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When Miss Havisham's relatives visit,what is revealed about Matthew Pocket, a relative...

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elizabeth112195 | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted March 14, 2011 at 9:18 AM via web

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When Miss Havisham's relatives visit,what is revealed about Matthew Pocket, a relative who is not present at the gathering?

This is in Great Expectations, chapter XI.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 14, 2011 at 11:51 AM (Answer #1)

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When Pip is recalled to Satis house, he notices some people who immediately stop talking when he enters the room.  Pip notices that they are "toadies and humbugs," flatterers and people who are not what they pretend to be.  Shortly, Miss Havisham tells Pip to wait for her in another room where he can work for her.  In this room, every "discernible thing in it was covered with dust and mold, and dropping to pieces.  There is a table on which a centerpiece sits., a decaying cake.  Spiders and mice abound.  Miss Havisham lays a hand upon Pip's shoulder and with the help of her cane, she walks around the table, telling Pip she will be laid upon this very table after she dies. 

After a short period, the relatives, the Pockets, enter, flattering Miss Havisham by saying that she looks well.  When Camilla Pocket says,

"There's Matthew!...Never mixing with any natural ties, never coming here to see how Miss Havisham is!"

Miss Havisham stops and stares at Camilla.  She sternly replies to this remark about Matthew's never coming on her birthday,

Matthew will come and see me at last...when I am laid on that table. That will be his place--there...at my head!...."

She points out the others' places, then she dismisses them.  After she leaves, Miss Havisham informs Pip that it is her birthday.  Much later in Dicken's narrative, it is revealed that Matthew Pocket had tried to warn Miss Havisham about the man she planned to marry, but she would not hear him; instead, she forbade him to ever come to her house.  This injunction against Matthew is why he does not visit Miss Havisham.  Realizing now that he was right in his judgment of the groom, Miss Havisham now reserves a place at the head of the table for her cousin.

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