What causes Pip and Biddy to argue in "Great Expectations"?"Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 35 of "Great Expectations," Pip returns to the marsh in order to attend the funeral of his sister, Mrs. Joe.  Trabb and Company have their protocol for the funeral with which Joe would have dispensed except that neighborhood would "look down on such" as Joe tells Pip.

This comment has its irony attached to it as Pip proves himself rather pompous.  Joe is pleased that Pip asks if he may sleep in his own little room and Pip is

pleased too; for, I felt that I had done rather a great thing in making the request. 

That evening Pip takes the "opportunity of getting into the garden with Biddy."  There he scolds her, asking why she has not written him of "these sad matters."

When Biddy retorts to his remark, Pip says, "Don't suppose that I mean to be  unkind, Biddy...," but Biddy queries, "Do you, Mr. Pip?"

Biddy speaks again and again he upsets Biddy by intimating that she will have to leave the forge.  She tells him with conviction, "Oh! I can't do so, Mr. Pip...."  She feels that Pip reproaches her when he asks how she will live. Pip says he will come often and visit, but Biddy questions him about his coming; Pip is insulted that Biddy doubts him.  She knows he will not come.

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Great Expectations

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