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Great Expectations

by Charles Dickens

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Describe the major events of Pip's second visit to Miss Havisham's house in Great Expectations.

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The biggest difference between Pip’s first visit to Miss Havisham’s and his second visit is that the second time Miss Havisham’s relatives are there.  They do not make a good first impression.

There were three ladies in the room and one gentleman. Before I had been standing at the window five minutes, they somehow conveyed to me that they were all toadies and humbugs, but that each of them pretended not to know that the others were toadies and humbugs. (ch 11, enotes full text pdf p. 56).

This visit is really Pip’s first exposure to the world of insincerity and false fronts that he will become part of as a gentleman in the making.  Interestingly enough  the only sincere player in the day is young Herbert Pocket, who tries to make sense of the absurd situation by launching a fistfight with Pip.

In addition to the fright and guilt that the fight gives him, Miss Havisham points out to Pip where she will be laid to rest when she dies, and shows him her wedding cake (p. 59-60).  It is a morbid sight.

Pip is instructed to aid Miss Havisham in walking around and around the long table. In the center of the table is a decayed bridal cake infested with beetles, spiders, and mice. (enotes summary, ch 10-11)

Miss Havisham clearly does not think any more highly of the relatives than Pip does.  The juxtaposition of the relatives and the wedding decay shows clearly the impact the outside world has had on Miss Havisham, and eventually on Pip.

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Dickens, Charles. "Great Expectations." Web. 09 May 2012. <>.


Dickens, Charles. "Great Expectations." Web. 09 May 2012. <>.

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