What are some of the important events in Great Expectations?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

1. Another significant event in Pip's journey to maturity, is his detour after having gone with Joe to Miss Havisham to sign the papers of indenture.  Afterwards, Pumblechook, "that basest of swindlers," arrives at the Gargery's to wish Pip the "joy of the money."  During the celebration, Pip is wretched and feels that he will not like Joe's trade, not now:

It is a most miserable thing to feel ashamed at home.  home had never been a very pleasant place to me....But Joe had sanctified it, and I believed in it....I had belieed in the kitchen as a chaste though not magificent apartment; I had believed in the forge as the glowing road to manhood and independence.  Within a single year all this was hanged.  Now, it was all coarse and common, and would not have had Miss Havisham and Estella see it on any account.

At this point, Pip has lost sight of the real values in life, and does not return to them until Stage Three of Great Expectations

2. However, from Matthew Pocket Pip learns that a true gentleman at heart is a true gentlman in manner. And, he sees this aphorism exemplified in the person of Mr. Jaggers's clerk, Wemmick, who demonstrates great love and devotion to his aged father.  This solicitation is mirrored as Wemmick makes his rounds at Newgate Prison yet in this situation, Wemmick shows little emotion in Chapter XXXII.

3. Certainly, when Pip visits Miss Havisham for the last time, significant events occur.  She asks him to write upon a piece of paper, under her name, that he forgives her:  "There was an earnest womanly compasion for me in her new affection."  After having signed his name, Pip glances back at Miss Havisham seated before the fire.  Just then, Pip sees "a great flaming light" and poor Miss Havisham has caught her decrepit wedding dress on fire.  After the doctor leaves and a bed made for Miss Havisham she echoes her plea:

"Take the pencil and write under my name, 'I forgive her.'"

 

 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

As you know, this is a really long book and so there are a ton of important events. I would say that the main ones are:

  • Pip meets the convicts out in the marshes at the start of the book.
  • Pip is sent to Miss Havisham's place to play with Estella.
  • Pip gets the news that he is going to be sent to London to become a gentleman.
  • Magwitch comes back to London and Pip finds out that he is the one who had been giving Pip the money to become a gentleman.
  • Magwitch is captured and dies.

But there really are a lot of other important events as well, such as Mrs. Joe getting attacked, Pip getting to know Wemmick, Miss Havisham dying, Pip's relationship with Estella...

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial