Great Expectations Summary

Great Expectations summary

In Great Expectations, Pip falls in love with Estella, the daughter of a wealthy woman named Miss Havisham. He attempts to win over Estella by becoming a gentleman, but fails. He later moves to Cairo to become a clerk.

Great Expectations summary key points:

  • Young Pip lives with his abusive sister and kind brother-in-law, Joe. Pip brings a convict food and a file to escape, but the convict is recaptured the next day.

  • Upon his uncle’s request, Pip visits the wealthy Miss Havisham and falls in love with her adopted daughter Estella.

  • Pip, financed by Miss Havisham, becomes a blacksmith’s apprentice, but wishes to be a gentleman so as to win over Estella. A mysterious benefactor grants him his wish.

  • Pip goes to London and spends beyond his means. He learns Magwitch, the convict he helped, is his benefactor. Estella plans to marry another man.

  • Miss Havisham dies, Pip discovers Estella is Magwitch’s daughter, Magwitch dies in prison, Joe pays off Pip’s debts, and Pip goes to Cairo to become a clerk. Later he reconnects with a widowed, kinder Estella.


Summary of the Novel
Great Expectations can be divided into three stages in the life of Pip. The first stage presents Pip as an orphan being raised by an unkind sister who resents him, and her husband, who offers him kindness and love. While visiting the tombstones of his parents in the cemetery, Pip encounters a convict and is made to bring him food and a file the next day. Pip’s convict and a second convict are caught by soldiers of the Crown and returned to the prison ships (the Hulks).

Uncle Pumblechook arranges for Pip to go to Miss Havisham’s house to play, and there he meets and falls in love with Estella. Pip returns to Miss Havisham’s house to walk her around the decayed banquet table every other day for nearly 10 months. Miss Havisham rewards Pip for his service by paying for his apprenticeship to become a blacksmith with Joe.

Pip is unhappy with his position and longs to become a gentleman in order that he may eventually win Estella’s affection. One day a lawyer, Mr. Jaggers, comes to tell Pip that a beneficiary has left him great fortunes. Pip is to go to London to become a gentleman. Pip believes that the benefactor is Miss Havisham.

The second stage of Pip’s life takes place in London where he becomes friends with Herbert Pocket. The two young men live beyond their means and fall deeply in debt. Pip makes friends with Mr. Jaggers’ clerk, Mr. Wemmick, and enjoys visiting him at his Castle. Pip is told the background of Miss Havisham and her ill-fated wedding day. He also is embarrassed by a visit from Joe. An unexpected visit from his convict reveals that the convict, not Miss Havisham, is his benefactor. The man’s name is Magwitch; he is the one to whom Pip had brought food in the churchyard. This knowledge begins the change in Pip from ungrateful snobbery to the humility associated with Joe and home.

The third stage in Pip’s life solves all the remaining mysteries of the novel. Compeyson, the second convict who was Magwitch’s enemy, is drowned when Pip tries to aid Magwitch in his escape from London. Pip finds out who Estella’s mother and father are. Pip is rescued from Orlick. Magwitch dies in prison, and Pip becomes a clerk in Cairo with Herbert. He returns 11 years later and finds Estella at the site of Satis House. The more popular ending indicated that they stayed together.

Estimated Reading Time

Four weeks should be allowed for the study of Great Expectations. Three weeks will be required to read the novel, reading four chapters at a sitting. The student should read every day from Monday through Friday. After reading the chapters, the student should answer all study questions in this book to ensure understanding and comprehension. The essay questions may be used if needed. The fourth week is set aside for reports, projects, and testing as deemed necessary by the teacher.

Great Expectations Summary

(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Not one of Dickens’s child characters enjoys a happy and uncomplicated relationship with two living parents. In his fiction, Dickens found it necessary not only to orphan himself of the parents who shamed him but also to re-create them in ideal shapes—and sometimes, too, to be fair to them. That is what happens in Great Expectations. What strikes one most powerfully about this compact and streamlined narrative—technically, perhaps Dickens’s best—is the excessive and apparently unmotivated guilt of its hero: guilt, perhaps, for the terrible snobbery into which he falls as he tries to climb the social ladder,guilt at his rejection of his parents, or the guilt of the human condition.

