters and numbers.
One day Pip brings home a little note he's written in school, and as Joe struggles to read it, Pip realizes he's basically illiterate. The only letters he seems to pick out are J and O, those from his own name. The two talk about reading and Joe gives Pip an outline of his childhood, during which young Joe and his mother spent most of their energy dealing with his drunken father. That left little time for education, Joe says. Then, Joe met Mrs. Joe, who was too bossy to want an educated man around. Joe shows himself, however, to have a sweet spot or at least solid respect for Mrs. Joe, who he says, despite her brusque manner, "is a fine figure of a woman." When the conversation turns to Pip as a baby, and Joe's instant acceptance of him, Pip gets so emotional he starts to cry. The conversation means a lot to Pip, who realizes:
"We were equals afterwards, as we had been before; but, afterwards at quiet times when I sat looking at Joe and thinking about him, I had a new sensation of feeling conscious that I was looking up to Joe in my heart." Chapter 7, pg. 56
Topic Tracking: Class 1
Mrs. Joe, who's been off shopping with Uncle Pumblechook, returns home with news that she says ought to make Pip grateful. When she tells her news--that Pip has been recruited by Miss Havisham, "an immensely rich and grim lady who lived in a large and dismal house barricaded against robbers, and who led a life of seclusion" (57), to come up to her house and play--"grateful" is not the best word for Pip's response. He wonders why the creepy old woman would want a little boy to play in her house, and what on earth he's supposed to do there. Pumblechook and Mrs. Joe obviously hope that if they indulge the old woman, she'll heap some money on Pip. Before Pip can give it much thought, he's being scrubbed clean and thrown into the back of Mr. Pumblechook's cart; he'll spend the night with Pumblechook so that he can head off early tomorrow to Miss Havisham's.
Topic Tracking: Expectations 1
Pip spends the morning with Mr. Pumblechook at his drowsy seed-shop on the equally unexciting commercial street of town. Pip is glad to head off for Miss Havisham's, after a morning spent being drilled in arithmetic by Mr. Pumblechook.
Pip arrives at Miss Havisham's estate, a run-down mansion with a brewery next door. The place is called Manor House, or Satis. Satis, says Estella, the young woman who's been sent to escort Pip, means "satisfied" in some old language, though it's not the best choice of words to describe the place or its inhabitants.
Estella is particularly mean to Pip, calling him "boy" and mocking his thick boots and coarse hands. As if she weren't bad enough, there's Miss Havisham, who cuts a particularly creepy figure as she sits at a dressing table in an old, yellowed wedding gown. The room seems to be frozen in time, and Miss Havisham, dressed as a bride, looks more like a corpse. When Pip can't spontaneously start playing at her command, she has him call in Estella, so the two can play cards and the girl can heap more verbal abuse on Pip. When the game finishes, Miss Havisham demands Estella make Pip lunch and that Pip return after six days to "play" again.
While he waits for his lunch in the brewery yard, Pip broods over Estella's criticisms. He's sensitive, and close to tears:
"In the little world in which children have their existence, whosoever brings them up, there is nothing so finely perceived and so finely felt, as injustice." Chapter 8, pg. 70
As Pip wanders the grounds, he keeps seeing Estella; it's as if she's everywhere at the same time. And then, as he's exploring the brewery, Pip sees what looks like Miss Havisham, hanging in her wedding dress from a ceiling rafter. When he looks again, however, she's gone, and then after one final insult, Estella lets him out through the gate. Pip starts his long walk home, still brooding on the new news that he's a "common labouring-boy," and that he is "in a low-lived bad way" (73).
Topic Tracking: Class 2
By their respective methods of pounding fists and ceaseless arithmetic questions, Mrs. Joe and Mr. Pumblechook torment Pip into talking about his day at Miss Havisham's, which he's decidedly reluctant to discuss. Instead of telling of the yellowed wedding dress or the cobwebby dressing room, however, Pip tells a series of extravagant lies about his day. They all ate wine and cake, they played with great dogs and flags, and there was a huge coach in the middle of Miss Havisham's room. Pumblechook and Mrs. Joe believe all this, and Pip doesn't much care until Joe enters into the conversation and is likewise dazzled by the details.
Pip spends the evening with Joe in his forge, and just as they're about to leave, Pip confesses that his details about Miss Havisham's were lies. Joe is taken aback, and when Pip tries to explain the truth, and how he was accused of being "common," Joe is unflinching in his certainty that a lie is a lie and there's no good reason to tell one. He tells Pip that furthermore, he'll never be more than common if he's a liar:
"If you can't get to be oncommon through going straight, you'll never get to do it through going crooked." Chapter 9, p. 81
Topic Tracking: Class 3
Joe tells Pip he's not angry with him, he just doesn't want Pip to lie again. Pip heads off to bed, thinking about his day at Miss Havisham's, still troubled by this new insight which frames his and Joe's life as suddenly so common. The narrator, who is clearly Pip at an older age, sees this day as a very significant one for himself--a day that changed the course of his life. He urges the reader to,
"... think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day." Chapter 9, pg. 82
Topic Tracking: Expectations 2
The fear of growing up common so haunts Pip that he decides he needs to get serious about his education. This is no short order in Mr. Wopsle's great aunt's school, where the students spend most of the evening putting straws down each other's backs and messing around until the great aunt wakes from her coma-like sleep, then only to read a verse or two from a destroyed old Bible, full of words they neither understand, nor care to understand. Nevertheless, Pip asks Biddy for any extra attention she can give.
One Saturday night, Pip is sent by his sister to fetch Joe from The Three Jolly Bargemen, a bar in town. Pip finds Joe sitting with a strange and secret-looking man, who seems to be trying to catch Pip's attention. First, he rubs his leg in an odd manner, and then later, he stirs his drink with an object that Pip is shocked to see again: Joe's file, which Pip had stolen for the escaped convict. Pip is disturbed to think that somehow, this man knows his convict. The man also insists upon giving Pip a shilling when they leave the bar, and when Pip gets home and pulls it out of his pocket at Mrs. Joe's command, they're all shocked to see that wrapped around the shilling are two bills. Joe runs back to the bar, and has no luck finding the man to return his money, which everyone thinks has been mistakenly handed over to Pip. Mrs. Joe hides the money in a teapot, and Pip goes off to bed, where he's haunted by nightmares about the file.
Topic Tracking: Identity 3
Pip makes his second visit to Miss Havisham's to find it's the old woman's birthday, and that a small gaggle of what seem to be her relatives have shown up for the occasion. Pip quickly dismisses the other guests--Camilla, Cousin Raymond, Sarah Pocket, and the grave lady--as a bunch of toadies and humbugs, and Miss Havisham doesn't seem to think much of them either. One gets the feeling that they're lurking around in the hopes that the old rich lady will remember their dutiful appearance when it comes time to write up her will.
Estella continues to taunt Pip as she walks him up to Miss Havisham's room, and on the steps they run into a burly dark man who grabs Pip by the arm and warns him to behave himself.
When Pip tells Miss Havisham he's not up for playing, she says that maybe he should work, and she directs him across the hall to another creepy room, in which is set a big table and a decaying wedding cake, and everything's crawling with bugs. Miss Havisham is cranky today, and demands that Pip walk her around and around the table. As the two walk, the other guests enter and Miss Havisham is snappy and curt with them. After they leave, Miss Havisham claims that when she is dead, she wants to be laid out on the bride's table, in her bride's dress, and that this will be "the finished curse upon him" (102).
Topic Tracking: Love 2
Pip is sent off into the yard for his lunch again, and while exploring comes upon a pale young gentleman. The boy, an odd and sickly-looking redhead, urges Pip to come on and fight. The two have an strangely choreographed fistfight, during which Pip repeatedly surprises himself by knocking the boy to the ground, and the boy repeatedly surprises Pip by getting up, toweling himself off, and coming back for more abuse. The boy finally concedes victory to Pip, and the two part. Pip has one final surprise to face--Estella appears, looking oddly happy, and demands that Pip kiss her. Pip does, though like his victory against the pale-faced boy, it's not very satisfying. Pip then heads off toward home.
Pip sums up a period of eight or ten months in this chapter, months that begin with Pip's worry over the pale young gentleman, who is nowhere in sight, and what punishment Pip might suffer for beating up this young gentleman. His summary ends with Miss Havisham telling Pip that she thinks his apprenticeship to Joe should begin, and that Joe should make a trip to Manor House to meet Miss Havisham. For some reason, news of this request throws Mrs. Joe into a rampage. Pip now spends every other day at Miss Havisham's, and much of their time together is spent with Pip wheeling the old woman around in a chair with wheels, making endless circuits around the dressing room and the room with the bridal table.
