Identify three incidents that reveal Pip as a truthful storyteller. Then, identify an incident in which Pip seems to withhold information.Why do you suppose Pip does not always tell all that he...

Identify three incidents that reveal Pip as a truthful storyteller. Then, identify an incident in which Pip seems to withhold information.

Why do you suppose Pip does not always tell all that he knows?

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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 1. In Chapter 44,during Provis's stay with him, Pip learns that Estella has gone to Satis House.  Pip departs and arrives to find Estella in the room where the dressing table stands.  Pip replies to Miss Havisham's inquiry of "what wind...blows you here Pip?" with his intention to address Estella, an address that will not displease her. "I am as unhappy as you can ever have meant me to be." 

Pip reveals to Estella all that he has felt for her, concluding,

"... You are part of my existence, part of myself.  You have been in every line I have ever read, since I first came here, the rough common boy who poor heart you wounded even then, Estella, to the last hour of my life, you cannot choose but remain part of my character, part of the little good in me, part of the evil....Oh, God bless you, God forgive you.!"

2. In Chapter 58 as Pip ventures back to the forge to ask Biddy to marry him, ironically he finds her on her wedding day.  So, instead of proposing, Pip gives them his "humble thanks" for all that they have done for him, and all that he has "so ill repaid."  He tells them that he is going abroad and he thanks them for the money that have sent to keep him from debtors' prison.  In a most poignant passage, Pip reveals his deepest feelings,

"But I must say more.  Dear Joe, I hope you will have children to love, and that some little fellow will sit in this chimney corner of a winter night who may remind you of another little fellow gone out of it forever.  Don't tell him, Joe, that I was thankless; don't tell him, Biddy, that I was ungenerous and unjust; only tell him that I honred you both, because you were both so good and true, and that, as your child, I said it would be natural to him to grow up a much better man than I did."


 One incident in which Pip is less than honest and withholds information, but for honorable reasons is in Chapter 37 as Pip's plans to arrange for Herbert to be a clerk at Clarriker' House, a branch bank, so that he can get out of debt and marry Clara.  With the help of Wemmick, who talks to the brother of Miss Skiffins, his fiancee:

The upshot was that we found a worthy young merchant, not long established in business, who wanted intelligent help...and who in due course of time would wnat a parner.  Between him and me secret articles were signed of which Herbert was the subject...

 After Herbert is given the position, he talks with pleasure about his success.  Pip feels that he has done some good through this deception since he has helped his friend.

ajmchugh's profile pic

ajmchugh | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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As Charles Dickens is a master of characterization, readers are able to judge Pip's honesty (or lack thereof) with relative certainty.  Foremost, we can accept that Pip's narration is truthful, as he is forthcoming with all of his feelings, internal conflicts, and observations; readers trust Pip as a narrator because he is so detailed in such passages of narration.

Good examples that reveal Pip as a truthful storyteller include his dealings with others regarding Estella.  Pip confesses his love for Estella to Biddy in what many consider to be a conversation in which he's a little too truthful; at one point, Pip even mildly insults Biddy by exclaiming that he wishes he could fall in love with her.  (Obviously, the suggestion here is that she isn't good enough to receive his love, while Estella, who is abusive toward him, is.)  Further, Pip confesses his feelings for Estella to Miss Havisham, whose goal it is to watch Estella break men's hearts.   

Pip can also be deemed truthful in his response to the convict's appearance--and subsequent announcement that he's Pip's benefactor--in chapter 39.  In this chapter, readers see the joy and pride the convict exudes as he tells of the years he spent working to repay Pip's favor to him years before.  Instead of responding to this news with appreciation, Pip is utterly repulsed, because his hope that Miss Havisham was the one funding his education was ruined.  Pip, as a narrator, is not ashamed of his own bad behavior, as is clear in chapter 39.

Pip withholds information from his sister upon returning from Miss Havisham's the first time.  He doesn't feel that he can tell her what he saw there, mainly because he knows she wouldn't believe him, and would, as a result, inflict some sort of punishment on him.  He does, though, tell Joe the truth in private.


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