Illustration of Pip visiting a graveyard

Great Expectations

by Charles Dickens

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Chapters 10 and 11 Summary

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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

Chapter 10

Still reeling from Estella's insults, Pip decides that the best way to advance himself is to get an education. He goes back to Biddy for help in learning as much as he can so he will be less ignorant and "common." He gets more out of Biddy's lessons than he does from the lessons imparted by Mr. Wopsle's great-aunt.

One night, Mrs. Joe demands Pip fetch Joe from a public-house called the Three Jolly Bargemen after he comes home from school. When Pip arrives at the tavern, he sees Joe smoking a pipe with two other men. One is Mr. Wopsle, and the other is someone Pip has never seen before. The stranger rubs his leg in an odd manner and orders rum for himself, Joe, and Mr. Wopsle.

The stranger seems particularly interested in Pip. He keeps looking at him, and when his drink arrives, he makes a show of drinking it and then using a file to stir it. Pip recognizes the file and wonders if the stranger knows of his helping the convict in the cemetery that night. Before they all leave, the stranger gives Pip a shilling and two one-pound notes.

That night, Pip has nightmares about the stranger and the file. His only comfort is to think of his next visit to Miss Havisham's.

Chapter 11

Pip goes back to Miss Havisham's house on her birthday. She is visited by several relatives who are only interested in her money. The relatives look at Pip with contempt as Estella has him walk past them.

When leading him down a dark passage, Estella asks Pip if she is pretty. He says yes. She asks if she is insulting. When he says she is less insulting this time than she was last time they met, she slaps him across the face. She urges him to cry, but he says he refuses to get upset over her, even though he genuinely is hurt by her contempt.

Estella leads Pip to a room with a dark-complexioned man who examines Pip and advises him to be on his best behavior before continuing on to Miss Havisham.

Miss Havisham has Pip walk her around a room where her rotting bridal cake sits and tells him she plans on being laid out on the table after she dies. Miss Havisham's relatives are present, and she rebuffs all their insincere attempts at flattery. Later, Pip plays cards with Estella; after that, he is left alone. He walks around the garden, where he encounters a pale young gentleman who asks Pip to fight him. Pip complies and easily wins.

Estella allows Pip to kiss her on the cheek before he departs, seemingly pleased by something. Pip's triumphant feelings about the kiss are short-lived, since he feels that it was given to him the way a tip would be given to someone who provided a service.

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Chapters 8 and 9


Chapters 12 and 13