As with his guilt over stealing food for the convict, Pip's guilt about beating up the pale young gentleman torments him--he's again afraid to tell Joe, in fact, it is only Biddy in whom he can confide. Estella is still around, and Pip wonders what odd hope Miss Havisham has in the girl, to whom she often whispers: "Break their hearts, my pride and hope, break their hearts and have no mercy!" (109). Estella doesn't, however, ask Pip to kiss her again.
Topic Tracking: Love 3
Joe spiffs himself up and heads with Pip to Miss Havisham's, where he is so intimidated by the old woman that every time she asks him a question, he directs his reply at Pip. Pip is ashamed of Joe, more so because he can see in Estella's eyes the mischievous glimmer of condescension. Miss Havisham tells Joe that Pip is in his hands now, and that the period of his apprenticeship under Joe to the blacksmith trade should begin. She gives Joe a good-sized sum of money for Pip's company and services of the last months, and sends them on their way. Miss Havisham tells Pip that Joe is his master now, and that he is to come no more to Manor House.
Back at home, where Mrs. Joe and Uncle Pumblechook wait, Joe presents the money to Mrs. Joe, and then the four set off to the Town Hall, to make Pip's apprenticeship official. Afterwards, the Hubbles and Mr. Wopsle join the group for a dinner at the Blue Boar. Everyone feels happy and festive except for Pip, who already has the strong conviction that he will not like the blacksmith trade.
Topic Tracking: Expectations 3
Pip's apprehensions hold true--he's unhappy with blacksmithing, and moreover, unhappy and ashamed about living the common life with
"There have been occasions in my later life (I suppose as in most lives) when I have felt for a time as if a thick curtain had fallen on all its interest and romance, to shut me out from anything save dull endurance any more. Never has that curtain dropped so heavy and blank, as when my way in life lay stretched out straight before me through the newly-entered road of apprenticeship to Joe." Chapter 14, pg. 124.
Pip's term of study at Mr. Wopsle's great-aunt's school ends, though he tries to keep learning by various other means. He also, with the questionable motive of wanting to make Joe less ignorant, has taken to tutoring Joe, though without much success.
During one of these tutorial sessions, Pip gets the notion to visit Manor House again; his alleged reason is to thank Miss Havisham but his more probable desire is to see Estella again. Joe has reservations about this, but he eventually concedes. Joe's journeyman, a morose and shifty sort of character named Dolge Orlick demands a half-day off if Pip is to get one, and when Joe agrees, Mrs. Joe has a screaming fit. Orlick gives her a few nasty insults and after a bit of hesitation, Joe beats him up to defend Mrs. Joe's honor.
Pip's visit to Miss Havisham's is a noneventful one. Miss Havisham isn't at all charmed by the visit, though she does take a bit of delight in passing the bad news on to Pip that Estella is gone, having left to pursue her studies abroad. Dissatisfied with everything, Pip leaves and runs into Mr. Wopsle on the way home; with nothing better to do he consents to join Wopsle and Pumblechook for an evening of reading aloud, which is particularly uninspiring.
Walking home with Wopsle, Pip runs into Orlick. The three hear the guns of the prison ships going again, meaning another convict has escaped. They see a commotion happening at The Three Jolly Bargemen, and Wopsle goes in to investigate. He soon comes running out with the news that something bad has happened at Pip's house. The three run home and find Mrs. Joe splayed out on the kitchen floor, not moving, surrounded by people. She is, we are told, "destined never to be on the Rampage again" (138).
The attack on Mrs. Joe, while it seems to have been of murderous intent, did not kill her. Still, the town officials are on the hunt for her attacker, without much success at all. The only real evidence is a leg iron, a convict's shackle. This makes Pip suspect that his convict may be the attacker, and the thought of this plunges him into retroactive guilt, and new torment over whether he should confess to Joe the story of the convict in the churchyard, which he's never told.
The blow to Mrs. Joe's head is bittersweet; though she's lost her ability to talk and to move around confidently, she's also undergone a great mellowing-out. Her fiery temper has been replaced by patience, and she's a good sport about communicating with chalk and a slate rather than commanding with her venomous tongue. To help Mrs. Joe get around, Biddy, Mr. Wopsle's great-aunt's young orphan relation, moves in with the Joes. This is a great relief to Joe and Pip. Biddy's first success at her new job comes when she deciphers a character that Mrs. Joe has written on the slate, and which Pip has been at a complete loss to interpret. It looks like the letter "T," and Biddy realizes this is a drawing of an anvil, meaning Mrs. Joe wants the company of Orlick, the anvil-wielding journeyman. No one, not even Orlick, knows why Mrs. Joe would want to see him, but he complies and soon is making regular visits to the woman who he was beat up for insulting not so long ago.
Pip falls into the routine of apprenticeship life and only visits Miss Havisham once a year, on his birthday. Older Pip, the narrator, tells us that this was a custom that went on many years. Nothing ever changes at Manor House, and Pip's discontent with his apprenticeship continues. One change he does sense, however, is in Biddy, who now carries herself with self-assuredness and, though she is no Estella, is pleasant to look at and spend time with.
Biddy and Pip start talking one day; it's a sweet conversation in which Pip expresses his admiration with Biddy's ability to learn, and recalling her early tutelage of Pip, Biddy even sheds a few tears. Pip invites Biddy for a walk on Sunday afternoon, and on the appointed day they head out into the marshes together. There Pip reveals his secret to Biddy: he wants to be a gentleman. Biddy doesn't think much of this, and when Pip admits it is partly a desire to impress Estella that has led him to this decision, Biddy says that Estella's probably not worth it if he has to become a gentleman to impress her. Pip seems to accept this need to rise up and become more than a common blacksmith, as a sad consequence of having been exposed to the finer things through Miss Havisham and Manor House. He says:
"... what would it signify to me, being coarse and common, if nobody had told me so!" Chapter 17, pg. 149
Topic Tracking: Class 4
Pip is very honest with Biddy, and comfortable, too--much more so than he is with Estella. He's honest enough to admit that he wishes he could make himself fall in love with Biddy, which Biddy says will never happen. Older Pip tells us that there came moments in his young life when it was very clear that Biddy was superior to Estella, and in these moments he believed he could be content with life as a village blacksmith. But hope of something better, expectations to live a life uncommon, always came rushing in to disturb that peace.
Topic Tracking: Love 4
As the two walk toward home, old Orlick crosses their path and insists upon walking with them. Pip tells him they don't need any company and Biddy afterwards confides that she doesn't like Orlick and suspects he has a crush on her. Thereafter, Pip is always dutiful about keeping Orlick away from Biddy.
One Saturday night, four years into his apprenticeship, Pip is at the Three Jolly Bargemen listening to another affected reading by Mr. Wopsle when suddenly a stranger makes himself known. Well-dressed and insistent about badgering Mr. Wopsle about legal details in the story he's just read, the man soon reveals himself to be a lawyer. He announces that he has business with Pip and Joe, who step forward and head back toward their house with the lawyer. By this point, Pip has recognized the man as the same one he ran into on the steps on his second visit to Miss Havisham's.
The man is named Mr. Jaggers, and his news is that Pip has "great expectations." He has come into a great fortune and is to be educated as a gentleman. Jaggers offers Joe a sort of severance payment, as he'll lose his apprentice, but Joe refuses. When pressed, Joe gets near-belligerent in his refusal. The only two conditions are that Pip must always call himself by the name Pip and that his benefactor shall remain a secret until he or she chooses to announce his or her identity. When Jaggers goes on to suggest Matthew Pocket as a tutor for Pip (a name Pip heard mentioned at Manor House), Pip is almost certain that his benefactor is Miss Havisham. It is decided that Pip will leave for London in a week, where his gentlemanly education will begin.
Topic Tracking: Identity 4
Strangely enough, Pip is still nagged by a feeling of dissatisfaction. He feels odd around Biddy and Joe, and thinks that:
"... it [felt] very sorrowful and strange that this first night of my bright fortunes should be the loneliest I had ever known." Chapter 18, pg. 169
Topic Tracking: Expectations 4
Preparations are made for Pip's departure: the papers binding him to Joe are burned in the fire; he takes his last walk in the marshes; he goes to the tailor for a new set of clothes; and he makes his last visit to several important people in his life. From the distance at which he writes, Older Pip seems to look back on himself at this stage and see a boy who has, with the news of his great expectations, become more than a bit snobby and condescending. Pip is more embarrassed than ever by Joe's "ignorance" and even tells Biddy that he thinks Joe is backward. No-nonsense Biddy sees right through Pip and doesn't have much patience for his new attitude.
