Where/when does Pip experience redemption in Great Expectations? Charles Dickens's Great Expectations

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the classic Dickens novel, Great Expectations, Pip redeems himself when he ceases to be selfish. Having rejected Joe because he was "coarse," Pip avoids visiting the forge, staying at the Blue Boar Inn whenever he visits Estella.  He prefers the company of Herbert and the other gentlemen of London, while also aspiring to attain the love of what he perceives his young lady of fortune, Estella.  In Chapter 40, Magwitch, who goes by Provis and risks his life by coming to London to visit Pip, embarrasses Pip by his arrival.  Repulsed by his crude manners and the idea that he, rather than Miss Havisham, is his benefactor, Pip strives to rid himself of the old convict.  However, when he and Herbert try to effect Provis's escape onto a ship, Provis is mortally injured.  At this point, Pip feels pity for the old man who has had such an unfortunate past.  So, he tends him and consoles Provis in his final moments, praying at the end for his soul.

In another unselfish act in Chapter 49, Pip first forgives Miss Havisham for her cruel exploitation of him as one on whom Estella has practiced Miss Havisham's revenge upon the male race.  Later as he returns to her quarters, he rescues the pathetic woman who has sat too close to the fire.  Pip is burned in his efforts--a cleansing by fire, so to speak.  Coming to aid the injured and sick Pip is his old friend, Joe Gargery.  When he comes to himself, Pip begs Joe to forgive him for his rejection.  Of course, Joe heartily replies, "Ever the best of friends, Pip, old chap."  Clearly, Pip's unselfish attempts to save both Provis/Magwitch and Miss Havisham are redemptive actions.

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Great Expectations

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