Free Study Guide for Great Expectations by Charles Dickens-Book Summary
Pip contemplates the injustice of life, since he has no choice in his upbringing. First Mrs. Joe and now Estella seem to blame him for his lowly position. The injustice overwhelms him at first, then simply makes him angry. The chapter ends with his determination to make of himself something strong enough to combat the injustice.
Pip returns home to face the curious questions of Mrs. Joe and Mr. Pumblechook. Pip is reluctant to share his day with them, and invents a fantastic story about gold and silver, about majestic dogs fighting over fine food on silver plates, and a game with flags. His listeners are rapt with attention and fascination. Later, Pip confesses to Joe that all that he said was a lie. He tells Joe what really happened and asks why he must be so “common.” Joe is saddened by the story and by his young friend’s experience. He asks Pip not to lie again.
Pip’s fantastic tale is in part to thwart the intrusive inquiries of his sister and Mr. Pumblechook, since he finds both of them bothersome and noisy. But it is also in part derived from his own feeling of shame -- a feeling Estella provoked in him that he cannot shake. It is obvious how deeply the disappointing feeling of unimportance has taken root in Pip’s young heart. He seems determined to overcome his social common-ness. He voices his grief to Joe, who simply consoles him by explaining that his goodness makes him uncommon. In response to Pip’s lie (to Mrs. Joe and Pumblechook) Joe tells him it is more important to be uncommon in honest ways than in crooked ones.
His desire to be uncommon takes Pip again to Biddy, who promises to teach him whatever she knows. One Saturday evening while Joe and Pip are at the Three Jolly Bargemen bar, they meet a strange man who offers Joe a drink and inquires about Pip. Pip notices that the man stirs his drink with the file he had taken a long time again and given to the convict. The boy has often dreamed that the stolen file will come back to haunt him, and now fears it has. The stranger gives Pip a shilling wrapped in paper. When they return home, Pip and Joe discover the papers are actually one-pound notes. They run to look for the man, thinking it to be a mistake, but never find him
An evening out with Joe loses all its delight when Pip sees the strange man carrying Joe’s stolen file. The fear that the convict will return and he will be exposed as an accomplice causes Pip to sleep restlessly, if at all. Pip sees the appearance of the stranger as an omen of his own bad luck; he does not realize the significance of the man, or the impact he will have on Pip’s life for the better.
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. 09 May 2017