In Great Expectations, how does Pip attempt to protect Magwitch?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Abel Magwitch suddenly appears at Pip's apartment and informs Pip that he is the benefactor, Pip's dreams are shattered because he has built his "great expectations" upon an unmentionable in society, deserting Joe for a repellent convict.  Sitll, he worries about the convict's safety having heard footsteps on the stairs.  Since Magwitch can be recognized in London and he faces certain death if caught, Pip suggests that Magwitch pass as his "uncle," using his shipboard name of Provis.  "Provis" agrees and gives Pip a thick pocketbook.

Later on, Pip visits Mr. Wemmick, who suggests that Pip lodge Magwitch at the house of Herbert's fiancee, who lives with her father in a quiet house away from "the usual heap of streets" and Pip can easily get news of Magwitch, and then, when the time is write Pip can "slip" Magwitch out when the time is right since the house is near a shipyard.

One morning Pip gets a letter advising him to enact his plan; he and Herbert put Provis, now lodged as "Campbell" on a small boat that they row, intending to reach near Kent and Essez; from there the ex-convict can jump onto the steamer for Hamburg. During the night, Pip and Herbert see two men peering into their boat.and the captain demands Abel Magwitch be turned over to the authorities.  The next morning as they prepare to board a steamer, a four=oared galley shoots out from the bank a little ways beyond them. The two boats come alongside each other and the galley's steersman calls on them to surrender Magwitch, driving his boat into Pip's.  Magwitch pulls the cloak off the man sitting in the other boat--it is Compeyson.  Magwitch, taken aboard the other boy, attacks Compeyson; they fall into the water.  Magwitch appears with a severe chest injury and a deep cut in the head, but here is no sign of Compeyson.

After this incident, Pip loses his repugnance for Jarvis.  Now he only sees a man who wanted to repay a kindness.  He visits Magwitch in the prison hospital and is by his side when Magwitch dies.

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Great Expectations

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