Topic Tracking: Class 5
Pip finds that the mere mention that he's come into a fine inheritance is enough to snap most men, like Trabb, the tailor, or Pumblechook (who's become suddenly generous with Pip, giving him the best meat off the chicken and many glasses of wine and insisting upon shaking Pip's hand a thousand times), to his service. One last visit to Miss Havisham, when she mentions to him one term of Jaggers' agreement (that he always call himself by the name of Pip) further convinces Pip that she's his generous benefactor.
Topic Tracking: Identity 5
When his last week in the village is up, Pip has a hurried goodbye breakfast with Biddy and Joe and walks off to catch his coach to London. Looking back and seeing his two friends, Pip finally humbles a notch, and even sheds a tear:
"Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts. I was better after I had cried, than before--more sorry, more aware of my own ingratitude, more gentle." Chapter 19, pg. 185
As he rides toward the city, Pip even feels at moments like turning around. But he gets too far away to do this, the mists rise, and he sees that all the world lays spread out before him.
Pip ends his journey at Mr. Jaggers' office in London--it's a dismal place, full of dismal and odd characters. These are Jaggers' clients, and when the lawyer returns from his day's business, Pip watches him dismiss these clients with little sympathy or compassion for their various legal traumas. Jaggers tells Pip that he is to spend the next few days at Barnard's Inn, in the rooms of young Mr. Pocket, the son of his new tutor, Matthew Pocket. Jaggers tells Pip he will find his credit good all around town, though he makes a cryptic remark that of course, it's inevitable that Pip will go wrong somehow in his handling of his new riches. Pip is then sent off with the office clerk, Wemmick, who'll walk him to the inn.
Topic Tracking: Class 6
Wemmick, who's described as a short, dry man whose "features seemed to have been imperfectly carved-out with a dull-edged chisel" (197) walks Pip through the dreary London streets to the extraordinarily unimpressive Barnard's Inn. Nothing Pip's seen so far has seemed fitting of his great expectations, and as Pip waits in the dingy hallway of the inn for young Mr. Pocket to return, he decides that London is definitely overrated.
When young Mr. Pocket arrives, apologetic and bearing bags of fruit, Pip cannot take his eyes off of him. When Pocket gives a good look at Pip, he is riveted as well, and in unison, and smiling, they voice what they've realized: Mr. Pocket Jr. is the pale young gentleman, that same pasty boy that Pip beat bloody years ago at Miss Havisham's.
Topic Tracking: Expectations 5
The pale young gentleman--Herbert--and Pip are amused to remember their first meeting, and the ice thus broken, have a pleasant lunch together. Herbert isn't fond of Pip's Christian name, Phillip, and the two agree that he'll call Pip "Handel," after the composer. As they eat, Herbert tells Pip the story of Miss Havisham, interrupting his narrative every now and again to give Pip, the budding gentleman, some tips regarding his manners. He has learned his manners from his own father, who told him:
"... no man who was not a true gentleman at heart, ever was, since the world began, a true gentleman in manner... no varnish can hide the grain of the wood; and that the more varnish you put on, the more the grain will express itself." Chapter 22, pg. 209
First, Herbert says that he was invited to Miss Havisham's, an invitation that he took as a trial during which the old woman could test him out as a potential suitor for Estella. Miss Havisham didn't take a fancy to him, however, and Herbert's relieved, for he finds Estella a mean match, "brought up by Miss Havisham to wreak revenge on all the male sex" (204). At this point, Herbert explains the source of this wrath against men. Miss Havisham was a spoilt child, daughter of a rich brewer whose wife had died when Miss Havisham was a baby. There was a half-brother, too, a bad egg who was nevertheless well-off because of his father's fortunes. When Miss Havisham got to be of marrying age, a certain man began to court her, a showy man who was not a proper gentleman. Herbert's father, Mr. Matthew Pocket, was Miss Havisham's cousin, and at that point had stepped in to warn her about the suitor. Miss Havisham would hear none of it and angrily ordered Matthew Pocket away--the two had not spoken since. Then, as feared, the suitor left Miss Havisham waiting on the supposed wedding day, sending a letter in his place. Brokenhearted, she stopped all the clocks at twenty 'til nine, and never again looked on the light of day. The theory, Herbert says, was that Miss Havisham's shady half-brother and the supposed bridegroom were in cahoots, and that the entire courtship had been a mere excuse to swindle the rich woman.
Topic Tracking: Love 5
Herbert and Pip continue talking, now on the subject of Herbert's prospects in life. Herbert says he's an insurer of ships, though as conversation progresses it's revealed that this is his ambition, not his job. His job is a non-paying one at a lousy counting house, though, Herbert says, it offers him exposure to various avenues to riches of which he will soon take advantage.
The two pass the weekend together and on Monday head off for Hammersmith, where Herbert's family lives. The house is a chaotic place with six little Pocket children tumbling about, watched over mainly by Millers and Flopson, hired caregivers. Mrs. Pocket is an odd and spacey character, she's always reading, and when one of her various children bumps into her it's consistently a surprise, as if she'd forgotten she had children. Mr. Pocket, Pip's tutor, appears at the end of the chapter, and not surprisingly he is described as perplexed and disordered looking, standing and watching the chaos of his family.
Pip gets a better feel for the dynamics of the Pocket household: Mrs. Pocket is obsessed to the point of uselessness with a vague story that she's descended from royalty (she reads a book about aristocratic titles all day) and Mr. Pocket is smart and kind, but stunned by the chaos of his house to such a degree that in the more unruly moments he puts his hands in his hair and "appear[s] to make an extraordinary effort to lift himself up by it" (222). There are also two other boarders--Startop and Drummle; a bunch of domestic helpers; a toady neighbor named Mrs. Coiler; and a small army of ill-watched children. Mrs. Pocket shows she's truly on the wrong page when, after the cook is found drunk on the kitchen floor, she summons a completely inappropriate response: the cook, drunk or not, is a perfectly respectful woman, Mrs. Pocket says, because she once told Mrs. Pocket that she felt her to be born to be a Duchess.
Topic Tracking: Class 7
Pip is to be educated as a generalist, not in preparation for any profession. He is fond of Matthew Pocket, and the two seem to feel a mutual respect. Pip requests to keep his room in Herbert's place at Barnard's Inn, a request that Mr. Jaggers approves in his typically odd manner. Jaggers has a boisterous, though not particularly happy manner, and it confuses Pip, who asks Wemmick for a little more color about his guardian. Wemmick calls Jaggers "deep," and says his odd manner is "not personal; it's professional."
Wemmick gives Pip a tour of the law office, leading him through the rooms of the three other law clerks and, inside Jaggers' office, explaining that two odd casts on the shelf are those of famous clients. Wemmick extends an invitation to Pip to come to his house for a meal some time, and says that if Pip ever goes to Jaggers' place, he should keep his eyes open for his housekeeper, who, Wemmick says is "a wild beast tamed" (234).
The two then go down to police court to watch Jaggers in action. Here Pip sees that the lawyer has an uncanny ability to make a shivering and intimidated mess out of anyone he examines on the witness stand.
Of the two boarders at the Pocket's, Pip is fond of one--Startop, and not at all fond of the other--Bentley Drummle. Herbert is his closest friend, and the two spend lots of time together. Pip is settling in to his education, getting along well with Mr. Pocket and cultivating expensive habits. After a month or two at Pocket's, Mr. and Mrs. Camilla and Georgiana, who Pip first met on his second visit to Miss Havisham's, pay a visit. Pip is nonplussed by how much they seem to hate him.
One evening, Pip drops by Jaggers' office to walk home with Wemmick and to visit his house, finally accepting his offer of hospitality. Wemmick's place is quite a strange one--there is a very tiny house with gothic trimmings and extensive, though miniaturized grounds. Wemmick has put a great deal of work into building his "castle", driven in good part by his desire to please his father, an old deaf man he refers to as the aged parent. Pip enjoys a very pleasant dinner with Wemmick and the aged parent, plus a ceremonious shooting of some sort of cannon out on the grounds (a nightly ritual, apparently done to please the aged parent), and passes an equally pleasant night in the tiny castle. The next morning, as Pip and Wemmick move away from the castle, back toward Jaggers' office, Pip observes that Wemmick seems to get "dryer and harder" (243) as they move along; like he's said of Jaggers, Wemmick seems to be quite different in his personal and professional manners.
