Book Notes

Chapter 57: Joe Tends Me In My Sickness... Notes from Great Expectations

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Great Expectations Chapter 57: Joe Tends Me In My Sickness...

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

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