In Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, what motivates Pip to announce to Mr. Jaggers that he knows who Estella's father is?

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lhc | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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"Ask no questions and you'll be told no lies," Charles Dickens wrote in Great Expectations, but Pip is determined to ask questions and get the truth as the novel moves toward a resolution.  Shortly after Pip's ill-fated attempt to save Miss Havisham in the fire that killed her, he has a discussion with Herbert about Magwitch.  Both men have become increasingly fond of the former criminal/old man, and Herbert has learned that Magwitch at one time had a child, who he more or less abandoned in hopes that his crazy wife wouldn't kill her.  Pip, who had gradually been putting the pieces of Magwitch's story together, is now convinced that Magwitch (Provis) is Estella's father and he thinks he knows who the mother is.  He is now a man on a mission, and heads to Jaggers's office looking for the truth--which Jaggers refuses to provide.  Attempting to surprise Jaggers into revealing what he knows, Pip announces that Magwitch is indeed Estella's father, and although Jaggers reacts with the appropriate amount of surprise, he doesn't offer anymore information.  At this point, Pip tries another angle, appealing to Wemmick's more sensitive side, and at this point, Jaggers is so rattled at seeing this kinder, gentler Wemmick, that he finally relents and tells Pip everything he knows about Estella's background and family.


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