What incident takes place between Pip and the pale young gentleman in Great Expectations?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Pip and the pale young gentleman get into a fistfight in Miss Havisham’s yard.

Miss Havisham is having some visitors, and one is a boy about Pip’s age that Pip refers to as the “pale young gentleman.”  For some reason, the boy wants to fight—seemingly for no reason.  Though he is small, Pip is frightened by this seemingly deranged youth.

His spirit inspired me with great respect. He seemed to have no strength, and he never once hit me hard, and he was always knocked down; but he would be up again in a moment… (ch 11, p. 64)

The young man finally gets Pip to fight back, and he hits him more and more and harder and harder until the young gentleman declares that Pip has won.  Estella allows Pip to kiss her.  Pip is later wracked with guilt, and afraid he is going to be arrested.

Pip and the pale young gentleman, whose real name is Herbert Pocket, meet again later when Herbert’s father tutors Pip.  They room together and become the best of friends, and Herbert gives Pip value family information about Miss Havisham and Estella.


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