Pip is a village orphan brought up roughly by his unmotherly sister (her bosom bristles with pins), the wife of gentle blacksmith Joe Gargery. In the first chapter of the novel, on the memorable day when he becomes aware for the first time of his identity and his place in a hostile world, Pip meets, in the graveyard where his parents lie buried, a shivering, ravenous, and monstrous man, an escapee from the prison ships across the marshes, who terrorizes Pip into stealing food and drink for him. The convict is eventually recaptured, but not before Pip (and Joe) has come to pity him or before he has lied that it was he who stole a pie and brandy from the Gargery larder.

Next, Pip also meets the rich, weird recluse Miss Havisham, who lives in a darkened and dusty room where time has stood still, dressed always in a yellowing wedding dress. He falls in love with her petulant and beautiful ward, Estella, whom the old woman is training to break men’s hearts as vengeance for her own abandonment at the altar.

Some years later, a lawyer named Jaggers appears at the smithy with the news that Pip, now Joe’s apprentice, has been left a fortune and is to become a gentleman. Pip leaves for London, and inevitably a wedge is driven between him and his best friend, illiterate Joe, of whom Pip sinks so low as to become ashamed. Miss Havisham (the wordplay on “sham” is appropriate) lets Pip believe that it is she who is his benefactor, but the real benefactor is actually the least likely person imaginable: Magwitch, the monstrous convict, who has made good in Australia and now returns to England (thereby breaking the rules of his sentence) in hopes that the boy he has “made” will return his devoted affection. Pip is horrified and disgusted: His money is contaminated. The lesson of love and human decency that he must learn comes very hard indeed. Yet he learns it: By the time poor Magwitch is reclaimed by justice, Pip is prepared to stand holding his hand in the public court. Thankfully, Magwitch dies in prison before he can be hanged. Pip himself now falls seriously ill and is nursed back to life by Joe. No one, however, can turn back the clock: The moment Pip is better, Joe (calling him “sir”) retreats to the village. Pip’s loneliness at the end of the novel seems mediated only by a vague promise that a chastened Estella may some day be his—a modification of the harsher original ending Dickens had intended.

Great Expectations is psychologically Dickens’s most mature and realistic novel, although it works through his usual system of displacements and dark doublings. Loutish Orlick, Joe’s other apprentice, for example, seems to function as Pip’s alter ego when he attacks his uncaring sister, Mrs. Joe. It is also a novel that depicts the powerful influence of environment as well as of heredity: Magwitch, the convict, and bitter Miss Havisham were themselves both abused and lonely as children. For all of its somber coloring, however, the novel is also riotously funny in the characteristically Dickensian mode of excess: Pontificating Uncle Pumblechook, a seed merchant who subjected the boy Pip to humiliation over Christmas dinner, gets his poetic comeuppance, Joe reports, when Orlick robs him, “stuff[ing] his mouth full of flowering annuals to perwent his crying out.”

Great Expectations Summary

(Critical Survey of Literature for Students)

Little Pip was left an orphan when he was a small boy, and his much older sister grudgingly rears him in her cottage. Pip’s brother-in-law, Joe Gargery, on the other hand, is kind and loving to the boy. Pip often wanders alone in the marsh country where he lives with his sister and Joe. One day, he is accosted by a wild-looking stranger who is an escaped prisoner. He frightens Pip and demands that the boy secretly bring him food and a file to cut the iron chain that binds his leg. When Pip brings him a pork pie and file, he sees another mysterious figure on the marsh. This man engages in a desperate struggle with the escaped prisoner, then escapes into the fog. The man Pip aids promises that he will somehow repay the boy for helping him. He is later apprehended.

Mrs. Joe sends Pip to the large mansion of strange Miss Havisham upon that lady’s request. Miss Havisham lives in a gloomy, locked house where all the clocks were stopped on the day her bridegroom failed to appear for the wedding ceremony. She often dresses in her bridal robes; a wedding breakfast molds on the table in an unused room. Pip goes there every day to visit the old lady and a beautiful young girl, named Estella, who delights in tormenting the shy boy. Miss Havisham enjoys watching the two children together, and she encourages Estella in her haughty teasing of Pip.

Living in the grim atmosphere of Joe’s blacksmith shop and the uneducated poverty of his sister’s home, Pip is eager to learn. One day, a London solicitor named Jaggers presents him with the opportunity to go to London and become a gentleman. Both Pip and Joe accept the proposal. Pip imagines that his kind backer is Miss Havisham and that perhaps she wants to make a gentleman out of him so that he will be fit someday to marry Estella.

