In Chapter Two of Great Expectations, what object that Pip takes makes him feel guilty and nearly gets him discovered?

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

He steals several things from home that day--food, a pork pie, brandy, and Joe's file.   It is the pork pie, the brandy, and the file that almost get him caught.  When he stole the brandy, he replaced it with tar water, which makes one of their guests incredibly sick.  So not only did he steal the liquor, he also inadverdently made someone sick from the action.  This startles the entire family; next, Pip's sister goes to get the pork pie.  Gratefully, they are distracted by the soldiers.  The soldiers have discovered the filed handcuffs; Magwitch had used Joe's file to saw them open.  The soldiers realize the file must have come from Joe's forge.  This is awful because then Joe looks guilty, and Pip feels horrible.  He has to decide whether or not to confess his crimes.  Fortunately, Magwitch covers for him, and he gets off the hook.

So, stealing almost caught up to Pip in several ways in the opening chapters of the book, each item causing alarm, harm and intrigue.  I hope that those thoughts helped; good luck!

kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter Two of Great Expectations, Pip steals food for the convict, Magwitch, from the pantry of his home. The first item he steals is a slice of bread and butter, which he conceals down his trouser leg. He feels enormous guilt as a result of this act because, in Pip's mind, he is stealing from his sister, Mrs. Joe:

"The guilty knowledge that I was going to rob Mrs. Joe…almost drove me out of my mind."

Pip is almost caught, however, when Joe notices that the slice of bread and butter has disappeared. Joe thinks the boy is suffering a "loss of appetite" and is made so "uncomfortable" that Mrs. Joe immediately notices and doses Pip with medicine.

Later that evening, Pip goes on to steal even more items from the house, including some cheese, mincemeat, and brandy. Clearly, for Pip, the fear of Magwitch is even greater than the fear of being caught by Mrs. Joe. 

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Great Expectations

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