In Chapter 19, how have Pip's expectations changed? What does he expect now?

Expert Answers
accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is actually in Chapter 18 that Pip finds out about his "Great Expectations" from Jaggers, who says that Pip "will come into a handsome property" and also that he will :

be immeidately removed from his present sphere of life and from this place, and be brought up as a gentleman - in a word, as a young fellow of great expectations.

It is important to note Pip's reaction to this news; he is clearly delighted and feels that he is now able to have all he has ever wanted:

My dream was out; my wild fancy was surpassed by sober reality; Miss Havisham was going to make my fortune on a grand scale.

Together with this change in Pip's expectations, he is due to be educated and to be given a maintenance in fitting with his new position. It is clear that Pip expects and hopes that this drastic jump up the social ladder will propel him into the society of Estella and enable him to gain her hand in marriage, yet it is also interesting that in a Chapter of such great news for Pip, there are many indications of disappointment, regret, and sorrow. For example, the chapter ends:

I put my light out, and crept into bed; and it was an uneasy bed now, and I never slept the old sound sleep in it any more.

Despite Pip's overt enthusiasm and joy and receiving his great expectations, it is clear that, unconsciously at least, he recognises a loss and that his life has not necessarily changesd for the better, which of course ties in with a key theme of the novel - that of whether material wealth and social position by themselves can necessarily buy you happiness.

Read the study guide:
Great Expectations

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question