Topic Tracking: Identity 6
Topic Tracking: Love 6
As Wemmick has predicted, Jaggers invites Pip--and his friends--for dinner. After the lawyer ceremoniously washes his hands (this is an obsessive habit of Jaggers', which Pip interprets as the lawyer's attempt to wash himself clean of his clients), the lawyer, Herbert, Startop, Bentley Drummle and Pip walk together to Jaggers' house. At dinner, Jaggers takes a surprising interest in Drummle, who Pip considers coarse and unpleasant--the worst of the crew. Drummle goes so far in his growling conversation as to make it very clear that he "despised...as asses" (250) all of his peers at the table.
The other interesting focus at dinner is Jaggers' housekeeper, Molly, for whom Wemmick advised Pip on which to keep an eye. Molly has a hesitant manner around her employer, a hesitance somewhat explained when, at one moment during conversation, Jaggers grabs her wrist and forces the boys to look at them. One of the wrists is horribly scarred, though no explanation is given as to why.
Just before the boys are to leave, Pip runs back to thank Jaggers. The lawyer reiterates that he likes Drummle, though he tells Pip to steer clear of him. It seems as if Jaggers is on the edge of saying something else, but he does not. Older Pip tells us that about a month after that, Drummle's time with Mr. Pocket was up and the unpleasant boy left his house for good.
A letter comes to Pip from Biddy announcing that Joe will be in town and would like to visit. Disturbed by the thought of being seen with Joe and his "commonness," Pip isn't looking forward to the visit. Aspiring to the habits of a gentleman, Pip has been decorating the shabby room at Barnard's Inn, and there is even an occasional servant-boy, known as Pepper (or the Avenger).
The day after the letter arrives, Pip can hear Joe's clumsy boots on the steps and from the moment the two are reunited, both are very uncomfortable. Joe's speech is a garbled attempt at sounding over-eloquent, he calls Pip "Sir," and he seems to use his hat to divert his nervous energy, and it's constantly falling on the floor. Older Pip explains Joe's nervousness as a consequence of Pip's: "...if I had been easier with Joe, Joe would have been easier with me." (258)
Joe is in town for Wopsle's professional acting debut in a provincial performance of Hamlet. He's also come to pass on the news that Miss Havisham wishes Pip to visit the marshes because Estella is in town. This news, of course, about melts Pip.
Joe is not oblivious to the discomfort between he and Pip, and he admits, with what Older Pip appreciates as real dignity, that he is much more at ease in the forge, and that he and Pip really don't belong together in London. Joe has a simple, though dignified attitude about the divisions between men:
"... one [man's] a blacksmith, and one's a whitesmith, and one's a goldsmith, and one's a coppersmith. Divisions among such must come, and must be met as they come." Chapter 27, pg. 260
Topic Tracking: Class 8
Herbert takes Pip to the station to catch the coach back to his hometown. The ride home promises to be an interesting one when it's discovered that several convicts will be transported along with the paying passengers (a not uncommon custom in London at this time, Older Pip tells us). Things get even more interesting when Pip realizes one of the convicts is the same man that swirled his drink with a file years back at The Three Jolly Bargemen--the convict that Pip met as a young boy out on the marshes. But Pip is older and has the look of a gentleman, so the convict doesn't recognize him, and except for the disturbing feeling the convict stirs up in him, the ride passes without incident.
Pip takes a room at the local hotel, primarily because he's embarrassed and uncomfortable about staying with Joe, and when he sits down for his dinner, the waiter tosses an old newspaper on the table. The article seems to suggest that Uncle Pumblechook is Pip's patron, a bit of gossip which Older Pip tells us is much-believed in the marshes. But for now, Pip has no reason to expect that anyone besides Miss Havisham is his benefactor.
Pip is certain that Miss Havisham's intention, as the presumed patroness of both himself and Estella, is to eventually bring the two together in marriage. Older Pip explains the love he felt for Estella at this time as helpless: "I loved her simply because I found her irresistible" (270). So it is with much anticipation that he knocks on Miss Havisham's door, an anticipation hitched for a moment when Orlick answers that door. Apparently, Joe's gruff journeyman has been hired as a sort of butler for Manor House.
Topic Tracking: Love 7
After a quick run-in with Sarah Pocket, Pip goes upstairs to find Miss Havisham and her dusty room unchanged, though the other woman in the room is so changed that Pip doesn't even recognize her as Estella at first. Estella, more beautiful than ever, has a way of making Pip feel a little common boy again. But Pip, devoted as a puppy dog, walks beside her in the overgrown garden and nearly cries when Estella, decidedly more aloof and stiff than before, cannot even remember the old times when she fed him out in this same yard, times that are burned in Pip's memory. There is something else, however, that Estella sets off in Pip; she reminds him of someone, though he can't figure out whom.
Topic Tracking: Identity 7
After the walk, the two return to Miss Havisham's, and Pip gives the old woman a few pushes around the feast-room in her chair. Miss Havisham has some odd things to say about Pip and Estella--she tells Pip to "Love her! Love her!" but also seems fascinated to know whether Estella is using or hurting him. Ever the woman scorned by love, the idea that Estella will wreck Pip seems perversely delightful to old Miss Havisham.
Topic Tracking: Love 8
Jaggers comes by for dinner, and he, Pip, Estella and Sarah Pocket have an awkward and quiet dinner together, then play an equally stiff game of cards. Pip thinks that Jaggers' cold presence is simply a bad mix with the warm feelings he has for Estella. It's decided that when Estella arrives in London (she has just returned from study in France and is about to move to London), Pip will be sent to meet her. Pip heads off to his hotel and falls into bed, all torn-up with the notion of how ready he is to love Estella and how uninterested she, in return, seems to be.
Pip is to take the midday coach back to London with
Pip is also disturbed by the notion that Orlick is working for Miss Havisham, and when he tells this to Jaggers, the lawyer says he'll pay Orlick off and have him removed immediately.
Jaggers and Pip take the coach back to London together, where Pip is happy to see Herbert again. The two have a long talk, and Pip confesses his love for Estella, which comes as no surprise to Herbert. Herbert's advice to Pip is to "detach himself," if at all possible, for Herbert can see a heartbreak ahead if Pip continues to pursue Estella. Pip sadly says this is impossible--his love for Estella is too strong already.
The conversation now turns to Herbert's love life, and he makes the surprising confession that he is engaged, to a woman named Clara. Herbert and his betrothed don't seem to have much communication, and their marriage is not slated to happen any time soon. But the thought of it brings Herbert around to the certainty that he needs money before they can marry. Apparently, Herbert has made little progress in his search for an "opening" to riches through the counting house.
The two friends get on the dismal subject of procuring capital, a subject, however, that is instantly dropped when Pip pulls the old Playbill for Wopsle's play out of his pocket. The two friends promptly blow out the candles and head out to see the big-mouthed marsh man and his interpretation of Hamlet.
Wopsle is terrible as Hamlet, and everything about the play is so bad that the audience heckles it nonstop. Pip and Herbert try to slink out at its conclusion without being noticed by Wopsle, but are nabbed at the exit and sent backstage to see the actor, who's adopted the silly stage-name of Waldengraver. Wopsle is oblivious about his performance--he seems to think he's done a lovely job--and Pip and Herbert lie to make him feel good. Out of pity, they invite Wopsle to dinner and he accepts, staying too late and jabbering the whole time about his performance. Pip goes to bed miserable, and dreams that his great expectations have all fallen to pieces.
Having been alerted that Estella will arrive by coach in London, Pip arrives at the station on the appointed day, ridiculously early and torn up with anticipation. With hours still to kill, he's lurking around the station when Wemmick passes. Wemmick is on his way to Newgate, the prison, and Pip accepts his invitation to come along.
Wemmick's manner at the prison is described as that of a gardener among his plants. As Jaggers' clerk, he goes to the prison often on business, and is popular among the prisoners. He is efficient and stony-hearted there, definitely wearing his "post-office" manner rather than that manner of the kind and devoted son he is out in the country.
The visit completed, Pip goes back to waiting for Estella, thinking the whole time:
"... how strange it was that I should be encompassed by all this taint of prison and crime; that in my childhood out on our lonely marshes on a winter evening I should have first encountered it; that it should have reappeared on two occasions, starting out like a stain that was faded but not gone; that it should in this new way pervade my fortune and advancement." Chapter 32, pg. 306
Finally, Estella's coach arrives and immediately Pip has a flash of recognition like the one he had when he last saw Estella. There is something, a "nameless shadow," that is hovering around his beloved.
