Illustration of Pip visiting a graveyard

Great Expectations

by Charles Dickens

Start Free Trial

Chapters 18 and 19 Summary

Download PDF PDF Page Citation Cite Share Link Share

Last Updated September 5, 2023.

Chapter 18

Pip, Joe, and others are gathered at the Three Jolly Bargemen, where Mr. Wopsle is dramatically reading aloud an article about a murder case in the newspaper. The group listening decides that the verdict in the case should be willful murder. A stranger then stands up in the pub and asks Mr. Wopsle if he is aware that a man is presumed innocent until proven guilty in English law. The stranger tells Mr. Wopsle that the witnesses in the case have not been cross-examined yet and that the accused was advised by his lawyers to reserve his defense.

The stranger then asks if the group knows someone named Joe Gargery and his apprentice, Pip. When Joe and Pip step forward, the man asks them for a private meeting. Pip recognizes him from having seen him at Miss Havisham's house.

They go to Joe's house, where the man introduces himself as Jaggers, a London lawyer who is conducting business for a client who prefers to remain anonymous. He says he wants to relieve Joe of Pip as his apprentice and asks Joe if he wants anything in return, to which Joe responds no. Jaggers believes Joe will want something later and doesn't understand Joe's good nature and selflessness.

Jaggers tells them that Pip has "great expectations" and has come into a large fortune. Pip believes that Miss Havisham has given him this fortune, but Jaggers says that the benefactor must remain a secret. Jaggers, who will be Pip's guardian, recommends Matthew Pocket, a tutor in London, to educate Pip. He asks Pip if he would like to go to London to meet Pocket and his son, and Pip agrees. He gives Pip some money to buy some new clothes. Jaggers again asks Joe if he wants to be compensated for losing Pip, and Joe, full of goodness and only thinking of Pip, responds no.

Joe tells Biddy about Pip's new prospects, and they try but fail to make Mrs. Joe understand. Biddy asks Pip, who will leave in five days, to show them his new clothes the day before he leaves. Joe and Biddy stand outside Pip's window and discuss Pip. Pip overhears and, seeing the smoke from Joe's pipe, thinks of the smoke as a benediction from Joe.

Chapter 19

Pip wakes up and walks around the town. He thinks of the convict he met on the marshes long before and comforts himself, thinking that the convict must be far away. He falls asleep on the battery and wakes up to find Joe, who has followed him, beside him. Pip tells Joe that he has always wanted to be a gentleman, and he feels sorry that Joe isn't better educated. Later, he takes Biddy aside and tells her he wants to help Joe become more of a gentleman. She says that Joe is proud and content with his station in life, and Pip thinks that she is upset that Pip is now in a superior position to her.

Pip visits Trabb, the tailor, who serves him obsequiously after he finds out Pip has come into money and fits him for a suit. Pip also visits the hatter and other merchants. Mr. Pumblechook, who thinks he facilitated Pip's fortune by introducing him to Miss Havisham, sees Pip and congratulates him heartily on his fortune and serves him a fine meal. Pip asks Mr. Pumblechook to have his clothes delivered to his house.

Pip dresses in these clothes and says goodbye to Miss Havisham, whom he believes is his benefactor. She says she has heard about Pip's fortune from Jaggers. Pip passes the time until he leaves, and he dresses up for Joe and Biddy in his new clothes. He sleeps fitfully on his last night at home, and in the morning he has breakfast and bids farewell to Biddy and Joe. As he is leaving town, Pip breaks into tears.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

Chapters 16 and 17


Chapters 20 and 21