In chapters 25 and 26 of Charles Dickens's Great Expectations what is being foreshadowed?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In Stage II of Great Expectations, Pip travels to London where he will reside and learn to become a gentleman.  Ironically, however, he becomes acquainted with a young man who, while from an upperclass family, is a "dolt," an "idle, proud, niggardly, reserved, and suspicious" young man. Oddly, Mr. Jaggers possesses a strange interest in this young man that he calls "Spider"; he is somehow able to draw out the worst in this young man who sneers at the other guests and tries to fling his glass at a would-be adversary until Mr. Jaggers seizes it. Clearly, there is something sinister about Bentley Drummle that attracts Mr. Jaggers and repels Pip.

"I knew that he wrenched the weakest part of our dispositions out of us," Pip narrates.  He finds himself talking of his spendthrift ways without knowing it, and Drummle, "whose inclination to gird in a grudging and suspicious way at the rest, was screwed out of him before the fish was taken off." It is a curious interest that Mr. Jaggers takes in Drummle. His housekeeper, too, Mr. Jaggers is able to intimidate.  Pip notices her hands and her face, a face that he pictures by a cauldron as in Macbeth. After the meal, Jaggers has the young men look at her powerful, scarred wrists, wrists that he admires for their strength.

To Pip, the sharp interest that Mr. Jaggers takes in Drummle is curious as is his pointing out the strength of the wrists of his suspicious houisekeeper, Molly.  In both cases, there is a darkness and in the persons in whom Mr. Jaggers finds interest as well as in himself that bodes darkly.


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