In London, Pip finds a small apartment set up for him. Herbert Pocket, a young relative of Miss Havisham, is his living companion. When Pip needs money, he is instructed to go to Mr. Jaggers. Although Pip pleads with the lawyer to disclose the name of his benefactor, Jaggers advises the eager young man not to make inquiries; when the proper time arrives, Pip’s benefactor will be made known.

Soon Pip becomes one of a small group of London dandies, among them a disagreeable chap named Bentley Drummle. To Pip’s dismay, Joe comes to visit; Pip, who has outgrown his rural background, is ashamed of Joe’s simple manners, but Herbert cheerfully helps Pip to entertain Joe in their apartment. After he leaves for the evening, Pip feels ashamed of himself. Joe had brought word that Miss Havisham wants to see the young man, so Pip returns to his old home with his brother-in-law. Miss Havisham and Estella note the changes in Pip, and when Estella leaves Pip alone with the old lady, she tells him he must fall in love with the beautiful girl. She also says it is time for Estella to come to London, and that she wishes Pip to meet her adopted daughter when she arrives. This request makes Pip feel even more certain that he was sent to London by Miss Havisham to be groomed to marry Estella.

Estella is not in London long before she has many suitors. Of all the men who court her, she seems to favor Bentley. Pip sees Estella frequently. Although she treats him kindly and with friendship, he knows she does not return his love.

On his twenty-first birthday, Pip receives a caller. It is Abel Magwitch, the man whom Pip helped in the marsh many years earlier. He tells Pip that it is he who has been financing him ever since he came to London. At first, the boy is horrified to discover he owes so much to this crude, coarse man, a former criminal. Magwitch tells Pip that he was sent to the Colonies, where he grew rich. Now he wants Pip to enjoy all the privileges that he himself had been denied in life. He returned to England to see the boy to whom he has tried to be a second father. He warns Pip that he is in danger should his presence be discovered, for it is certain death for a prisoner to return to England once he has been sent to a convict colony. Pip detests his plight. He realizes that Miss Havisham had nothing to do with his great expectations in life, but he is too conscious of his debt to consider abandoning the man whose person he dislikes. He determines to do all in his power to please his benefactor. Magwitch, who is using the name Provis to hide his identity, tells Pip that the man with whom Pip saw him struggling long ago in the marsh is his enemy, Compeyson, who has vowed to destroy him. Herbert, a distant cousin of Miss Havisham, informs Pip that the lover who betrayed her on her wedding day was named Arthur Compeyson.

Pip goes to see Miss Havisham to denounce her for having allowed him to believe that she is helping him. On his arrival, he is informed that Estella is to marry Bentley. Since Miss Havisham suffered at the hands of one faithless man, she reared Estella to inflict as much hurt as possible upon the many men who would fall in love with her. Estella reminds Pip that she warned him not to fall in love with her, since she has no compassion for any human being. Pip returns once more to visit Miss Havisham after Estella is married. An accident starts a fire in the old, dust-filled mansion; although Pip tries to save the old woman, she dies in the blaze, which also badly damages the gloomy house.

From Provis’s story of his association with Compeyson and from other evidence, Pip learns that Provis is Estella’s father; he does not reveal his discovery to anyone but Jaggers, whose housekeeper is Estella’s mother. Pip also learns that Compeyson is in London and plotting to kill Provis. In order to protect the man who tried to befriend him, Pip arranges to smuggle Provis across the channel to France with the help of Herbert. Pip intends to join the old man there. Elaborate and secretive as their plans are, Compeyson manages to overtake them as they are putting Provis on the boat. The two enemies fight one last battle in the water, and Provis kills his enemy. He is then taken to jail, where he dies before he can be brought to trial.

When Pip falls ill shortly afterward, it is Joe who comes to nurse him. Older and wiser from his many experiences, Pip realizes that he no longer needs to be ashamed of the kind man who gave so much love to him when he was a boy. His sister, Mrs. Joe, had died and Joe had married again, this time very happily. Pip, still desolate and unhappy because of his lost Estella, returns to the blacksmith’s home to recuperate. Later, Herbert and Pip set up business together in London.