Estella is as beautiful as ever, though her manner still has that distant and dispassionate way to it that Pip noticed in their last meeting at Miss Havisham's. The two go for a cup of tea in a rather nasty inn, and Estella talks the whole time as if she and Pip are mere pawns to fate--they must do this and that, she says, to satisfy Miss Havisham's plan. This idea that they are merely puppets is horribly discouraging to Pip, though he is still powerless to assert his will around Estella.
Topic Tracking: Expectations 6
The two go by coach to Estella's new lodgings, at a place by the Green in Richmond. On the way, they pass through Pip's neighborhood and Hammersmith, where the Pockets live. Pip leaves Estella off, thinking how he's miserable with her, miserable without her.
Back at the Pocket's, Pip considers confessing his troubles to his tutor, but when he thinks about the irony in the fact that Mr. Pocket, who is such a wreck at home, is considered a great lecturer on the management of children and servants, he loses his desire to confide in his tutor. Nobody in Pip's world seems to be who they profess to be.
Topic Tracking: Identity 8
Pip knows it's impossible to return to his old way of life, but he still regrets that his simple life of good pleasure and companionship with Joe is gone. In fact, except with Estella, who Pip is certain he'd have no chance with without his newfound riches, Pip thinks his new money and expectations have had largely negative effects on the relationships and people whom he holds dear.
Herbert's life has been particularly complicated by his friendship with Pip. The two encourage each other to live far beyond their means--they still employ the little servant (the Avenger), and indulge in extravagances like a club called the Finches of the Grove--a group of boys who go out and have long, foolish talks over extravagantly expensive meals. Herbert and Pip have found one solace in this financial turmoil--the ritual of "looking into their affairs." When they get badly in debt, the two sit at the table and write out an elaborate report of their various debts, and then calculate their total debt. This highly organized process, plus their ritual of rounding their debt up (what they call "leaving a margin"), is oddly satisfying. It's a sort of busy-work that keeps their minds off of the reality that they're both falling into a dangerous financial state.
One night when the they are looking into their affairs, a letter is dropped through a slit in the door. It's for Pip: an announcement that his sister, Mrs. Joe, has died.
Though so many of Pip's relatives are dead, this is the first death he's lived through. He returns to his hometown for the funeral and finds that his mind is haunted by memories of his sister, and that memory has a way of softening the less pleasant aspects of their relationship.
The funeral is a showy affair run by Trabb and Company, and its orchestrations are designed mainly for the benefit of the townspeople. Joe is sad and not at all interested in the fancy funeral accoutrements; while Pumblechook and the Hubbles strut in the procession like proud peacocks. When Trabb and Co. are gone, the house feels wholesomer to Pip, and he asks to spend the night in his childhood room.
That evening, Pip and Biddy talk about what Biddy will do now that she doesn't have Mrs. Joe to care for (she thinks she'll get a job teaching at the new school in the village), how Mrs. Joe died (quietly, saying "Joe" and then "Pardon" and then "Pip"), and what's become of Orlick (he's still lurking about, and still following Biddy). Pip tells Biddy that he'll be around much more often now, to keep Joe company, but Biddy doesn't seem to believe him. This sentiment, along with the formal way she calls her old childhood pal "Mr. Pip" irritates Pip, and when he confronts Biddy, she doesn't have much to say. The next morning, Pip tells Biddy he's been hurt by her unkindness and again she mumbles a response he feels is inadequate. Then Pip sets off for London, leaving Biddy and Joe with only the promise that he'll return.
Topic Tracking: Class 9
Back in London, financial matters are going from bad to worse for Herbert and Pip. Pip's twenty-first birthday is rapidly approaching, and he anticipates it with some excitement, thinking that perhaps his benefactor will reveal his or her identity on that day.
When his birthday arrives, Pip is summoned toJaggers' office. Jaggers allows Pip to ask several questions about his benefactor, though what he gets in return is not a big revelation but an envelope with five-hundred pounds in it. This, Jaggers says, is a gift from the benefactor. From now on, he continues, Pip will be given five-hundred pounds a year to handle on his own, and Jaggers will no longer act as a financial overseer.
Pip invites Jaggers for dinner, and while he's waiting for the lawyer to get ready, he starts talking to Wemmick. Now that he has money in his pocket, Pip's thoughts have turned to finding a way to help Herbert out financially. Wemmick, however, is in his "office-mode," and can offer nothing besides the hard-nosed advice that it's less risky to throw your money off a bridge than to use it to help a friend. Pip realizes that he might get different advice from Wemmick at his home, and resolves to visit him there soon and ask for this same advice.
Jaggers comes to dinner with Pip and Herbert, and something about his official manner makes both boys very melancholy. It's not so happy, Pip thinks, to be celebrating a birthday in such a "guarded and suspicious world" (339) as this one through which Jaggers moves.
Pip makes a journey out to Wemmick's castle, to see what kind of advice the clerk might give him at Walworth. When Pip arrives, Wemmick is out, and he passes a little time with Wemmick's aged parent. The Aged tells Pip he's a little surprised his son went into law, and Pip tries to get the old man--who is tremendously deaf--into a conversation on this matter. Before things can get properly rolling, a little wooden flap with the name "John" (Wemmick's first name) tumbles open in the living room--this is a little device Wemmick has rigged-up to both amuse and announce his arrival to the Aged.
Wemmick is accompanied by Miss Skiffins, a woman about his age who Wemmick seems to have a bit of a crush on, for later, when Skiffins, Pip, Wemmick and the Aged sit down to eat the mountains of toast the Aged has prepared and to listen to the Aged read, Wemmick keeps trying (without any success) to get his arm around her. Before tea, however, Pip and Wemmick go for a walk on the grounds and Pip asks Wemmick the same question he did at the office, about how he might help out Herbert financially.
Wemmick is a completely different person when he's out of "office mode" and he gives Pip completely different advice. A plan is resolved that evening and soon put into motion; Pip will anonymously give one-hundred pounds a year to a merchant named Clarriker, who will hire Herbert and make him a partner, without ever mentioning he's being paid to do so. The plan works perfectly and Herbert never suspects Pip's involvement. Pip is pleased to feel that his expectations have finally "done some good to somebody" (348).
Topic Tracking: Expectations 7
Estella lives in the house of a woman named Mrs. Brandley, who was a friend of Miss Havisham's before her seclusion. Pip feels as if he haunts this house, for his spirit is always looking for Estella. Estella has many admirers these days, and though Pip goes to visit her in Richmond often, he still feels despair about the prospect that they'll ever be together.
At Miss Havisham's request, Pip accompanies Estella back to Satis, and as at their last visit, Pip detects Miss Havisham's odd desire to see Estella make a wreck of him. What's different this time is that Estella confronts Miss Havisham and accuses the old woman of making her cruel and incapable of love. To every accusation Miss Havisham makes of Estella being "proud" or "hard," Estella responds by pushing the blame right back on her patroness, saying things like, "Who taught me to be hard?" Estella, defined like all people by her successes and failures, nonetheless feels like she's done nothing to really earn either:
"'So,' said Estella, 'I must be taken as I have been made. The success is not mine, the failure is not mine, but the two together make me.'" Chapter 38, pg. 356
Pip is disturbed by all this, and he does not sleep at all during his first night at Satis. In the night, he hears Miss Havisham lurking about, moaning, making loops with a candle in her hand around her dreadful house.
Topic Tracking: Love 9
More disturbing news on the topic of Estella hits Pip when, at a meeting of the Finches of the Grove, the dreadful Bentley Drummle announces that he has kept company with Estella. Pip throws a little fit and demands evidence, and the next day Drummle brings him a note in Estella's hand that says she's danced with Drummle several times. At a dance some time later, Pip confronts Estella and says she shouldn't hang around with such a despicable character as Bentley Drummle. Estella is irritated, though she says that while she "deceive[s] and entrap[s]" many men, including Drummle, this is not what she's doing to Pip.
The chapter ends with a hint from Older Pip that something big is about to happen to in the story, that for young Pip, the roof is about to cave.
Pip is twenty-three now, and no longer under the tutelage of Mr. Pocket. He has no profession as of yet, and spends much of his time reading. He's reading one stormy night in the Temple, his and Herbert's new home, when there is a knock at the door. The visitor is a spooky-looking man, old but muscular, with long gray hair. Pip invites him in, and after the visitor says a few oblique and strange things, Pip has a flash of recognition--it's his convict.
Things get far more spooky after the convict has a drink and breaks out into tears. He then makes the announcement that shocks Pip, the announcement that makes the roof cave, as Older Pip said it soon would. The convict confesses that he is Pip's benefactor, that he has toiled for years and sent all of his money to Pip, to make a gentleman of him. He has come to visit Pip under the penalty of death should he be discovered here by the authorities.
