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Free Study Guide for Great Expectations by Charles Dickens-Book Summary


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Pip accompanies Estella to Richmond. Before he can thank her for requesting his company on the trip, she informs him that it is Miss Havishamís order that she does so. Once again, he is hurt by her cruelty.


Pip hopes that Estellaís stay at London may bring them closer to each other, but in her company he realizes once again that she teases his emotions and leaves him hurt every-time. Estella, for her part, seems aware of the brutal way in which she hurts Pip. However, as will be clear later, she has no choice. She is a creation of Miss Havisham; she has no choice but to destroy the hearts of men



Pipís great expectations and luxurious lifestyle has begun to cause both he and Herbert considerable financial strain. Soon, the news of Mrs. Joeís death arrives. Pip returns to his childhood home only to find that Joeís house has been taken over by the tailor, Mr. Trabb. Joe is broken-hearted and Biddy calls Pip ďMr. Pip.Ē After the funeral, Pip tells Biddy he will visit more often, but she is skeptical. Pip is troubled by pleasant memories of his past and by the way he seems to have neglected his home and friends. He does not even mourn Mrs. Joe. The subtle changes in him over the years seem obvious to everyone but himself. He realizes Biddy has no faith in him and knows that her lack is probably justified; he loves Estella too much to risk her displeasure.


This chapter poignantly characterizes the depth and constancy of Joe and Biddyís love for Pip. He returns for the funeral and stays at the Blue Boar. He tries to make them (and himself) believe that he will come to visit more often, but they know he will not. Still, their love for him is strong. Pip is troubled by his own shortcomings in response to their love, but he is so caught up in his expectations, he does not know how to deal with his own downfall. Pipís growing debt is a dramatic strategy that serves to create suspense and dread. He is headed for a great fall, economically and emotionally.



On Pipís twenty-first birthday he is called to Mr. Jaggersí office and given five hundred pounds. Jaggers tells Pip he will receive that amount annually from this point on until a time when his benefactor chooses to be revealed. Pip will be responsible for managing his own money.


The five hundred pounds come as a great relief to Pip, whose debt has become of grave concern. However, he had expected the birthday visit to reveal that he might be allowed to marry Estella, whom he continues to believe is being set aside for marriage to him. He still believes Miss Havisham to be his bountiful patron. He is sure that her generosity has a lot to do with her plans for he and Estella.



Pip approaches Wemmick with his plans to help Herbert succeed in business. Wemmick assists Pip by calling on Clarriker, a young shipping merchant, and giving him money to hire Herbert. Clarriker gives Herbert employment as well as the promise of the bright future he has always dreamed of. As well, he promises to keep Pipís involvement in the whole affair a secret. Pip is very happy that he has at last been able to do something good for somebody with his new station in life.


Though in the previous chapters, Pipís snobbery and selfishness gets the better of him, this chapter re-establishes Pipís unselfish and once-generous nature when he helps Herbert. Pipís maturity is evident when he asks his identity to be kept secret. He knows that Herbertís dignity would be hurt if Pip gave him financial help. It is the only good thing that comes of Pipís new position.

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