Eleven years pass before Pip goes to see Joe again. Curiosity leads him to the site of Miss Havisham’s former mansion. There he finds Estella, now a widow, wandering over the grounds. During the intervening years, she lost her cool aloofness and softened a great deal. She tells Pip she has thought of him often. Pip is able to foresee that perhaps he and Estella will never have to part again. The childhood friends walk hand in hand from the place that had once played such an enormous part in both of their lives.

Great Expectations Overview

Great Expectations, many readers' favorite Dickens novel, is immensely popular for its self-portrait of the author and for the warmth,...

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Great Expectations Summary

The First Stage of Pip's Expectations
Charles Dickens' Great Expectations opens as seven-year-old Philip...

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Great Expectations Summary and Analysis

Great Expectations Part 1, Chapter 1 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Pip (Philip Pirrip): a young boy about six or seven years of age who is the narrator of the novel

Mrs. Joe Gargery: Pip’s sister

First Convict: a man who is hiding in the cemetery and threatens to kill Pip by cutting out his heart and liver if he does not bring him “wittles” (food) and a file

“Philip Pirrip, Late Of This Parish”: inscription written on Pip’s father’s tombstone

“Georgiana Wife Of The Above”: inscription written on Pip’s mother’s tombstone

Alexander, Bartholomew Abraham Tobias, Roger: Pip’s brothers who died as infants; their tombstones are located next to the...

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Great Expectations Part 1, Chapter 2 and 3 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Joe Gargery: a blacksmith who is married to Pip’s sister

Second Convict: an escaped convict from the hulks who has a bruise on his left cheek

Pip runs home from the churchyard only to be informed by Joe that his sister is out looking for him. His sister is 20 years older than Pip and is described as “not a good-looking woman … with black hair and eyes and a prevailing redness of skin.” Joe, on the other hand, is gentle and protective towards Pip and is described as “a fair man, with curls of flaxen hair on each side of his smooth face.” Mrs. Joe returns to the house, and upon finding Pip there, throws him across the room,...

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Great Expectations Part 1, Chapter 4 and 5 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Mr. Wopsle: the clerk at church and a guest at the Gargery’s Christmas dinner

Mr. Hubble: the wheelwright (one who makes and repairs wheels) and a guest at the Gargery’s Christmas dinner

Mrs. Hubble: wife of the wheelwright, also a guest at the Gargery’s

Uncle Pumblechook: Joe’s uncle, a well-to-do corn chandler (grain merchant) and a guest at the Gargery’s

Sergeant and His Soldiers: men in pursuit of the two escaped convicts; they stop at the Gargery house to have some handcuffs repaired

As the chapter opens, Mrs. Joe is busily cleaning and getting ready for the holiday dinner while Joe and Pip...

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Great Expectations Part 1, Chapter 6 and 7 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Mr. Wopsle’s Great-Aunt: keeps an evening school in the village and also runs a general store

Biddy: runs Mr. Wopsle’s great-aunt’s general store and is her granddaughter; she is an orphan

Miss Havisham: mysterious rich lady who lives in town and leads a secluded life

Pip is one year older, and although he attends Mr. Wopsle’s great-aunt’s evening school in the village, it is Biddy who teaches him to read and write. Joe and Pip sit by the hearth and Pip writes Joe a letter. Joe is impressed by Pip’s awkward but scholarly endeavor and praises him. Pip asks Joe to read it, but Joe can only read the letters “JO.”...

(The entire section is 643 words.)

Great Expectations Part 1, Chapter 8 and 9 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Estella: a young girl about the same age as Pip who lives with Miss Havisham

Pip goes home with Mr. Pumblechook and is sent directly to bed. In the morning Pip is given bread crumbs and diluted milk while Mr. Pumblechook drills him in math. At ten o’clock they go to Miss Havisham’s house which is dismal and closed up. Some of the windows are walled up while most of the remaining ones are encased in iron bars. The courtyard in front is also barred. There is an old brewery on one side of the house and the unkempt grounds are overgrown with tangled weeds. Pip and Mr. Pumblechook stand at the gate waiting to be let in. Estella lets only Pip in and...

(The entire section is 901 words.)

