What does Pip do when he finds out that he can get five hundred pounds as a yearly income?  Great Expectations by Charles Dickens 

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 36 of Great Expectations Pip comes of age, as does Herbert.  With this momentous occasion, Pip comes to Mr. Jaggers office and is given 500 pounds after being afforded the opportunity to ask a question.  However, Mr. Jaggers refuses to tell him who his benefactor is when Pip asks, but tells him that when the benefactor does reveal himself, then Mr. Jaggers's duties are finished.  Releasing Pip, Mr. Jaggers tells Pip that he will receive 125 pounds a quarter. 

Then, Pip goes to Mr. Wemmick's office and speaks with him about his wish to help a friend (Herbert), asking Wemmick for advice.  Wemmick's reaction is strong; he tells Pip to go on one of the bridges of London and throw his money from it: 

"Serve a friend with it [money] and you may know the end of it, too--but it's a less pleasant and profitable end."

Wemmick then advises Pip to invest in "portable property," rather than friends. But, when Pip asks Wemmick if his opinion would be different at Walworth, Wemmick says that Walworth is a different thing.  So, after Wemmick also tells Pip that he is welcome at Walworth, Pip decides that he will ask his friend's advice again when he goes to his house.


M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Despite of the warnings he was given, Pip really was excited about helping Clarriker open his business so that Herbert could become his business partner, hence ultimately benefiting Pip in the end as well. Once Herbert were strong and established, Pip would be able to move away with him and the rest of the family as a consequence. So, when Pip got his first income check he put a down payment of half of the 500 pounds and then agreed with Clarrik to pay equal sums each time he got paid so that he could become basically a "co-chair" or "co-owner" of the business and Herbert would run it.  However, he was told by his esquires that doing so would be as beneficial as choosing any of the bridges in England and throwing the money down the river. Pip, however, continued with his plans.

kgrashot | Student

Pip behaves badly in society (mostly over jealousy of Estella) and squanders his allowance, running into debt. He is rescued on his 21st birthday, when he is notified by Jaggers that he is awarded 500 pounds (equal to £36,000 today) and an increased steady allowance, until such a time as his benefactor will appear and make himself known to Pip.

Magwitch makes himself known to Pip

Pip originally believes Miss Havisham is his benefactress (and so the reader is led to believe, as well) for several years as he begins to learn to be a gentleman, helped by the now grown Herbert Pocket, (whom he discovers is the young man he fought at Satis House as a boy), who is assigned as his companion. Pip returns to the village often, however rarely visiting his family and instead visiting Miss Havisham. For several years Estella had been studying abroad in Europe (a fashionable tradition of women's educaton for the wealthy at the time), upon her return Pip finds Estella much changed and her attitude refined. She apologizes for her earlier cruelty however, seeing Pip's affections warns him that he should not fall in love with her. Pip ignores these repeated warnings as he long harbored the belief that Miss Havisham (as his benefactress) intended them for each other. Estella continues to warn him that her heart is cold and cannot love him and entreats him to take her seriously, but he refuses, still believing they will be married and that her heart is not as cold as she claims.

During this time, Mrs. Joe dies. Pip returns home to the funeral where Biddy confides in him that Orlick has made several unwanted advances toward her. Pip is infuriated and warns Orlick to stay away from Biddy, however Orlick continues to harass Biddy after Pip is gone.

Pip returns to London, heavily in debt which increases by the day. Having led Herbert into debt as well, Pip feels a deep sense of remorse for his irresponsible actions. In one of Dickens' patented plot twists, Pip's benefactor turns out to be instead Abel Magwitch, the convict whom Pip helped, who had been transported to New South Wales, where he had eventually prospered and become extremely wealthy.

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Great Expectations

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