Essential Passages by Character: Pip
Essential Passage 1: Chapter 8
My sister’s bringing up had made me sensitive. In the little world in which children have their existence whosoever brings them up, there is nothing so finely perceived and so finely felt, as injustice. It may be only small injustice that the child can be exposed to; but the child is small, and its world is small, and its rocking-horse stands as many hands high, according to scale, as a big-boned Irish hunter. Within myself, I had sustained, from my babyhood, a perpetual conflict with injustice. I had known, from the time when I could speak, that my sister, in her capacious and violent coercion, was unjust to me. I had cherished a profound conviction that her bringing me up by hand, gave her no right to bring me up by jerks. Through all my punishments, disgraces, fasts and vigils, and other penitential performances, I had nursed this assurance: and to my communing so much with it, in a solitary and unprotected way, I had in great part refer the fact that I was morally timid and very sensitive.
Pip's parents died when he was a baby and Pip has been reared by his older sister. Mrs. Joe, as she is called, has little patience with childish ways and whims, and has treated Pip with contempt, abusing him physically and verbally. Pip has only known love through his brother-in-law, Joe Gargery. The two of them together form a “mutual protection” partnership against the blows of Mrs. Joe. Pip develops into an extremely sensitive and humiliated child, who strongly feels the injustice of his upbringing. When he is taken to Miss Havisham’s home to “play” with her adopted daughter Estella, Pip is once again treated like common, low-life boy. When Estella shows disdain for his rough manners and ignorance of “social graces,” Pip is humiliated. Still, Estella’s beauty and high social position enthralls him. More than anything, he wants to be her equal, but Estella makes it clear that he is not. This humiliation causes him to reflect on the great injustices he suffers at the hands of his sister and Estella.
Essential Passage 2: Chapter 49
“You are still on friendly terms with Mr. Jaggers?”...
(The entire section is 1477 words.)
Essential Passages by Theme: False Expectations
Essential Passage 1: Chapter 14
It is a most miserable thing to feel ashamed of home. There may be black ingratitude in the thing, and the punishment may be retributive and well deserved; but that it is a miserable thing, I can testify.
Home had never been a very pleasant place to me, because of my sister’s temper. But Joe had sanctified it, and I believed in it. I had believed in the best parlour as a most elegant saloon; I had believed in the front door as a mysterious portal of the Temple of State, whose solemn opening was attended with a sacrifice of roast fowls; I had believed in the kitchen as a chaste though not magnificent apartment; I had believed in the forge as the flowing road to manhood and independence. Within a single year all this was changed. Now it was all coarse and common, and I would not have had Miss Havisham and Estella see it on any account.
How much of my ungracious condition of mind may have been my own fault how much Miss Havisham’s how much my sister’s, is now of no moment to me or to any one. The change was made in me; the thing was done. Well or ill done, excusably or inexcusably, it was done.
After a year of visiting Miss Havisham’s home, being exposed to the higher class life, and especially to the snobbery of Estella, Pip has come to have different expectations of what his life should be like. He feels he is born for greater things than being a poor, “common” boy. Estella’s contempt for his laboring class lifestyle had colored his vision. When Miss Havisham provides the funding for his apprenticeship to Joe in the blacksmithing trade, Pip inwardly views it with the same contempt that Estella does. As much as he loves Joe, he decides that he no longer wants to be like him. His home, subject to the moods of his tyrannical and violent sister, has always been an unpleasant place. Now, it is contemptible. Pip feels the contempt, though he is unsure whether it has its source in Miss Havisham’s influence or his sister’s. Regardless, Pip is beginning to turn his back on his home and expect better for himself, even if it means turning his back on Joe.
Essential Passage 2: Chapter 34...
(The entire section is 1538 words.)