Book Notes

Chapter 19: London Ho!... Notes from Great Expectations

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Great Expectations Chapter 19: London Ho!...

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.

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