How has Pip changed in Chapter 34 of Great Expectations?

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scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

By Chapter 34, Pip has begun to realize that becoming a gentleman or a person of importance is not as satisfying as he imagined.  Once a person who longed to escape the drudgery of the forge, Pip now sits in London wishing to be back with Joe.  In connection to his nostalgia, Pip feels uneasy about his relationship with Joe and Biddy.  He knows that since he came to London he has become rather snobbish, and he treated Joe poorly when he came to visit.  The old Pip idolized Joe and saw him as one of his few supporters before Mr. Jaggers entered his life.

It is also in Chapter 34 that Pip begins to spend money foolishly and influences Herbert to do the same.  He joins a club of spendthrifts and says that they

spent as much money as [they] could, and got as little for it as people could make up their minds to give [them] (296).

This quote from Pip demonstrates that he has lost sight of his goal. He originally longed to be a gentleman so that he could win Estella. Now that she seems out of reach (at least for the time being), he has resorted to using money lavishly--something that he never would have done before.

At the end of Chapter 34, Pip receives a note saying that his invalid sister has passed away; so Dickens sets the scene for a possible return on Pip's part to his roots.

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Great Expectations

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