Great Expectations Part 1, Chapter 10 and 11 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Stranger at the Three Jolly Bargemen: questions Joe about Pip and stirs his rum with Joe’s file

Mrs. Camilla, Cousin Raymond, Sarah Pocket, Georgiana Pocket: relatives of Miss Havisham who come to visit her on her birthday in hopes that they will be rewarded monetarily one day

Gentleman coming downstairs at Miss Havisham’s: stops Pip on his way up to see Miss Havisham

Pale Young Gentleman: fights with Pip in the garden at Miss Havisham’s

Following his visit to Miss Havisham’s, Pip decides to learn everything he can to become uncommon. Mr. Wopsle’s great-aunt’s evening school offers him no educational...

(The entire section is 881 words.)

Great Expectations Part 1, Chapter 12 and 13 Summary and Analysis

Pip worries about the fight with the pale young gentleman and wonders if he will be severely disciplined for hitting the young boy. He is afraid to return to Miss Havisham’s, but after searching the scene of the fight and surveying the overlooking windows, Pip decides that no punishment is to come to him. He finds that Miss Havisham must now be pushed in a wheelchair when she becomes too tired to walk, and that sometimes they walk for as long as three hours. Pip returns every other day for about eight to ten months, and as they walk, they talk.

Miss Havisham often asks Pip if Estella is growing prettier. She then whispers to Estella to “break their hearts, my pride and hope, break...

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Great Expectations Part 1, Chapter 14 and 15 Summary and Analysis

New Character
Dolge Orlick: a journeyman working for Joe who has great strength and is always slouching; he is 25 years of age and dislikes Pip

Pip begins his apprenticeship to Joe and feels that “it is a most miserable thing to feel ashamed of home.” Pip realizes that he could have run off and become a sailor, but it is because of Joe that he does not. He fears that Estella will come to the forge and see him at his dirtiest, and he imagines her face in the flames of the fire in the forge. Pip is still trying to learn all he can to become uncommon, receiving lessons from not only Biddy, but Mr. Wopsle as well. Everything Pip learns he tries to teach to Joe...

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Great Expectations Part 1, Chapter 16 and 17 Summary and Analysis

After Mrs. Joe is attacked, Pip feels guilt and goes over and over the evidence and circumstances of the attack. Joe had been at the Three Jolly Bargemen; Orlick had been in town and even walked home with him and Mr. Wopsle. Nothing had been taken or disturbed at the house; however, an important piece of evidence was found beside Mrs. Joe—a convict’s leg iron. After looking at the iron, Joe decides that it had been filed off a long time ago. Pip believes that the iron belongs to the first convict, but he does not believe that his convict is the one who attacked his sister. Pip suspects the attacker to be either Orlick or the stranger who stirred his rum with Joe’s file, and he feels guilty...

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Great Expectations Part 1, Chapter 18 and 19 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Mr. Jaggers: a lawyer from London who informs Pip of his great expectations; he is to be Pip’s guardian

Mr. Trabb: a tailor in the village who makes Pip’s new clothes

Mr. Trabb’s Boy: a young boy who works for Mr. Trabb and treats Pip with disdain

Pip has been an apprentice to Joe for four years. He, Joe, Mr. Wopsle, and some other villagers are in the Three Jolly Bargemen enjoying Mr. Wopsle’s dramatic reading about a murder case in the newspaper. A stranger challenges the group concerning jumping to conclusions about a person’s guilt and makes Mr. Wopsle feel insignificant. The stranger asks for Joe and Pip to...

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Great Expectations Part 2, Chapter 20 and 21 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Mr. John Wemmick: Mr. Jagger’s clerk in London

Mr. Pocket, Jr.: Herbert Pocket, also known as the “pale young gentleman” in Chapters 10 and 11; he is to be Pip’s roommate in London

Pip, anticipating great expectations, is dismayed with London which is located about five hours from his village. He is not prepared for the ugliness and filthiness of the city. He is brought down a “gloomy” street to Mr. Jaggers’ office, described by Pip as “a most dismal place.”

Pip tires of waiting for Mr. Jaggers’ return and goes walking, where he encounters the jail, Newgate Prison, the gallows, and many people speaking...

