In Chapter 19, what point is Dickens making with Mr. Trabb?  Please include textual support.

Expert Answers
lynnebh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In this chapter, Pip has just learned of his mysterious benefactor, and he visits Mr. Trabb, who is a tailor, to get a proper suit of clothes ready. When Pip enters the shop, Trabb is eating. When he sees that it is Pip, he pays no attention to him. Pip, however, quickly tells Trabb of his good fortune, and immediately, Trabb starts fawning over Pip:

“My dear sir,” said Mr. Trabb, as he respectfully bent his body, opened his arms, and took the liberty of touching me on the outside of each elbow, “don't hurt me by mentioning that. May congratulate you? Would you do me the favour of stepping into the shop?”

Pip really lets this go to his head because he has not yet learned how a gentleman is supposed to act. It is all new to him and he supposes that he should probably act in a manner befitting his new station in life. He has just had a conversation with Biddy that totally surprises him because Biddy is reacting to Pip's newfound snobbery and Pip mistakenly thinks she is jealous.

Trabb continues to fawn over Pip, asking him to put in a good word for him in London, hoping that Pip will continue to frequent his tailor shop:

“I know, sir, that London gentlemen cannot be expected to patronise local work, as a rule; but if you would give me a turn now and then in the quality of a townsman, I should greatly esteem it. Good morning, sir, much obliged.—Door!”

Also, Trabb now refers to Pip as "sir" and Pip gets more and more puffed up the longer he is in the tailor shop. Trabb also brings out more and more expensive fabric, and Pip chooses the most expensive cloth for his suit. This is actually step one in Pip's rise to snobbery on the way to his "great expectations."

Read the study guide:
Great Expectations

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question