In Great Expectations, after his sister’s funeral, what promise does Pip make?

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

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This section of the novel comes in Chapter 35. After returning to his old house to spend the night once more, Pip chats with Biddy. During this conversation, in which he displays the customary arrogance that unfortunately we have come to associate with the new Pip, he declares to Biddy that he "will be often down here now. I am not going to leave poor Joe alone." Interestingly, in response to this statement, Biddy remains silent, showing her wisdom, foresight and understanding of Pip, as she obviously doubts the truth of his words. Of course, at the end of this chapter, as Pip returns to go back to London and his great expectations, he is forced to see how wise Biddy actually is:

Once more, the mists were rising as I walked away. If they disclosed to me, as I suspect they did, that I should not come back, and that Biddy was quite right, all I can say is--they were quite right too.

We can see this episode then as yet another instance when Pip is struggling with the relationship between his humble upbringing and the fine London life that he leads now. His inability to connect the two in his life in any meaningful way suggests the negative impact that his expectations have had on him.

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