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Great Expectations Part 2, Chapter 22 and 23 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Handel: a name given to Pip by Herbert Pocket

Belinda Pocket: wife of Matthew Pocket, quite helpless and dependent upon her nurses; she is obsessed with titles, positions, and luxury

Matthew Pocket: Pip’s tutor and father of Herbert Pocket

Flopson and Millers: two nurses working for Mr. and Mrs. Pocket

Bentley Drummle: a student of Mr. Pocket

Startop: a student of Mr. Pocket

Mrs. Coiler: a “toady” neighbor to Mr. and Mrs. Pocket , also a widow

Jane: one of the Pocket’s young daughters who helps take care of the other children

Joe and Fanny: children of the Pockets

Sophia: a...

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Great Expectations Part 2, Chapter 24 and 25 Summary and Analysis

New Character
Aged Parent: Mr. Wemmick’s deaf father who lives with him at Walworth

Pip learns from Mr. Pocket that he is not being trained for any particular profession, but he is to be educated enough to “hold my (Pip) own with the average of young men in prosperous circumstances.” Pip decides to keep his room at Barnard’s Inn as well as his room at Mr. Pocket’s home. He asks Mr. Jaggers for enough money to buy the furniture, which is at the time only rented, at Barnard’s Inn. Mr. Jaggers forces Pip to set the amount and has Mr. Wemmick give him that exact amount.

Wemmick introduces Pip to the other clerks in the office who he finds...

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Great Expectations Part 2, Chapter 26 and 27 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
The Spider: the name Mr. Jaggers gives to Bentley Drummle

Molly: Mr. Jaggers’ housekeeper who has great strength in her wrists

Pepper: also called the Avenger; a servant who works for Pip

Mr. Jaggers invites Pip and his friends to dinner. Pip finds his house bare and neglected. Dinner is served by Mr. Jaggers from a dumbwaiter. Mr. Jaggers takes a liking to Bentley Drummle and refers to the “blotchy, sprawly, sulky fellow” as “the Spider.” The housekeeper appears, and Mr. Jaggers tells her to show her wrists to the guests. Her wrists are “disfigured—deeply scarred and scarred across and across.” Mr. Jaggers...

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Great Expectations Part 2, Chapter 28 and 29 Summary and Analysis

Pip prepares to return immediately to see Estella. He knows he needs to stay at the forge with Joe while he is there, but he invents all kinds of reasons why it would be better for him to stay at the Blue Boar in the village. “I should be an inconvenience at Joe’s; I was not expected, and my bed would not be ready; I should be too far from Miss Havisham’s, and she was exacting and mightn’t like it.”

Pip boards the coach heading for home with two convicts who are accompanied by a jailor returning them to the Hulks. Pip recognizes one of the convicts as the mysterious stranger who stirred his rum with Joe’s file so long ago at the Three Jolly Bargemen. Pip is relieved that he has...

(The entire section is 989 words.)

Great Expectations Part 2, Chapter 30 and 31 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Clara: Herbert’s fiancee

Mr. Waldengarver: a name Mr. Wopsle is using as a stage name

While still staying at the Blue Boar, Pip confides to Mr. Jaggers that he does not believe that Orlick is the right man to have a position of trust with Miss Havisham. Mr. Jaggers agrees and assures Pip that it will be taken care of. As Pip walks through the village, most of the people make it a point of seeing him because of his fortunes. However, Trabb’s boy ridicules and aggravates him by bowing down to him and then following him down the street crowing at him. Pip catches the stage headed back to London. He sends Joe some codfish and a barrel of...

(The entire section is 501 words.)

Great Expectations Part 2, Chapter 32 and 33 Summary and Analysis

New Character
Colonel: a soldier condemned to die at Newgate Prison

Pip receives a note from Estella telling him that she is to arrive in London, and he is to meet her at the stage. Pip is overjoyed and goes to the coach office hours before her time of arrival. While waiting for Estella, Mr. Wemmick asks Pip if he would like to see Newgate Prison. They go to the prison which Pip finds neglected, disorderly, and depressing. Mr. Wemmick has a knowledge of all the prisoners and speaks with them or tips his hat. Mr. Wemmick introduces Pip to a soldier condemned to be hanged the following Monday. After leaving the prison, Pip feels contaminated by the filth of the prison...

(The entire section is 778 words.)