This changes everything for Pip. No longer is he the darling of rich old Miss Havisham, but rather the project of a lowly criminal. Estella cannot be destined for him, and worst of all, he has been so condescending to Joe for so long, thinking that he's a gentleman when he's really only been supported by what seems like dirty money. Pip says:
"I would not have gone back to Joe now, I would not have gone back to Biddy now, for any consideration: simply, I suppose, because my sense of my own worthless conduct to them was greater than every consideration. No wisdom on earth could have given me the comfort that I should have derived from their simplicity and fidelity; but I could never, never, never, undo what I had done." Chapter 39, pg. 376
Pip allows the convict to spend the night in Herbert's room, Herbert being away on business. The storms and the new knowledge keep Pip in a miserable state of despair and fear, so much so that he locks the convict in the room. Pip falls asleep in a chair, his great expectations seemingly crushed now for good.
Topic Tracking: Expectations 8
Topic Tracking: Class 10
Pip awakes from his nap filled with anxiety about hiding the convict. In fact, these logistical details keep Pip from thinking too hard about his own situation, about the completely new spin his life has taken as a result of the convict's news. In the midst of his preparations, Pip bumps into what he thinks is a man on the dark stairs and runs off to get the night watchman, who says that the convict did indeed arrive with company. If this was the man on the stairs, however, he has disappeared into the stormy darkness. When questioned, the convict is vague about whether he did or did not come alone.
At breakfast, the convict ravages his food and generally acts like a man who's lived in jail all his life. As Pip watches in horror, the convict, who says his name is Provis, or Magwitch, also says that he intends to stay with Pip for good. He'll disguise himself and do whatever is necessary to live out his days with the fine gentleman he's created with his hard-earned money. It's decided that Pip will, at least temporarily, pretend that Provis is his uncle.
Topic Tracking: Identity 9
Pip leaves Provis with strict instructions to stay inside and goes out, first to find Provis a room at a boarding house and then to see Jaggers. The lawyer seems to sense Pip's news immediately, though he works very hard to keep it unspoken. Provis, because of his criminal record, is not supposed to enter England again (he can be hung for it), so Jaggers talks as if Magwitch is still in "New South Wales." The lawyer does make it clear, however, that Magwitch's story is true, that the convict really is Pip's benefactor.
Pip orders new and dignified clothes for the convict, but the jailbird shines through these new feathers, and Pip is certain he'll be discovered. He's terrible, in many ways, for Pip to look at:
" The imaginary student pursued by the misshapen creature he had impiously made, was not more wretched than I, pursued by the creature who had made me, and recoiling from him with a stronger repulsion, the more he admired me and the fonder he was of me." Chapter 40, pg. 392
Worse yet, Herbert is due to return from his business and after five days pass, he walks through the door. Pip introduces Provis as "a visitor," and Provis immediately produces his grimy pocket Bible, and demands that Herbert swear on it. Herbert alone can be told the full and true story.
Herbert is let in on Pip and the convict's secret, and the story astonishes him. The convict knows that he's "low," and tells Pip and Herbert not to worry, that he has no intentions of revealing himself as Pip's benefactor. Late in the night, Pip walks Provis back to his boarding house and returns to the Temple, to do some serious talking with his friend.
Hebert is nothing but kind to Pip, though he is at first "too stunned to think" (396). Pip, finally facing his situation, realizes he is a young man, "...heavily in debt--very heavily for me, who [has] now no expectations--and I have been bred to no calling, and I am fit for nothing" (396). Furthermore, even if Pip could break free from Provis' money and live on his own, such a disappointment might infuriate the convict and no one wants to infuriate a convict, especially one like Provis, who's always got his jack-knife at the ready.
Topic Tracking: Expectations 9
Herbert and Pip decide that Provis must be smuggled out of England, and that Pip must follow. But for now, they need to learn a bit more about the convict, and it is resolved that they'll ask him some questions at breakfast.
The "short and handy" version of Provis' story, as he tells it to Pip and Herbert, is as follows: "In jail and out of jail. In jail and out of Jail. In jail and out of jail" (401). Magwitch has been a petty criminal all his life, employed in large part by a man named Compeyson. Magwitch hates Compeyson, whom he describes as a well-groomed forger and counterfitter with a heart of stone. Ultimately, the two criminals were tried for the same crime and Compeyson got a reduced sentence on account of his well-bred looks and manners. It was revenge for this injustice, Magwitch explains to Pip, that led him to beat up Compeyson many years back out on the marshes as Pip, Joe and the others sent out to search for the two escaped convicts watched.
The convict continues ranting about Compeyson, telling a story that rings familiar: many years back Compeyson and a partner named Arthur were involved in a scheme to swindle a rich woman from her money. Afterwards, haunted by the spirit of this woman, "all in white," Arthur actually died of fright. As he's listening to the story, Herbert scribbles a note on the cover of a book, which he passes over to Pip. It says what any listener might conclude in this small world where no one is who they seem to be: "Young Havisham's name was Arthur. Compeyson is the man who professed to be Miss Havisham's lover" (409).
Topic Tracking: Class 11
Pip resolves to visit both Estella and Miss Havisham, in case he must suddenly leave the country with Magwitch. When he goes to Richmond to see Estella, he's surprised to find that she has left for Miss Havisham's, a trip that she normally makes with Pip. His confusion turns quickly to anxiety when, upon his arrival at the marshes, he spots Bentley Drummle lurking around the Blue Boar. Drummle isn't from the marshes, and his only connection to the place, Pip realizes with dread, is Estella.
The two young men ignore each other until it would be ridiculous to continue, and then fall into a spitty little conversation in front of the hotel fireplace. Drummle is insolent as always, and makes several haughty mentions of a particular "lady" to goad Pip on. At last, Drummle leaves the restaurant and Pip sets off for Satis, thinking now that he wishes he'd never even set foot in that dreary old house.
Pip finds Estella and Miss Havisham in their same old repose at Manor House, though he himself is no longer in the mood to visit the place and all of its weirdness without some protest. He's mad at Miss Havisham for deliberately leading him on for so many years, for cultivating the lie that she was his patron. He says,
"It would have been cruel in Miss Havisham, horribly cruel, to practice on the susceptibility of a poor boy, and to torture me through all these years with a vain hope and an idle pursuit, if she had reflected on the gravity of what she did. But I think she did not." Chapter 44, pg. 421
The old woman denies nothing, though she doesn't show any regret, either. Determined to air all, Pip continues, saying that Miss Havisham needs to know that Herbert and Matthew Pocket are good men, and not the same money-grubbing sort as her other relatives. He also wants the old woman to take over the payments he's been making to help Herbert get started in the business world.
Next, Pip turns to Estella and says that in case she hasn't noticed, he loves her and he has loved her for a long time. Pip doesn't seem to expect much from this confession and he doesn't get much from the hard-hearted Estella. Estella is still convinced she is incapable of love, and for a change of pace, since she really seems to care very little about her life, she'll marry Bentley Drummle. This news sets Pip into a new fit; he calls Drummle a brute and tells Estella that she will never leave his mind, for she is all and everything he sees in the world.
Topic Tracking: Love 10
The two ladies, unimpressed by anything emotional, look at Pip like he's got a second head. Brokenhearted, he leaves Satis and walks all the way back to London. This takes all night, and when he finally arrives at the Temple, the night watchman slips him a note from Wemmick that says, cryptically: "Don't Go Home."
Convinced by Wemmick' note to take his lodgings elsewhere, Pip gets a small and creepy room at a boarding house in town. After a fitful night of sleep, he rises early to catch Wemmick out in the Castle, so he can explain the note as a friend rather than with the "post office" reserve he gets at Jaggers' office. Wemmick is cheery and has Pip cook some sausage for the Aged P, a job a little too big for Pip in his state of mind. While making an ember of the sausage, Pip listens to Wemmick explain, in vague terms, that someone is not where they should be (presumably Magwitch, who is not in New South Wales), and that Pip and the Temple are being watched. Pip suspects the spy to be Compeyson, and he asks Wemmick if the second convict is alive. Wemmick answers yes, and says that he's in London, too.
Wemmick has already spoken with Herbert, and the two have hatched a plan to transport Magwitch to the home of Herbert's fiancé, Clara, and her father. The house is on the river, and should be a convenient place from which to make a hasty exit by boat, if it's necessary.
Wemmick heads off to work, and advises Pip to pass the day at the Castle, in the good company of the Aged P.
