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Chapter 39: A Stormy Night in the Temple... Notes from Great Expectations

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Great Expectations Chapter 39: A Stormy Night in the Temple...

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

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