Great Expectations Part 2, Chapter 34 and 35 Summary and Analysis

Pip begins to look at the effects of his Great Expectations, and he does not like what he sees. His wealth has affected others as well as himself. Influenced by Pip’s lavish expenditures, Herbert has also spent beyond his means. They join an expensive club called the Finches of the Grove and spend extravagantly. Pip states, “We spent as much money as we could, and got as little for it as people could make up their minds to give us. We were always more or less miserable.…” Pip and Herbert sit down and try to straighten out their debts. Humorously, more action is taken in gathering all the debts and papers than in actually paying off any of the expenditures.

A letter...

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Great Expectations Part 2, Chapter 36 and 37 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Miss Skiffins: a lady friend of Mr. Wemmick

Skiffins: Miss Skiffins’ brother who is an accountant and agent; he arranges Herbert’s partnership with Clarriker

Clarriker: a young merchant that Herbert goes to work for

Pip’s and Herbert’s finances go from bad to worse. Finally, in November Pip “comes of age.” On his twenty-first birthday, Mr. Jaggers sends for him. Mr. Jaggers inquires how much Pip is spending, and Pip replies that he does not really know. Mr. Jaggers is not surprised and asks Pip if he has any questions for him. Pip asks if his benefactor is to be made known to him today. Mr. Jaggers answers negatively...

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Great Expectations Part 2, Chapter 38 and 39 Summary and Analysis

New Character
Mrs. Brandley: a widow and the lady Estella is living with in Richmond

Pip visits Richmond often to see Estella. He is continually hurt by her and states, “I suffered every kind and degree of torture that Estella could cause me.” She uses Pip to tease other admirers so he is never happy in her presence, yet he is more miserable when he is not near her. Miss Havisham sends for Estella and instructs Pip to bring her. They arrive at Satis House and Pip notices that nothing has changed. Miss Havisham dotes upon Estella. “She hung upon Estella’s beauty, hung upon her words, hung upon her gestures, and sat mumbling her own trembling fingers while she...

(The entire section is 1260 words.)

Great Expectations Part 3, Chapter 40 and 41 Summary and Analysis

New Character
Provis, Abel Magwitch: the assumed name and the real name of the first convict

Because Pip has to concentrate on hiding the convict, he pushes his other worries aside for the moment. He decides that he will tell people that his Uncle Provis has come to visit. On the way downstairs to talk to the watchman, Pip trips on a mysterious stranger hiding in the shadows of the stairway who runs immediately. Pip questions the watchman and finds that there were indeed two men who came last night, and the watchman thought they were together. The following morning Pip finds that the convict’s real name is Abel Magwitch, and he also finds out the reason why he has...

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Great Expectations Part 3, Chapter 42 and 43 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Compeyson: the name of the second convict introduced in Chapter 3; he was Miss Havisham’s fiancee who jilted her at the altar

Arthur: the name of Miss Havisham’s half brother

Sally: Compeyson’s wife

Provis relates his life story to Herbert and Pip. It seems that he has spent all his life in and out of jails. Provis states, “I’ve been locked up as much as silver tea-kittle, I’ve been carted here and carted there, and put out of this town and put out of that town, and stuck in the stocks, and whipped and worried and drove.” Misfortune has followed him as long as he can remember. He had to rob in order to eat even as...

(The entire section is 782 words.)

Great Expectations Part 3, Chapter 44 and 45 Summary and Analysis

New Character
Mary Anne: a young servant working for Mr. Wemmick

Pip goes to Satis House to confront Miss Havisham and Estella. He wants to tell them that he knows who the benefactor is and to let Miss Havisham know that it was unkind of her to allow him to think it was she. He states, “I am as unhappy as you can ever have meant me to be.” Pip tells her that not all of her relatives are greedy self-seekers. Two of them, Herbert and his father, are honorable and do not deserve to be included with the other Pockets. They have always been honest with Pip and a friend to him. Pip realizes that he will be unable to continue his financial obligations where Herbert is...

(The entire section is 748 words.)

Great Expectations Part 3, Chapter 46 and 47 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Mrs. Whimple: the landlady to the Barleys

Bill Barley: Clara’s father

Mr. Campbell: the name that Provis has taken when he moves into Mrs. Whimple’s boarding house

Pip goes to Mill Pond Bank to locate the boarding house where Provis is now living. He is greeted at the door by Herbert and meets Clara for the first time. Clara’s father lives upstairs; because he is an invalid, he never comes down. Clara’s father gets her attention by banging on the floor and yelling. Pip decides not to tell Provis that Compeyson is in London. He only relates the plan that Wemmick has given him. Provis is to stay hidden for awhile, and Pip...