That evening, Pip sets off to visit Magwitch at Chink's Basin, the house on the river. Herbert is at the house, and he introduces Pip to his fiancé, Clara. This is their first meeting, and Pip finds the woman a sweet and good match for his friend. Clara's father, on the other hand, is a raging drunk named Old Barley, who spends all day in bed with a bottle, making a loud, moaning ruckus. Comparatively, Magwitch seems quite a bit more dignified and tolerable. Magwitch, or Provis, has a third name now, too, to hide his identity at Chink's Basin. Here, he has become Mr. Campbell.
The final decision Pip and Herbert make that day, is that Pip should buy a boat and begin rowing every day, to give any watchful eyes the impression that he's taken up rowing as a sport. This way he can, without arousing suspicion, keep a boat handy to smuggle Magwitch from the house should the need arise. This Pip sets to immediately, every day rowing a little circuit up or down the river. The welfare of Magwitch is Pip's big responsibility now.
Weeks pass without incident; Pip continues rowing every day, and also, with some satisfaction, declines to take any more money from Magwitch. He decides to pass one evening at another of Wopsle's dreadful performances, where he is particularly disturbed when Wopsle turns all of his attention to him at one moment in the performance, his face showing an odd shock of recognition. After the show, Wopsle finds Pip and explains that he saw a ghostly figure sitting behind him in the audience, and that he recognized the face as that of one of the convicts they'd seen in the marshes many years back. Pip now has his first evidence that Compeyson is on his trail.
Pip returns to the Temple and tells Herbert about being followed. The two agree that Pip must be particularly cautious, and they post a letter to Wemmick that says Compeyson has been sighted. Pip tells Wemmick to let him know immediately if anything new develops.
On another of Pip's boat excursions, he runs into Jaggers and accompanies the lawyer and Wemmick to his house for dinner. Jaggers just received a note from Miss Havisham, requesting Pip come to Manor House, which Pip says he will do. The dinner conversation becomes particularly disturbing to Pip when it turns to the subject of Bentley Drummle, who Jaggers likes to call the "Spider." Jaggers says Drummle is the sort of man who "either beats or cringes" (454), meaning that he'll either abuse Estella or cower before her. Of course this analysis, so glibly spoken by Jaggers, is completely disturbing to Pip.
The biggest revelation of the meal, however, comes when Pip takes a good hard look at Molly, Jaggers' housekeeper. A glint of recognition, something in her hands, suddenly makes him absolutely certain that the woman is Estella's mother. All of those times he felt something familiar in Estella, he realizes, were times when he was seeing a bit of Molly in her. After dinner, when he and Wemmick walk far enough away from Jaggers' house for Wemmick to slip out of his "post office" mode, Pip asks his friend for the housekeeper's story.
Molly's story is a deusey--she was put on trial for the murder of another woman, a woman she most likely did kill, and Jaggers' masterful lawyerly twisting of the facts and the jury's sensibilities succeeded in getting her acquitted. Molly did have a daughter, too, though there was a rumor that the housekeeper had "destroyed" the child when it was only two or three years old. Wemmick tells Pip that Molly has been Jaggers' servant ever since her acquittal.
Pip travels to Miss Havisham's, and finds the old woman sitting before a fire, acting strangely meditative. She turns to Pip and says she wishes to talk some more about the request Pip made for her to take over the payments to Herbert's employer. Miss Havisham seems changed; she watches Pip as he explains his request with a look somewhere between inquiry and fondness. The cruelty of her actions seems to have finally hit her, and she breaks down, crying "What have I done!" and even falls to her knees before Pip and begs his forgiveness.
Perhaps it is because Estella has really married Drummle, the brute, that Miss Havisham seems to be cracking in her stony resolve. At any rate, Pip is disturbed by the old woman's drama:
"I knew not how to answer, or how to comfort her. That she had done a grievous thing in taking an impressionable child to mould into the form that her wild resentment, spurned affection, and wounded pride, found vengeance in, I knew full well. But that, in shutting out the light of day, she had shut out infinitely more; that, in seclusion, she had secluded herself from a thousand natural and healing influences; that, her mind, brooding solitary, had grown diseased, as all minds do and must and will that reverse the appointed order of their Maker; I knew equally well." Chapter 49, pg. 465
Pip assures Miss Havisham that she may clear him out of her conscience, but Estella, he says, is another matter. He asks her a few questions about Estella, and how she came into Miss Havisham's care, and the old woman's answers confirm his suspicions that Estella is Molly's daughter.
Topic Tracking: Love 11
Pip leaves the room, though returns a few minutes later on some odd presentiment. Just as he walks through the door, the old woman's dress catches fire, and Pip wrestles her to the ground to smother the flames. Both of them are burned, Miss Havisham so badly that she is wrapped in gauze and laid out on the bridal table, in a sort of hideous echo of her normal white bridal gear. The doctor warns that there is danger of her going into nervous shock.
Topic Tracking: Identity 10
Pip returns to London, where Herbert takes good care of him, dressing his wounds and steering conversation away from all of the disturbing topics toward which it might move. Herbert also says that Provis "improves," that he's seeming more civilized every day. He then passes on the details of a story Provis told him, details which at last complete the picture for Pip. Provis was once involved with a woman who was brought up on the charge of murder. They had a child together, and the woman destroyed this child. Of course Pip recognizes this as Molly's story, and realizes that Estella is Magwitch's daughter.
Pip is on the hunt for the truth of Estella's parentage, a hunt that leads him to Jaggers' office, where he confronts the surly lawyer with the news that he knows the identity of the girl's mother and her father. While Jaggers knows his housekeeper is Estella's mother, he doesn't know the identity of the father and his manner makes it clear that he's curious. He receives the news that it's Magwitch with a start.
Wanting to get a real rise out of someone at Jaggers' office, Pip turns to Wemmick and says that he knows him to be a kind man with a gentle heart. When Jaggers hears this, he relaxes, and uncharacteristically, smiles. The two men who are normally so resolutely businesslike then begin to tease each other about having pleasant homes and playful ways (very unprofessional), and with the air so lightened, Jaggers tells his version of Estella's story. In this version, it was a desire to rescue Estella from her mean beginnings and to shelter Molly from the world that led him to give Estella to Miss Havisham, and take Molly on as his housekeeper. Underneath his mean exterior, Jaggers does seem to have a conscience and a moral sense.
All of this wholesomeness, however, is simply unacceptable in the workplace, and Wemmick and Jaggers are glad when a poor client enters the office, so they can both turn on him. The good load of verbal abuse they dole out to the client, says Pip, seems to refresh the two men like a good lunch.
Jaggers has given Pip nine-hundred pounds as he's been directed by a note from Miss Havisham, and Pip gives the money to Clarriker, Herbert's business partner, as the last donation on the part of his friend. Clarriker says business is going well, and that a new branch is opening in the East, which Herbert will be sent to manage.
Pip knows that soon he'll have to part from his closest friend, and when a note arrives from Wemmick one morning at breakfast, it looks like Pip will be the first to leave. The note, which says it should be burnt after it's read, suggests that Pip and Magwitch make their escape early that week.
Pip's wounds from the fire are serious enough so that he can't row the boat, so Herbert and he decide that they'll enlist Startop, Pip's friend from his days as a student in Hammersmith, as their getaway rower. The two hatch out the details and are set to go in two days, but when Pip returns home he finds another note, this one cryptic and anonymous, requesting he come to the marshes that night if he wants information on his Uncle Provis. The note scares him, and he sets off by the next coach to the marshes.
Back in his hometown, Pip deliberately avoids the Blue Boar, and decides to stay at a lesser known inn. While Pip is dining at the inn, the old landlord and pip start a discussion. It's still believed that Pumblechook is his benefactor, and Pip calls Biddy and Joe to mind: "I had never been struck at so keenly, for my thanklessness to Joe, as through the brazen impostor Pumblechook. The falser he, the truer Joe; the meaner he, the nobler Joe" (491).
After the meal, Pip searches his pockets and is a little disturbed to discover that he's lost the anonymous letter. But he knows its words by heart, and sets off for the designated meeting spot in the marshes.
Pip walks through the rain-soaked marshes and enters the old sluice house, where he is jumped in the dark and quickly tied up. When a candle is lit, Orlick's face appears, and Joe's old journeyman, who was never very nice, turns positively nasty. He's swigging from a bottle of liquor and shouting at Pip that he'll kill him, kill him for the way he stood between him and Biddy. Orlick tells Pip he attacked Mrs. Joe, though the fault lay with Pip, for being favored while Old Orlick was "bullied and beat" (498). Orlick's rage has been so consuming that he's learned a lot about Pip's life, including the truth of Magwitch. He shouts that Magwitch should beware of Compeyson.
