Illustration of Pip visiting a graveyard

Great Expectations

by Charles Dickens

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Where was Pip born?

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The name of the town where Pip was born and spent his childhood and youth is not named, but it is modeled after Rochester, a large town in the county of Kent in southeastern England. Rochester, situated on the coast of the North Sea, was a significant place for Charles Dickens. He lived there and vacationed there often. Though it is on the coast, there are places where the town is separated from the water by marshes, such as those that play a significant role in the first chapters of Great Expectations. There was a real “Satis House” in Rochester, but there are parts of another house called Restoration House in the town that form a model for the home of Miss Havisham and Estella. It is about 30 miles from London, where Pip went to become a gentleman.

Pip’s parents had lived in this town for some time before Pip was born, as is evident from the graves of his siblings that he visited in the churchyard by the marshes. Pip’s sister, Mrs. Joe, has settled down in this town along with Joe Gargery, her husband. It is likely that she also is a native of the town.

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