What are Biddy's expectations in Great Expectations? For example, what does she want to do when older, etc.

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Biddy is a relatively simple person.  Her expectations are to live a simple life.  Unlike Pip, she remains satisfied with her humble life.  She sees Pip change and does not approve.  Pip compares himself to Biddy throughout, as they come from similar beginnings.

She was most noticeable, I thought, in respect of her extremities; for, her hair always wanted brushing, her hands always wanted washing, and her shoes always wanted mending and pulling up at heel. This description must be received with a week-day limitation. On Sundays she went to church elaborated. (ch 1, enotes etext pdf p. 31)

Despite her apparent poverty, Biddy is educated enough to know how to read.  She is patient with Pip, and he notes that she is “the most obliging of girls” (p. 51).  In many ways, she is the only friend Pip has.

I reposed complete confidence in no one but Biddy: but I told poor Biddy everything. Why it came natural for me to do so, and why Biddy had a deep concern in everything I told her, I did not know then, though I think I know now. (Ch 12, p. 67)

Although Pip changes, Biddy does not.  She remains “gentle, loving, soft-spoken, wise, and efficient” (enotes characters, Biddy).  When Mrs. Joe is injured, Biddy becomes “a blessing to the household” (p. 86).  Biddy seems quite content helping Joe and caring for Mrs. Joe.  After Mrs. Joe dies, she marries Joe.  Her time with the Gargery family matures her.

Imperceptibly I became conscious of a change in Biddy, however. Her shoes came up at the heel, her hair grew bright and neat, her hands were always clean. She was not beautiful—she was common, and could not be like Estella—but she was pleasant and wholesome and sweet-tempered. (p. 88)

Pip compares Biddy to Estella and eventually decides he loves her, but she has married Joe.  Biddy is quite satisfied with the simple life of a blacksmith’s wife.

For the full text, read here: http://www.enotes.com/great-expectations-text

For more on characters, read here: http://www.enotes.com/great-expectations/characters

For a summary, read here:http://www.enotes.com/great-expectations/summary


Dickens, Charles. "Great Expectations." Enotes.com. Enotes.com. Web. 17 May 2012. <http://www.enotes.com/great-expectations-text>.

Enotes. "Great Expectations Characters." Enotes.com. Enotes.com. Web. 17 May 2012. <http://www.enotes.com/great-expectations/characters>.


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