Great Expectations Chapters 14 and 15
by Charles Dickens

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Chapters 14 and 15 Summary

Chapter 14

Pip grows into his teenage years and slowly becomes even less enamored with the idea of being Joe's apprentice. His desire to please Estella by becoming less common conflicts with his working-class job and the rough manners of his family. This contrasts greatly with the time before Miss Havisham invited Pip to her home, when he associated an apprenticeship with Joe as the gateway to fulfilled manhood.

Pip is tempted to run away and work as a sailor or soldier; however, loyalty to and love for Joe keep him in his appointed place. However, he is ashamed of his home and his town, believing them to be "coarse" and "common."

Chapter 15

Pip stops attending Mr. Wopsle's great-aunt's school and has learned all he can from Biddy. He begins giving Joe reading lessons on Sundays, but his motives for doing so are less pure than when he first proposed to do so, since he is mostly hoping to improve Joe's manners so that he will have less to be ashamed of in his association with Joe. Pip doubts Joe retains much of their lessons, but Joe seems to enjoy them all the same.

During one of their lessons, Pip mentions he would like to visit Miss Havisham again, but Joe says that might not be a good idea. When Pip suggests he go to thank her for all she did for him, Joe suggests Pip do her some kind of service, such as fixing a door chain or giving her a toast fork. They have a circular discussion on the matter until Pip eventually resolves to go visit anyway, despite what Joe thinks.

Pip is also bothered by Joe's journeyman forge worker, Orlick. Orlick is a cruel man who enjoys antagonizing others. As a child, Pip was terrorized by Orlick's claims that the devil lived in one of the forge's corners and that once every seven years, a little boy must be thrown into the fire to keep it going, so Pip should be the next sacrifice.

When Orlick finds out that Joe is giving Pip a half-holiday, he insists he get one too. Joe agrees, but Mrs. Joe overhears and says Joe is being too lenient and wasting their money. Orlick taunts Mrs. Joe by calling her a shrew, and the two begin to argue. Mrs. Joe calls her husband a coward for not defending her honor and descends into an angry fit. To defend her, Joe fights Orlick and wins. He then goes outside to pick up Mrs. Joe, who fainted...

(The entire section is 641 words.)