What is the “bad side of human nature” which Pip sees in Biddy in Chapter 35 of "Great Expectations"?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Biddy had previous made a reference to her own "bad side of human nature" in acknowledging to herself the bitterness she feels because of Pip's haughty attitude towards Joe, who loves him.  A good and kind person herself, she cannot help but be angry at the way Pip treats feels that he is superior to Joe, and subjects him to any number of slights and cruelties.  After his sister's death, Pip makes a grand resolve to come visit often so that Joe will not be alone.  Biddy reacts to Pip's proclamation with silence, and when pressed for the reason behind her lack of enthusiasm, responds, "are you quite sure, then, that you WILL come to see him often?"  Because of Pip's snobbish behavior and apparent disregard for the feelings of others since he came into his "expectations", Biddy doesn't believe that Pip will keep his promise.  Although he knows deep down inside that Biddy's doubt is well-founded, Pip is insulted.  Retorting, "dear me...this really is a very bad side of human nature...this shocks me very much", Pip accuses Biddy of being cruel, when in fact she is only being honest" (Chapter 35).

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Great Expectations

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