Support the Monkey! Tell All your Friends and Teachers

Help / FAQ

printable study guide online download notes summary

<- Previous | First | Next ->
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens - Barron's Booknotes
Table of Contents


Pip's conceited attitude is reflected in his elaborate language as
he describes that next Sunday. In his new lofty status, he pities
the villagers. He even remembers the convict without fear or
remorse, as though he has finally risen above his shame over
that association.

Taking a farewell tour of the marshes, Pip falls asleep (some
readers say this symbolizes a moral lapse). He wakes to find
Joe, looking like a comic dunce, joining him for one last talk.
Joe misunderstands what Pip says to him about their changed
relations. On one hand, this shows how stupid Joe can be, but
on the other hand it emphasizes that what Pip's trying to
express is off-base, morally-honest Joe can't comprehend it.
Back home, Biddy immediately picks up on Pip's faulty
reasoning, and calls him to task for not realizing that it insults
Joe to talk of changing him. Pip isn't on Biddy's wavelength,
though; he assumes she's being difficult because she's jealous.
Pip the narrator tells us that Pip the character speaks in a
"virtuous and superior tone", implicitly criticizing him.

Pip imagines that he should be treated differently now. Biddy
and Joe won't play that game, but other people do. Trabb, the
tailor, falls all over himself to please Pip as soon as he learns
Pip's a gentleman; Pip eats it up, and enjoys seeing Trabb's
audacious servant boy put in his place. Other tradesmen in
town pander to Pip too. The supreme fawner is, as you'd
expect, Pumblechook. He treats Pip to dinner, sparing no
expense. Anxious to play up to Pip, he speaks of Joe as a
simpleton and criticizes Mrs. Joe, his old ally, for her temper,
but recalls what good friends he and Pip have always been.

It's annoying to see Pumblechook echoing in exaggerated form,
Pip's opinion of other people; this makes us feel Pip has gone
wrong. To let himself get drunk with Pumblechook is the most
degrading thing Pip could do; again he falls asleep, literally
and morally.

Pip eagerly prepares to leave for London. (Notice he's ready far
in advance. Haven't you ever done this, before an exciting
trip?) But Pip's dissatisfied with the way he looks in his new
clothes, his old self-consciousness aggravated by a new self-
importance. Full of himself, he makes his farewell visit to Miss
Havisham. The way she gloats and knows everything already
from Jaggers, makes him more sure than ever that she's his
patron, so he reads a hidden message in everything she says.
He looks ridiculous kneeling to kiss her hand, but after all, it's
all he can do to show his gratitude.

Pip looks ridiculous, too, the last night at home when he sits in
his fancy clothes by the fire with Joe and Biddy, but this is less
embarrassing because the scene shows Pip's good side, which
is really sad to leave them. He knows it's selfish not to let Joe
walk him to the coach, and he almost tells Joe he can come-but
not quite. This conflict, and his reluctance to go downstairs the
final morning, show that he hasn't lost all moral bearings.
When Biddy and Joe throw shoes after him, he's both
embarrassed and touched by the homely custom. He describes
the village in a simple, gentle language as he is leaving, and
tears of strong emotion overtake him, cleansing his soul. He
even thinks about going back and making a second, better
farewell, but indecision robs him of chance. Restless and
insecure as ever, Pip forgets the future he longed for so
intensely. He can only look back, regretting his own behavior,
as the coach drags him toward a new life.

Table of Contents

<- Previous | First | Next ->
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens - Barron's Booknotes

  Web Search Our Message Boards   

All Contents Copyright © 1997-2004
All rights reserved. Further Distribution Is Strictly Prohibited.

About Us
 | Advertising | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Home Page
This page was last updated: 5/9/2017 9:51:39 AM