What is Pip's postion among the guests in Chapter 4 of "Great Expectations"?

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pmiranda2857 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Pip is very uncomfortable among the guests in Chapter 4 for several reasons.  First, he is terrified that the robbery of the pantry will be discovered by Mrs. Joe. 

"Among this good company I should have felt myself, even if I hadn't robbed the pantry, in a false position."


The guests believe that gratitude should be at the centerpiece of the prayer of thanks on this very special holiday. Especially Uncle Pumblechook.  His comments are directed at poor Pip to show gratitude.

"Especially," said Mr. Pumblechook, "be grateful, boy, to them which brought you up by hand."

Then Mrs. Humble brings the groups attention to the ungrateful nature, in general, of young people.

"Why is it that the young are never grateful?"  This moral mystery seemed too much for the company until Mr. Hubble tersely solved it by saying, "Naterally wicious."  Everybody then murmured "True!" and looked at me in a particularly unpleasant and personal manner."

Mrs. Joe brings out the tampered with Brandy, and Pip feels like he is ready to burst with anxiety.

"Have a little brandy, uncle," said my sister. O Heavens, it had come at last!  He would find it was weak, he would say it was weak, and I was lost!  I held tight to the leg of the table under the cloth, with both hands, and awaited my fate."


dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Pip's position among the guests is that of the poor relative, an orphan who is enjoying the benefits of his sister's largesse only because of the goodness of her heart.  He is looked upon as being inferior, both because of his age and his social station.  Pip is treated rudely by the guests, who compare him to a "swine" and admonish him to be grateful for his sister's generosity, which is being bestowed upon him even though he is completely undeserving.  The guests choose to overlook the fact that, although Mrs. Joe has taken Pip in, she terrorizes him with loveless cruelty, frequently beating him with a stick.

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Great Expectations

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