Book Notes

Chapter 32: Wemmick at Home in Newgate... Notes from Great Expectations

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Great Expectations Chapter 32: Wemmick at Home in Newgate...

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.

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