Study Guide

Great Expectations

by Charles Dickens

Great Expectations Quotes

Essential Quotes

Essential Quotes 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.

Summary
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?”

“Quite. I dined with him yesterday."

“This is an authority to him to pay you that money, to lay out at your irresponsible discretion for your friend. I keep no money here; but if you would rather Mr. Jaggers knew nothing of the matter, I will send it to you.”

“Thank you, Miss Havisham; I have not the least objection to receiving it from him.”

She read me what she had written, and it was direct and clear, and evidently intended to absolve me from any suspicion of profiting by the receipt of the money. I took the tablets from her hand, and it trembled again, and it trembled more as took off the chain to which the pencil was attached, and put it in mine. All this she did, without looking at me.

“My name is on the first leaf. If you can ever write under my name, ‘I forgive her,’ though ever so long after my broken heart is dust—pray to it.”

“O Miss Havisham,” said I, “I can do it now. There have been sore mistakes; and my life has been a blind and thankless one; and I want forgiveness and direction far too much, to be bitter with you.”

Summary
Pip has learned that Miss...

(The entire section is 1477 words.)

Essential Quotes 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.

Summary
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

As I had grown accustomed to my expectations, I had insensibly begun to notice their effect upon myself and those around me. Their influence on my own character, I disguised from my recognition as much as possible, but I knew very well that it was not all good. I lived in a state of chronic uneasiness respecting my behaviour to Joe. My conscience was not by any means comfortable about Biddy. When I woke up in the night—like Camilla—I used to think, with a weariness on my spirits, that I should have been happier and better if I had never seen Miss Havisham’s face, and had risen to manhood content to be partners with Joe in the honest old forge. May a time of an evening, when I sat alone looking at the fire, I thought, after all there was no fire like the forge fire and the kitchen fire at home.

Summary
Pip is living the life he has long wanted—the life of a gentleman. He resides in London, with his good friend Herbert Pocket, under the tutelage of Mr. Pocket, the father of Herbert, for no particular purpose but to fit into society. However, it is not quite as enjoyable (or as cheap) as he thought. He and Herbert run into substantial debt through their high living. Estella, though living in Richmond near London, seems as unreachable as ever. Pip begins to notice that his new lifestyle has begun to...

(The entire section is 1538 words.)