Pip decides he won't go down without a fight, and just as Orlick finishes off the last of his bottle, Pip lets out a mighty scream. The scream has the desired effect, for the door bursts open, there's a scuffle, and Orlick escapes into the night. When Pip gets his senses back, he sees Trabb's boy, and right behind him, Herbert and Startop.
Apparently, in his haste to leave the Temple, Pip dropped Orlick's note on the floor. Herbert put two and two together, and gathered a small posse to rescue his friend. After he hears how vengeful Orlick was, Herbert wants to take out a warrant for his capture, but Pip is convinced that time is too tight, that they best focus all their energy now on preparing for Magwitch's escape.
Rarely does Pip get a good night's sleep these days, and the next night is no exception, as he awakens again and again, afraid that the authorities have come to arrest Magwitch. But Wednesday arrives without incident, and Pip wakes up feeling strong and sharp, ready to make the big getaway.
Pip's mind is wholly devoted to helping Provis escape, and at the appointed time the plan is set in motion. Herbert, Startop and Pip row down the river, and Provis joins them in the boat, looking quite inconspicuous. Of all on board, Magwitch seems the calmest--more than anything, he's happy to be with Pip.
The route down the river is long, and it's decided that they'll stop for the night at a dismal riverside lodging house. Inside, one of the men of the house is chattering that he's seen some men in a four-oared galley, rowing up the river and down the river, and that they look like Customs men to him. This news gets the escapees nervous, and they decide they'll hole up in the inn until just before the steamer is due to arrive, and then they'll make a break for it.
The next day, the four row out in pursuit of the steamers, when suddenly the four-oared galley shoots out beside them. There is a skirmish, and Magwitch is captured. Compeyson was in the other boat, and he'd led the authorities to Magwitch, but he's gone overboard and is presumed dead. Pip fears that Magwitch's fate is sealed, that he has little hope of escaping a criminal trial. He does, however, feel completely devoted to remaining at Magwitch's side:
"For now my repugnance to him had all melted away, and in the hunted, wounded, shackled creature who held my hand in his, I only saw a man who had meant to be my benefactor, and who had felt affectionately, gratefully, and generously, towards me with great constancy through a series of years. I only saw in him a much better man than I had been to Joe." Chapter 54, pg. 521
Topic Tracking: Expectations 10
Magwitch doesn't have to go to trial immediately, for a witness needs to be brought in from another part of the country to vouch for his identity. Pip is worried, in the meantime, that Magwitch will be crushed if he learns that his inheritance, which Pip had secretly declined to accept, will now probably end up going to the state. This is money Pip could use, too, for he's falling into worse and worse debt.
Herbert, on the other hand, is prospering, and with a heavy heart breaks the news to Pip that he must soon leave for Cairo. He asks Pip what he might do to provide for himself in the future, and when Pip replies that he doesn't know, Herbert says there is room for him to be a clerk at the office in Cairo. Herbert and Clara are excited with the idea that Pip might come and live abroad with them, but Pip says he must postpone that decision until things with Magwitch are settled. At the end of that week, Pip drops Herbert off to catch his ship to Cairo.
Later that week, Wemmick asks Pip to take a walk with him; Pip is feeling so despondent over Magwitch that he nearly declines, except that Wemmick seems particularly eager for this walk to take place. On the morning of their appointment, Wemmick walks them to a church, where the Aged Parent and Miss Skiffens are waiting, dressed for a wedding. Wemmick moves through the entire ceremony of his own wedding as if he'd just happened into it, but when they all walk out of the church Wemmick and Miss Skiffens are man and wife. There is a happy little reception in a nearby tavern, and just before Pip is to leave, Wemmick calls him back and reminds him that a joyous wedding is a "Walworth sentiment," not worthy of being mentioned in Jaggers' office.
Magwitch lies in prison, nearly incapacitated with the broken ribs and punctured lung he suffered during the failed escape. Pip is a devoted visitor, and he holds Magwitch's hand when he comes to trial. As Pip had anticipated, his kind benefactor is found guilty, though in a spectacle he couldn't have imagined, he is sentenced to death along with a herd of thirty-two other prisoners.
There is little to do but wait for the execution day, though Pip does write a furious round of petitions, imploring for mercy on the man who was so kind to him. One day when Pip goes to the prison for a visit, it's clear that death is going to take Magwitch before the executioner can. Just before the old man dies, Pip whispers to him that his daughter Estella lives, and that he, Pip, is in love with her.
Topic Tracking: Love 12
With Magwitch dead and Herbert gone, Pip is at loose ends. He spends days lying around the Temple, and after one particularly bad night of sleep, wakes to the knocking of creditors at his door. He's arrested, they say, for an unpaid debt.
Just before they can drag Pip off, he faints, and then falls into a bad period of sickness. In his delirium, he thinks he sees Joe everywhere, and eventually realizes he does see Joe--his old friend has come to London to nurse him through his illness. Things between Joe and Pip feel like the good old times again, except that Joe has learned how to write, at Biddy's teaching, in the years since Pip last saw him. Joe tells Pip that Miss Havisham has died, and that Matthew Pocket was left a good inheritance, all on Pip's good recommendation. The sniveling little relatives, furthermore, were barely given any money for all their years of sucking-up. Orlick was caught robbing Pumblechook's house, and is now in jail.
Things are great between Joe and Pip, until Pip begins to recover. It seems like Joe is at his best with Pip when he can take care of him. Pip wants the old times back, and resolves to tell Joe this. But on the morning he's about to do this, he finds Joe has departed, leaving a note that says he wishes to intrude no more, though he considers them "ever the best of friends." Also enclosed in the letter is a creditor's receipt--Joe has paid off all of Pip's debts.
Pip doesn't want things to end like this and decides he'll leave as soon as he can for the marshes. He wants his simple life back, and he's ready to go work in the forge again. And he's also ready to ask Biddy to be his wife.
Topic Tracking: Expectations 11
Topic Tracking: Class 12
Pip speeds to the
Pip doesn't find Joe in his forge, and when he arrives at the old house, he finds it decorated with flowers and inside, Joe and Biddy dressed in holiday clothes. Before Pip can profess his love, Biddy tells him her news: it is her and Joe's wedding day.
All of Pip's plans change with this announcement. He is nothing but kind and reverent about the wedding, but announces that he is leaving imminently to go abroad. He will not rest until he has paid Joe back, and, he hopes Biddy and Joe, if they ever have a child, will not tell him that he was a thankless or ungenerous or unjust. Biddy and Joe, sweet and happy, swear they would never think or say such a thing.
Topic Tracking: Love 13
Pip follows his new course. He goes to work for Herbert, and over the years advances steadily, though not spectacularly. Eventually, Clarriker needs to clean his conscience by confessing Pip's financial support to Herbert, news that Pip's good-natured friend receives with wonder rather than anger. Pip works his way into a satisfying life, having started again with no great expectations.
Topic Tracking: Expectations 12
Topic Tracking: Class 13
Pip passes eleven years abroad, and then one day decides to visit Joe and Biddy. He walks in the old house to find Joe with a little boy on his lap, his and Biddy's child, which they have named after Pip. The little boy takes a liking to Pip, and the two pass the next day together, the older Pip leading the younger Pip around some of his old haunts out on the marshes.
Biddy and Pip get to talking about whether Pip will ever marry, and Biddy asks him if he ever thinks of Estella. Pip says of course he has not forgotten her, though that "poor dream... has all gone by" (563). He's heard some news of Estella--her marriage to Drummle was a bad one, and ended when he got killed by a horse he'd mistreated. He knew nothing of her fate since then.
After dinner that night, Pip decides to take a walk to Satis. He finds that all the buildings have been cleared away, though it seems no one is building anything new there. Exploring there under the moon and stars, he sees a figure that he recognizes immediately as Estella.
The woman still takes his breath away. She tells him that she owns the property, and soon will build on it. Estella says she has often thought of Pip, and Pip says she too always has a place in his heart. She hopes, she says, they can be friends now, and that they will continue to be friends apart. Pip takes her hand, and they walk around the grounds, the world perhaps endowed with a new expectation. The novel ends:
"I took her hand in mine, and we went out of the ruined place; and, as the morning mists had risen long ago when I first left the forge, so, the evening mists were rising now, and in all the broad expanse of tranquil light they showed to me, I saw no shadow of another parting from her." Chapter 59, pg. 566