(The entire section is 538 words.)

Great Expectations Part 3, Chapter 48 and 49 Summary and Analysis

Pip dines with Mr. Jaggers and Mr. Wemmick. As they dine, Mr. Jaggers tells Pip that Miss Havisham has sent a note requesting that Pip come see her concerning a little matter of business.

Mr. Jaggers brings up the fact that Estella is now married to Drummle and hints that Drummle may be beating her. Mr. Jaggers says, “A fellow like our friend the Spider, either beats, or cringes.”

Molly, Jaggers’ housekeeper, waits on the table and a movement of her fingers reminds Pip of the way Estella’s fingers looked as she sat knitting. Pip notices that “her hands were Estella’s hands, and her eyes were Estella’s eyes, and if she had reappeared a hundred times I could have...

(The entire section is 1134 words.)

Great Expectations Part 3, Chapter 50 and 51 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Mike: a client of Mr. Jaggers

Gruffandgrim: name Herbert uses for Clara’s father

Herbert takes care of Pip, changing his bandages, and nursing him back to health. Herbert confides to Pip that he cannot marry Clara until her father passes away, because the father requires her constant care.

After two hours of talking, Provis tells Herbert about his marriage. It seems that his wife was a jealous woman and took revenge upon an older and stronger woman because of her interest in him (Provis). She murdered the stronger woman and Mr. Jaggers was her lawyer. On the night that she killed the other woman, she came to Provis and told...

(The entire section is 668 words.)

Great Expectations Part 3, Chapter 52 and 53 Summary and Analysis

With the money supplied by Miss Havisham, Pip takes the check from Mr. Jaggers and goes directly to Miss Skiffins’ brother, who in turn takes it to Clarriker. Then the transaction is finished. Clarriker tells Pip that a branch office is needed in the East, and Herbert, in his new partnership capacity, will be in charge of it. Pip says, “I had the great satisfaction of concluding that arrangement. It was the only good thing I had done, and the only completed thing I had done, since I was first apprised of my great expectations.”

On Monday Pip receives a letter from Wemmick stating that Wednesday would be the day to do what has been planned for Provis. After reading the letter, Pip is...

(The entire section is 1026 words.)

Great Expectations Part 3, Chapter 54 and 55 Summary and Analysis

New Character
Jack: man at the public house where Pip, Provis, Startop, and Herbert stay the night before they try to board the steamer

The day has finally come when Pip will try to get Provis out of London to safety. Pip packs only what is necessary because his thoughts are not upon himself but on the welfare of Provis. There are two steamers leaving London on Thursday morning. It is decided that if they miss the first one, they will catch the second.

Pip, Startop, and Herbert begin rowing on Wednesday morning. As they row near Mill Pond Bank, Provis joins them in the boat. The little band of rescuers travel all day and into the night. As night...

(The entire section is 971 words.)

Great Expectations Part 3, Chapter 56 and 57 Summary and Analysis

Magwitch lies in prison with two broken ribs which have injured one of his lungs. He breathes with a great deal of pain. Pip sits with him at every opportunity he is given. Pip talks with him, reads to him, and tries to comfort him. “The kind of submission or resignation that he (Magwitch) showed was that of a man who was tired out.”

Magwitch’s trial comes, and he and 32 other men and women are sentenced together by the judge. They are judged guilty and sentenced to death. Pip begins to write petitions to anyone who might help Magwitch. Appeal after appeal is written and sent on Magwitch’s behalf. Pip has become obsessed with trying to find a way to save his benefactor from...

(The entire section is 956 words.)

Great Expectations Part 3, Chapter 58 and 59 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
William: a waiter at the Blue Boar

Georgiana M’ria: Mrs. Joe’s given name

Squires: the landlord of the Blue Boar

Pip returns to his village and goes to the Blue Boar where he finds that the people treat him more coolly now that he has no fortunes. He takes a walk to Satis House and finds that it is being sold as old building material, the furniture to be auctioned off. When he returns to the Blue Boar, he encounters Mr. Pumblechook who instructs him to tell Joe that he (Pip) has seen his original benefactor. Pip is incredulous, telling Pumblechook that he does not see his benefactor here at all. Pumblechook calls...

(The entire section is 1128 words.)